From Coffee Review: Coffee drinkers concerned about the impact of agricultural chemicals on environment and society have essentially three alternatives:
- Buy a traditional coffee, grown as coffee was grown from its inception, before agricultural chemicals were invented. All Yemen, almost all Ethiopia, and most Sumatra Mandheling coffees are grown in such a state of innocence, and all are among the world’s finest.
- Buy a certified organic coffee. Certified organic coffees are coffees whose growing conditions and processing have been thoroughly monitored by independent agencies and found to be free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and other potentially harmful chemicals. The monitoring agencies visit the farm and verify that no chemicals have been used on the farm for several years, and then follow every step of the processing, preparing, transporting, storage, and roasting. Such careful monitoring is of course expensive, which is one reason certified organic coffees cost more than similar uncertified coffees. Many such certified organic coffees are the product of socially and environmentally progressive cooperatives.
- Buy a coffee labeled “sustainable.” At this writing sustainable is a rather loose term meaning that, in the view of the importer or roaster, designated farmers are doing everything within reason to avoid the use of agricultural chemicals and to pursue enlightened environmental and socially progressive practices in the growing and processing of their coffees.
The “loose” term “sustainable” gives rise to my concern about Starbucks again, darnit! “In the view of the importer or roaster” leaves a LOT of leeway (which means I have to trust that profit will never override this “view” and that any company, not just Starbucks, will choose to always do the right thing for the environment, the health of the farmers and the end consumer.)
Given American corporations great way of “spinning” truth and flat out lying, I have a hard time trusting…I dunno, call me skeptical…