Certifications to Look for in Your Coffee

Posted by Woodshed Roast on 7/19/2014 to General

Every decision you make and every action you take impacts others, and it is totally up to you as to whether or not the impact you have on others and the planet itself is a positive one or one that will eventually have you regretting the ways you lived your days.

One simple way you can help others and the world is buying the right coffee: that coffee which is grown in the right way, by the right people, and in the right places. To do this, you simply have to look for coffee that carries a few specific certifications.

Rainforest Alliance
This certification is granted by the Rainforest Alliance--an international nonprofit organization that operates with the mission to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use and business practices and consumer behavior around the globe--to coffee growers and makers of other products whose practices meet the alliance’s criteria.

Fair Trade
Granted by Fair Trade USA, the Fair Trade certification is given to coffee that has been grown using sustainable agriculture practices, specific labor standards, and purchased at a set minimum price to ensure that the farmers earn a living wage. Although the Fair Trade standards are strict, they do allow for some leeway which means that not all Fair Trade certified coffee is necessarily organic or grown the traditional way, beneath partial shade.

USDA Organic
This certification is granted by the United States Department of Agriculture. To earn it, at least 95 percent of the coffee must have been grown without the help of any synthetic herbicides, fertilizers, or pesticides or contain synthetic additives.

The Organic certification is not in any way related to labor standards, sustainable farming practices, or other environmental standards. Because of this, many forward thinking coffee buyers look for coffees that have numerous certifications.