Ethically Sourced Coffee Can Help You to Start the Day With a Clear Conscience… Could it Also Taste Better??
If you have ever found yourself enjoying your morning coffee, contemplating the day ahead, thoughts suddenly drifting to the ethics of that cup o’ joe in your hands… well, you’re not alone. Chances are, if you are reading this blog post, you’re the type of person who considers this sort of thing, and often.
What is the ecological footprint of my coffee habit?
Do the people who grow and pick my coffee enjoy a good quality of life?
The reality is, the farm workers who are responsible for growing and harvesting your beans often live and work in less than ideal conditions. And as one of the most widely enjoyed consumables in the world, coffee has far-reaching impacts on the environment, regardless of the region where it’s produced.
Reducing Your Impact
There is a growing demand for ethically-sourced coffee beans, and we can see the impacts of this shift in consumer thinking. It’s a bit of a domino effect:
First, the farmers are paid a higher price for their beans. Knowing that they can net a higher profit for a higher quality coffee, farmers are motivated to produce the best coffee possible. This means growing less coffee of more flavour diverse “micro-lots,” grown in a more sustainable fashion.
This in turn eliminates the need to grow such high volumes, reducing the overall impact of the farm. It also puts less strain on the soil, as there is not such a high demand for nutrients at any given time. This preserves soil health and the health of the coffee plants themselves.
Your best bet when choosing coffee and trying to determine an ethical source is to purchase locally roasted beans. You may have heard the “know your farmer” mantra of buying local foods — if you know your farmer personally, you can get the real “dirt” on how your food was grown; whether crops are rotated; pesticides are used; and how workers are treated, if the farmer has any. Since we here in Canada don’t have the option of knowing our coffee farmer, buying beans from a local roaster is the next best thing. They should be able to tell you about the region where the coffee was grown, the people who grew and harvested it, and the seed-to-cup process unique to each bean.
Purchasing ethically sourced coffee helps to better the lives of farm workers by providing them with the necessary funds to grow and improve their operations.
Here in Calgary, we are lucky to have a few fantastic local roasters to choose from. One of our favourites — the one we chose to work with here in the store — is Devil’s Head Coffee, located just 13 km from our storefront. Devil’s Head is owned by husband and wife team, Chris and Tanis Meginbir, who love outdoor adventures! Their coffee is freshly roasted to order, and we keep a limited amount on-site so that the beans you get are as fresh as possible. Buying in bulk means that not only is your coffee ethically sourced, it’s as waste-free as possible.
An earlier version of this post by Marie-Pierre Houle first appeared on the Devil's Head Coffee website: What is Ethically Sourced Coffee?. All images in this post are sourced from Devil's Head Coffee's Instagram feed.