What is Sustainable Coffee – A Beginner’s Guide

Traditional coffee farms often don’t prioritize sustainability, unlike the rated farms where it is a major issue. A lot of these rated farms adhere to organized programs that promote a direct relationship between the farmers and roasters.

The farmers and roasters follow the best practices of agriculture. They manage the farms, produce high-quality beans and increase the productivity level. They do all these things in an environmentally friendly manner.

Related read: How is Coffee Made?

Sustainable practice means that every step from the beans to the cup requires longevity to be environmentally friendly. In this process, all the compost that is used and unwanted coffee husks recycle again. 

They fulfill the carbon requirements trees are planted. These trees also help to protect the coffee plants from the rainforest alliance and other elements. In simple words, the coffee grown conserves nature and provides a better living style to the people is sustainable coffee.

What Does It Take to Get Coffee from Beans to The Cup?

The supply chain of coffee from beans to the cup is very complex. I did it simply to tell what it takes to get coffee from beans to the cup.

  • First of all, the farmers grew coffee fruits out of coffee beans.
  • The coffee fruits are then picked and sorted by the farmers.
  • These coffee fruits are then passed through the wet or dry process. After this process, the farmers will then get the bean out of coffee fruit.
  • The green color coffee beans are then cleaned and sort they are then prepared for sale.
  • After the selling of green coffee beans, they are then roasted by the roasters.
  • Roasted beans are then sold, and different consumers buy them.
  • This coffee supply chain can be different from different farms and distributors.

Issue Related to Coffee Sustainability

Coffee is available everywhere around the world. But growing coffee is not easy. Different natural elements like flooding, too much sunlight, and different leaf diseases are a great hurdle. 

These elements prevent the coffee from growing easily. It also makes it difficult for the farmers to earn just from a single source of coffee. Some get failure in suitable coffee production. Many farmers choose different farming programs or other resources to do so.

Natural elements are also important for growing coffee, but direct sunlight often harms the plants. To solve this issue, many farmers plant coffee varieties that can tolerate the sun. These varieties help the farmers to produce high yields. These plants leach different nutrients from the environment.

Why Is Sustainability Important?

Sustainability is important because every step in the processing of coffee has an impact on the planet. It also has an impact on the people. The farmers and workers deserve fair pay for their hard work. 

Many times, the farmers who produce this crop cannot afford it. They work all day around the coffee plants and cannot afford it. Coffee is very valuable, and it is not in access to the people who make the crops of coffee possible. 

Due to this matter, sustainable coffee practices are very important. These types of programs ensure the farmers are fairly compensated. The farmers suffer a lot when the market drops.

It is also very important to pay attention to the growing process of coffee. By paying attention, we can improve coffee quality and take care of the farmers who make this crop possible.

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The farmers have to grow the coffee according to its demand. If the demand for coffee is higher, then the farmers have to grow it in greater size. But more demand means more deforestation that harms the environment.

At that time, if farmers did not care about sustainability, many rainforests and species would be destroyed forever. In simple words, sustainable coffee matters if everyone cares about the people, coffee, and the planet.

Types of Sustainable Coffee Beans

Different organizations do a survey study. They assess the market at a very large scale. In this survey, the organization includes retailers, wholesalers, importers, distributors, and roasters. By this study, these organizations divide sustainable coffee into different types. Types of sustainable coffee beans include;

1. Fair Trade Coffee Beans

Fairtrade coffee beans are also known as equal exchange coffee beans. It is a type of coffee bean that is produced by bypassing traders of coffee. Fairtrade coffee gives higher profits to coffee producers and also to buyers. 

In this, the farmers get the guaranteed fair-trade price. The coffee importers also help to purchase the small farmers registered in the international coffee of fair trade. The importers also credit the farmers. When farmers get their fair credit, they will work hard.

2. Organic Coffee Beans

As the name suggests, this kind of coffee is produced organically. In the production of these beans, no herbicide or pesticide is used. These coffee beans are very beneficial. Organic coffee beans are good for the consumers and also for coffee producers.

In the production of these beans, great emphasis is given to the health of the soil, composting, and recycling. Organic coffee beans also focus on protecting the environment that is essential to sustainability.

3. Bird Friendly Coffee Beans

Bird-friendly coffee beans involve shade-grown coffee beans. These shade-grown coffee beans benefit the songbirds. Songbirds use the trees of coffee and their natural habitat. 

Due to which they help to reduce the need and use of herbicides along with different fertilizers. Bird-friendly coffee beans also help to promote biodiversification. 

Bird-friendly coffee beans or growing shade coffee benefits the coffee farmers and migratory birds a lot. This coffee is also good in taste. As no herbicide and fertilizers are involved, the shade-grown coffee produces more sugars. 

All the chemicals produced in this coffee are natural. Due to which the shade-grown coffee tastes better than the other flavors of coffee. People enjoy the taste of shade-grown coffee a lot.

