Certified organic coffee is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. This does not mean that no fertilizers or pesticides are used, but that cannot be synthetic and must be approved according to the USDA and NOP guidelines. Growing coffee organically is inherently better for the farmers and the environment. Organic coffee farmers must use sustainable farming practices such as mulching and composting. In order to achieve the nitrogen and nutrient levels required for a successful crop farmers re-use much of the harvested plant matter.
There is much debate about how much chemical residue is left after roasting non-organic coffees. So, it’s not always the consumer that benefits from organically grown crops such as coffee, but the environment and coffee farmers benefit. Non-organic coffee farmers may be exposed to large does of highly toxic chemicals, as are birds and other native fauna. Organic coffee farmers are exposed to far fewer chemicals and have a lesser impact on the environment.
Many coffee farmers have very limited education, and may lack the ability to properly understand direction on using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. This can cause gross exposure to the farmers. In addition the farmers exposure they may not understand, or even have access to the proper facilities to dispose of toxic chemical containers. It is well known that pesticides such as DDT and others have caused mass devastation to waterways and birds in coffee growing regions abroad. It is for these reasons people should choose to purchase organically grown coffees.
In addition to the chemical exposure of farmers and environment conventional coffee production may cause deforestation and soil depletion. Conventional farming methods rely on heavy doses of nitrogen rich synthetic fertilizers. If composting and mulching is not used the natural biomass of the soil is depleted over time. In addition to biomass depletion toxic levels of salts can accumulate in the soil leaving the land barren. It is well non that many non-organic coffee farmers are developed using traditional Western farming practices such as clear-cutting native vegetation to make room for the new crop. Coffee growing regions have a delicate ecosystem. Many times when vegetation is slashed to make room for the coffee crop the top soil is washed away by heavy rains. This erosion depletes the land and robs the local farmers of a future. In addition to soil depletion growing coffee in direct sunlight increases the demand for irrigation, which increases cost and takes water away from other needs.
Organic coffee, by necessity is grown mimicking the natural, delicate ecosystem of plant matter decay and reuse. Coffee trimming and other plant matter is mulched, which releases nitrogen and other nutrients making them available to the growing coffee trees. Most organic coffee is shade grown. Growing coffee in the shade of the natural forest canopy helps preserved water and decrease the need for irrigation. Not only does shade conserve water, but it also causes the coffee beans to develop slowly which results in denser more flavor filled coffee beans. Organic, shade grown coffees tend to be more dense and flavorful than non-organic coffees.
In summary, organic coffee is a better choice for the environment, coffee farmers AND coffee flavor. It does cost a bit more than some conventional coffees, but the taste and social impact far out-weigh the increased cost. We support organic coffee farmer and coffee roasters. If you would like to try the best organic coffee check Nectar of Life at www.Nectar-of-Life.com. They have been roasting only dual certified organic Fair Trade coffees since 2003.