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Getting Ethical About Coffee

Getting Ethical About Coffee

Posted by Mathew Peake on

This week we were asked a great question by Cheryl on our Facebook page. Cheryl asked, “is all your coffee fair trade or ethically sourced?”


Yes, Hammer coffee is ethically sourced… Let’s discuss. 


Speciality coffee growers certify their products to show that they adhere to certain farming, processing, environmental, pricing and social standards. These certifications give us all, as coffee drinkers, confidence that the product in the cup meets an ethical standard. Some certifications that you may be familiar with are, Organic, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance. The cost of certification is generally paid up-front by the coffee grower and this is where things can get funky.

small to medium-sized organic growers are frustrated by being “priced-out” of organic certification by increasingly high certification costs.

During a 2017 trip to coffee plantations in Southern Mexico, we were told that small to medium-sized organic growers are frustrated by being “priced-out” of organic certification by increasingly high certification costs. These farmers already use organic farming practices, because they can’t afford chemical fertilizers. In this area, growers feel that organic certification is only accessible to larger, wealthier growers, creating pricing disparity between poor and wealthy. We had a similar experience during a 2019 plantation trip to Cuba. 


As you can see coffee certification, while an important measure of a growers commitment to ethical practices, can be quite complicated in practice.


At Hammer Coffee, our regular coffee is C.A.F.E. Practices or UTZ certified, these certifications ensure that farmers, their employees and families are paid fairly for their coffee and are educated on environmentally sustainable farming practices. These certificates are independently audited. Additionally, our decaf coffee is Fairtrade and Organic certified.

 

Got a question about coffee certification or farming practices? We would love to hear from you.

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