Types of Shade Grown Coffee Beans

There are different types of beans that come in the types of shade-grown coffee beans. These shade-grown coffee beans include

1. Rustic Method

Rustic coffee beans are also known as Rusticana. These coffee beans are placed in an already existing forest. There is no need to plant them separately. Just a few changes are required to the plants.

2. Traditional Polyculture

Different people also know it as a polyculture tradition. This method is more deliberate than the rustic coffee beans method. In this method, the plants are integrated with some other plants. 

Different trees of coffee are integrated with many other plants. They are integrated with fruits and vegetables. This method is similar to social forestry. 

In this method, the farmers can diversify their crops. They get the benefit from the other crops and also from the shade-grown coffee plants.

3. Commercial Polyculture

Commercial polyculture is also known as polyculture commercial. Commercial polyculture and traditional polyculture are quite similar to each other. 

In this process, the number of coffee trees is more than the shade trees. When the coffee trees are used more than farmers get more benefit. It also gives a high amount of coffee production to the farmers. 

Commercial polyculture also requires some pesticides and fertilizers. These pesticides and fertilizers also protect the coffee plants and improve their production level.

4. Reduced Shade

The reduced shade method is also known by two other names. These two other names include specialized and Sombra. In this method, the single canopy is involved as a shade of coffee trees.

Sustainable Coffee Farming Practices

Sustainable coffee farming has a lot of benefits. This farming requires less amount of water. Sustainable crops and farms help to replace the natural nutrients of the land. 

These crops help to spread the organic matter and fertilizers in between the trees. In this, the composite coffee pulp is used as an organic matter. Sustainable coffee is grown in a way that is kind to the people and the environment. There are some sustainable practices for coffee farming.

1. Use of Renewable Resources

In sustainable coffee, the farmers use renewable resources. This process of using renewable resources helps to save several resources. In this way, the availability of resources remains for a longer time. 

By using renewable resources, the minimizing of pollution also takes place. It is a very important step to take care of the environment. Using renewable resources also gives more to the farmers and workers who take care of these crops.

2. Planting New Trees

Many people cut eucalyptus as heating fuel. This affects the growth of plants and also has a strong impact on the environment. On the other hand, in sustainable farming practices, farmers do not cut the eucalyptus. 

They reuse the coffee husks and use them as heating fuel. In sustainable coffee farming, the planting of new trees takes place. In this, the farmers plant new trees to replace the cut trees. 

If they cut some trees during heating, then they have to plant new ones. On the other hand, different dryers that are polluted-free are used for drying coffee beans. Solar coffee dryers are best for this purpose.

3. Less Water Consumption

In the farming of coffee, a great amount of water is required. But during sustainable coffee farming the less water consumption takes place. Many farmers have to spend a lot of money to water their crops. 

But in a sustainable process, they can easily water their coffee plants. Also, less amount of water is required to water beans. In this process, the water from the fermentation tanks is filtered. 

The water is filtered naturally. This naturally filtered water is used for the irrigation of coffee. This water should not be disposed of in lakes or rivers.

4. Engaging Best Practices

Best practices involved in sustainable farming. The farmers involve the shade growing method. In this method, the plants will protect from the sunlight. Direct sunlight harms many plants and also causes many plant diseases. 

It also helps to improve biodiversification and organic farming. Organic farming is beneficial not only for the environment but also for human beings. It protects people from many other diseases. This process also promotes sustainable agriculture.

5. Renewable Energy Resources

Sustainable farm practices also involve many other benefits for the farmers and the plants. It should seek renewable energy resources. Many farmers do not afford other expensive energy sources. 

But with renewable energy resources, they can easily fulfill their requirement of energy. These practices also focus on providing the proper medical care for the farmers and also for other workers. 

Such people did not take care of them properly. With sustainable practices, great attention is given to their proper health. These practices also promote different educational programs. It helps to give basic education to the farmers and the workers. 

With this, they can get enough knowledge about their work. The sustainable programs also focus on providing decent wages. Many farmers work a lot, but they do not get their proper wages. These practices also ensure good and proper working conditions.

Benefits of Sustainable Coffee

Sustainable coffee has a lot of social and environmental benefits. The harvesting of sustainable coffee is more beneficial for the community. In many areas, the government takes some amount from the profits. 

This profit then goes back to the community. It means that this portion involved providing facilities to the people. They provide better roads and educational facilities to the students. 

This means that you are having a cup of coffee that improves the future of the farmers and workers. Different programs also give farmers the facilities for their families and themselves. Their families learn and live in a more collaborative environment. 

Nowadays, women also play an important role in the voyage of coffee. Women are involved in the checking of the best quality of beans before they go further. Sustainable coffee is also beneficial for the environment. 

In the production of this coffee, natural fertilizer is used. No pesticides and chemical fertilizers were involved. Due to which it is beneficial for the environment and also for the people.

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