When pouring or ordering your morning cup of coffee you likely have one thing on your mind; your need for caffeine. But there is so much more to consider and it all starts with the origin of a single coffee bean.
Coffee plants grow primarily in Central and South America, Africa, The Middle East, and South East Asia. Located along the equatorial zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, this region is nicknamed the "Bean Belt.” For coffee beans to be sourced ethically the farmers and laborers who work to harvest the beans must be compensated a fair wage and given the proper tools and technology needed to work safely and efficiently. Some companies do this better than others and often times the sales price of a bag of beans will reflect that.
Ethics: Fairtrade and Bird-friendly
Labels can be hard to decipher; between descriptions of the roast, flavor profile, and origin you may miss whether or not a product is Fairtrade certified or bird-friendly. To be Fairtrade certified the coffee must be audited throughout the supply chain to meet certain sustainability and labor standards. When shopping be sure to look for the Fairtrade seal which is a logo showing a black figure raising one hand on a blue and green background. Additionally, coffee can be bird-friendly. This means that birds and other wildlife habitats are preserved in the coffee-making process. Special attention to climate change, biodiversity protection, and farmer support is also a by-product of bird-friendly harvesting practices.
Pods vs Grounds
Coffee pods are a convenient and mess-free method to brew a single serving of coffee. They are wildly popular and Nespresso sells 14 billion coffee pods a year. They receive criticism from environmentalists who say that the pods are wasteful as they are only able to be used once before getting discarded. While this is a drawback to coffee pods, large companies like Nespresso are working diligently to make the pods more sustainable. Nespresso recently became B-corp certified joining 4,500 companies sharing the same desire to use business as a force for good. It is more than just a certification, B Corp is a sustainability movement. Additionally, Nespresso offers a recycling program to its customers where consumers can save used pods in a donation bag and mail it to the Nespresso recycling facility in exchange for a coupon.
Coffee grounds are a less popular but still easily accessible option for at-home brewing. Sold by weight, and found at almost all coffee shops and grocery stores, coffee beans are aromatic and truly a treasure. Like all products, some are better than others. Be sure to read the packaging closely and look for organic and fair trade logos as well as information regarding single-origin sourcing.
You can find Panther Coffee and Argyle Coffee in-store or online at Source Market! Visit us in-store Monday through Friday, 10:30 am - 6:30 pm, and online shopping is available. Online orders are typically available for pickup within 1-2 hours.