Why Buying Organic Coffee Matters
Many of us enjoy a good cup of well-brewed coffee. But, the awful truth is, if it isn’t organic, it is probably laced with chemicals…and you are doing yourself no favors for drinking a tasty brew of herbicides and pesticides. In fact, coffee is one of the most chemically treated agricultural food items in the world. The main chemical used in coffee production is a petroleum based fertilizer that destroys the soil's fertility and leaks into local water stores. Even during the commercial production when coffee beans are treated and roasted, chemicals are used to aid the process; coffee is also decaffeinated using artificial soluble chemicals that absorb the caffeine and in turn contaminate the bean itself. By buying organic, you buy coffee that has been grown naturally and processed using natural, old-fashioned methods. If you should buy anything organic, it should be coffee!
There are few convincing reasons to go organic. In essence, by doing so, you do a small part to support the independent, organic farmers whose livelihood is in the hands of consumers’ demand. Since chemicals help sustain large plantations for mainstream commercial production, organic farmers have to work harder and invest more in the production of organic coffee. This is why the cost of organic coffee is a bit higher than non-organic alternatives, and rightly so. Even communities that are based on organic coffee production benefit greatly from higher consumption of their products. By looking for a “fair trade” label, you can help these communities get a fair share of profits that are usually not fairly distributed under corrupt trade practices. By paying a dollar or two more for a bag of organic coffee or cents more for an organic cup of brew, a conscientious consumer will support the farmer’s sustenance and show support for environmentally-friendly practices and demand for healthy choices of food produce.
The environment is largely affected by commercial coffee-growing practices. It is well- documented that nonorganic coffee-growing practices lead to deforestation. Coffee naturally grows away from direct sunlight under the shade of dense rainforest. To increase productivity, the coffee industry has developed a breed of sun-resistant coffee tree hybrids that today comprise approximately 70% of the world's coffee production. As a result, rainforest land is being cleared to make room for new, sun resistant coffee trees. This is alarming, especially given that rainforests are the Earth’s natural regulators of human contribution to global warming. Another negative of the non-organic coffee production practice is that it leads to the contamination of soil and water by pesticides. The organisms living in the soil are likewise diseased, leading to the gradual and irreversible depletion of fertile and healthy soil.
The benefits of going organic are not only for health and environmental reasons, but also for better tasting and better quality coffee. Organic coffee has more antioxidants, richer taste and has a longer-lasting caffeine buzz (alertness). Buying organic coffee will make you enjoy your coffee more and will provide a peace of mind that you are helping make a difference with your consumer decisions. You are helping the farmer, the farmer’s community, the economy of the province where it is grown, the advocacy for fair trade practices, and the survival of the private coffee shop that is competing with the commercial Starbucks around the corner. Keep in mind: small consumer decisions make an overall impact in the production and supply of products that grow in demand. So go for it, buy organic!