While conducting research with consumers of environmentally and socially responsible coffee between 2008 and 2009, I found that though most I spoke with were committed to this product, hardly any understood the distinctions between the different sourcing models available.
Given the number of options available in coffeehouses and grocers, this is not much of a surprise. The curious consumer will find Fair Trade, Organic, Rain Forest Alliance, Bird Friendly, UTZ Certified, and of course, variations on Direct Trade up for grabs. Inundated with information, labels and their claims blur together into an indistinguishable impression of goodness. Yet, somehow, Fair Trade seems to rise above the rest. Many consumers I spoke with used the term to refer to the concept of ethical sourcing in general. Many also assumed that “fair trade” was the only promise that they could trust, and that those not so labeled were inherently bad. In this post of the Direct Trade Coffee Club blog, we’ll take a look at what Fair Trade certification really offers, how Direct Trade differs, and consider the room for improvement in each.
These days you can go to just about any coffee shop and they’ll make a cup to suit the needs of your tastebuds. You can get a caramel-vanilla-mocha-frappe-cappuccino-whatever you want, and with whipped cream on top. Some coffee shops have taken this customization a step further by turning an ordinary cup of joe into a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that’s (almost) too amazing to drink. Check out some amazing examples of latte art from around the web.
If you love coffee and art as much as we do, then you’ll surely love these detailed coffee paintings by Maria Aristidou! Depending on the subject, she might dip her brush in around 5 different brews for a complete palette of shades. Her richly detailed paintings would be impressive even with normal watercolor paint, but these works are even more incredible when you consider she’s making it with the stuff we like to chug on a regular basis.
By Julie Craves in Coffee and Conservation
"Buy coffee from a small, specialty roaster. A good roaster develops a relationship with the farms and co-ops that grow their coffee — it’s in everybody’s best interest for the coffee to be grown sustainably. The farmer gains by having a reliable buyer and a safe, healthy environment, and the roaster gains by having a reliable source of quality coffee. A conscientious roaster will have very specific information on the precise origin of each coffee it sells, and you can determine how the coffee was grown to guide your purchase."
Published in the New York Times May 11, 2015
by Aaron E. Carroll
"It's way past time that we stopped viewing coffee as something we all need to cut back on. It’s a completely reasonable addition to a healthy diet, with more potential benefits seen in research than almost any other beverage we’re consuming. It’s time we started treating it as such."