Organic coffee is the wave of the future. Certified organic coffee continues to rise in popularity. The demand has increased year over year for the past couple decades. Originally, the quality of organic was sub par, but now there is a new wave of gourmet organic coffees that are as good as many esteemed Estate coffees. With more and more organic coffee farmers partaking in the Fair Trade coffee movement the increased wages has resulted in better coffee quality.
Fair Trade coffee farmers that grow their coffees organically earn a much higher premium for their coffees than conventional coffee growers. Fair Trade programs also have working capital arangements so coffee farmers can invest more in their coffee farms. The results have been nothing short of breathtaking. 20 years ago organic Fair Trade coffees were mediocre at best. Equal Exchange was the forerunner in the Fair Trade movement. Their prices were a bit high, but the coffee quality was minimal. Then a new wave of coffee roasters took on the Fair Trade organic coffee mantle with Nectar of Life Coffee leading the charge. Nectar of Life began in 2003 with the goal of producing Fair Trade organic coffees that rivaled the world’s finest estate coffees.
Today, you can find many different roasters providing certified organic coffees. Some produce much tastier coffees than others. One thing to note: you want to be sure that the coffee roaster is a certified organic handler. There are some coffee roasters providing what they call organic coffee, but they are not certified handlers. Without the requisite certification how are you to know they are actually providing certified organic coffee? The answer is, you cannot.
As with conventional coffee there are different species of coffee. There are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is what is considered the gourmet coffee species. It is traditionally grown at high altitudes and is labor intensive to grown. Robusta is a “robust” species that grows abundantly at lower altitudes. It produces a bitter tasting coffee that is high in caffeine. It is incorporated into espresso and cheap canned coffee blends. It is also the most popular species in many parts of Asia. In the United States nearly all gourmet coffees are of the Arabica species.
There are many reasons people choose to go organic. It used to be for personal health and environmental reasons, but now it can actually be due to taste. Organic coffee costs more, but it is worth it. The farmers can receive higher wages which they can reinvest into their coffees. This may result in higher quality, better tasting coffees.
Whatever the reasons it is a fact that certified organic coffee demand is on the rise. This trend looks to hold out for at least the next decade and beyond. Organic coffees don’t contain GMO’s, synthetic fertilizers or pesticides and they taste great! For these reasons we foresee a very bright future for organic and Fair Trade coffees.