There’s no one-size-fits-all sustainability solution for any crop, but for one with as complex and varied a supply chain as coffee things get extra complicated. This month, we’re highlighting coffees that show off six different approaches to making the coffee growing world more sustainable.
Wonderstate, with their fully solar-powered roastery, has been on the forefront of sustainability in the coffee roasting industry for years. And for ever bag of this special blend we sell, Trade is donating $2 to Grow Ahead, an orrganization which not only funds reforestation projects for small farmer organizations, but also puts the decision making about those projects in the hands of those farmers.
To process the coffee from their small farm in the Sierra Nevada region of northern Colombia, Don Edimet and Maria Isabel Calderon work with the folks at Delagua, who pride themselves on processing methods that use much less water than is typically used. The result is not only more sustainable, but, in this case, wildly delicious, with a cup full of winy and tropical fruit flavors
Methodical Edimet Calderon, DelAgua ($30.60)
This particularly fruity and elegant coffee from Burundi is possible through Joe’s relationship with Sucafina, who brought their century of coffee sourcing experience to Burundi in 2013. Through Sucafina’s partner companies on the ground, Joe helps sponsor the distribution of livestock as well as farming education for the members of the Kibingo co-op. Combined with Kibingo’s recently acquired Rainforest Alliance certification, it’s a great example of how supply chain relationships can help build economic and environmental sustainability.
Joe Burundi Kibingo ($20)
Organic certification is one route towards environmental sustainability and can also help farmers achieve higher premiums for their coffee. The KSU Gayo Mandiri co-op in Sumatra regularly trains farmers to help them achieve organic certification and improve the quality of their coffee. Anodyne then roasts this smoky coffee to create a tasty dark roast, with a big body and earthy, chocolaty notes typical of Indonesian coffee.
Peaberries - small round beans occasionally created when one of the two seeds isn’t fertilized — are valued in some parts of the world. But in Colombia, they often get sorted out from their larger brethren and sold as commodity coffee. Finding a home for these tiny beans — which are no less delicious — allows farmers to get paid specialty prices for a higher percentage of their crop.
Gimme! Angel BBs ($14.75)
Whether using coffee cherry skins for fertilizer or harvesting microorganisms from the forest floor for insect control, Jorge Vazquez, the owner of Finca Cedral Alto, is always thinking about modern approaches to sustainability. The naturally processed version of his coffee is a stunner, with a sticky body and a ridiculous amount of fruity sweetness.