Many health and environmentally conscious people have been switching from regular to organically grown fruits and veggies. Likewise, many coffee drinkers have made the switch to organic coffee for the same reasons. Is it really worth it? What exactly are the differences between regular and organic coffee, and is it really worth it to pay a little more for organic? Let’s look at some of the key differences.
Inorganic, Conventionally Produced Coffee
Regular coffee is farmed on large coffee plantations with use of pesticides, compounds, and other chemicals. In fact, it is the third most chemically treated crop in the world – after tobacco and cotton. I was very surprised to learn that often times when farming conventionally produced coffee beans, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that are banned in most western nations are often used without strict regulations or supervision.
To make matters worse, common sense tells us that when you spray crop with loads of chemicals, those chemicals are bound to seep into the ground and contaminate the soil and water that the crops are growing in. So now you have coffee beans that are not only doused in chemical, but growing in it as well. This means that these beans are so chemically treated that you can’t simply wash the pesticides and chemical compounds off, they are now a part of the bean’s genetic make up. Grow a crop in poison and it becomes poisonous.
Personally this is enough to detour me from drinking conventional coffee. Knowing that these chemicals are on and in conventionally produced coffee beans, I have trouble putting those beans in my body.
Further more, I have a moral objection to the use of these chemicals because they are very harmful to the environment. They pollute the soil, the water, and the air around them. The chemicals that are polluting the soil that the coffee beans grow in have raised many questions as to the declining taste of coffee and its effects on our health.
Organic, Shade Grown Coffee
In comparison, organic coffee is grown under trees, in the shade, without the use of chemicals. Does this mean that these coffee beans are susceptible to pests? Quite the contrary. The trees that shade organic coffee farms are also a home to birds, which are a natural pesticide so to speak. The birds prevent pests from touching organic coffee crops – so no need for poisonous chemicals. Furthermore, the trees help prevent water contamination and purify the soil.
Then there’s the taste. Because organic coffee is produced in a natural way and not tainted by chemicals, it stands to reason that both the taste and the aurora is far more flavorful and fresh than non-organic coffee. If you want a smooth, vibrant, full-bodied cup of coffee, you just won’t get it unless it’s organic.
This is the major difference between organic and inorganic coffee – organic coffee is grown naturally, therefore it does not disrupt the environment and is much healthier for us. Inorganic coffee is grown in mass quantities using chemicals and poisons that not only have a negative impact on our environment and health, but also are not strictly regulated.
Fair Trade Coffee
Obviously organic coffee is much better than inorganic coffee. To take it one step further, truly the best coffee you can get is Fair Trade certified organic.
Fair trade coffee organizations help to promote reasonable wages and business practices for coffee growers in emerging nations. They do this by bypassing coffee traders – eliminating much of the middleman costs; and by providing growers with a stable price. This ensures a reasonable standard of living for coffee farmers and their families. For instance, while the world market price for a pound of arabica beans is only $0.52, Fair Trade organizations guarantee farmers at least $1.26 per pound. As the second most heavily traded commodity in the world (first is oil), there are over 25 million farmers world wide who depend on coffee for their livelihood (and that of their families).
So there are the reasons for drinking organic, fair trade coffee. It tastes better, it’s better for you, it’s better for the environment, and it’s better for the world economy.