02 September 2008

Organic coffee is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic farmers abide by the law.

These organic coffee plantations may use the following practices :
  1. Natural predators
  2. Natural fertilizers
  3. Earthworms, Butterflies & Bees
  4. Compost
  5. Mulch
  6. Nitrogen-fixing shade trees
These practices not only create a better taste of coffee bean, but also are better for the communities it grows in. It keeps water cleaner and doesnt contaminate the soils.
The downside for growers is that it takes coffee farmers about 3 years labor before the coffee plantation can reap the benefits of sustainable organic coffee growth. Sometimes, insect infestations, molds and disease can take hold during this switch over. There are subsidies for farmers who grow coffee organically.

Certified Organic
Certified organic coffee means it has been rubber stamped by an independent organization that complete field inspections. In order to be certified, growers have to follow the following guidelines without using any synthetic products and the growers are responsible to comply with an audit trail from tree to store :
  1. Coffee is grown in organic conditions
  2. Processed
  3. Roasted
  4. Transported
  5. Packaged
In order for coffee to be certified and sold as organic in the United States, it must be produced in accordance with U.S. standards for organic production and certified by an agency accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. requirements for organic coffee production include farming without synthetic pesticides or other prohibited substances for three years and a sustainable crop rotation plan to prevent erosion, the depletion of soil nutrients, and control for pests.

All organic coffee isnt certified, so watch for the seal of coffee certification.
The USDA organic seal can appear on any coffee product that contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients and that has been certified as organic by a certification agency accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The coffee may also carry a label saying “100 percent organic” or “Organic.”

Certified organic coffee generally comes from places like Costa Rica, Bolivia, Brazil, Haiti, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Hawaii, Mexico, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Sumatra, Timor, Philipiines, Zambia and Ethopia.

You can get organic coffee decaffeinated, caffeinated, flavored and instant coffees, organic coffee ice cream and yoghurt, coffee sodas, hard candies, and chocolate covered beans.

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