Sustainable Coffee – A Superior Choice for Java Enthusiasts
By Julie Gengo
Ah, that aromatic smell of brewing coffee has opened the eyes of many people around the world. Whether that first cup, mid-day brew or after dinner drink, coffee is a staple that in its many forms, flavors and textures has had an impact on the health of its drinkers as well as the well-being of the planet.
The health benefits of consuming coffee have been controversial and perhaps difficult to determine. A recent study conducted by Autonoma University in Madrid highlighted the possibility of reducing the risks of developing heart disease, especially for women, when drinking up to six cups of coffee per day. Coffee also contains large amounts of anti-oxidants, which are known to prevent disease.
Some adverse affects of drinking Jo may include contributions to blocked arteries, adrenal stress and acid and toxic buildup in the liver. Most importantly, coffee should never be used as a consistent supplement for sleep deprivation as lack of sleep is linked to numerous health issues. Insomnia and other sleep disorders can pose a serious hindrance in achieving optimal health.
There may be other hidden concerns of drinking coffee that include the use of vast amounts of pesticides to cultivate large-scale coffee farms. Pesticides are poisons that pose risk to human health and the environment. Other issues include labor abuse/stress and habitat/biodiversity destruction.
With the first known cultivation dating back as far as the ninth century in the highlands of Ethiopia, coffee has since become a very lucrative global commodity. Big corporations have industrialized its production and in turn removed the natural habitat for cultivation and replaced it with large-scale factory coffee farms.
For those java enthusiasts everywhere, you do have a choice; Organic, Fair Trade Certified™, shade-grown coffee does make a difference.
· Organic Coffee: Does not support the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that pollute our bodies, watersheds, soil and air. Organic coffee is also grown under shade trees, which impact the environment in a positive way.
· Fair Trade Certified™ Coffee: Although all Fair Trade coffee is not certified organic, this practice does require strict environmental stewardship including prohibiting the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the most toxic pesticides. It also sets labor and trade standards that ensures that small-farmers secure a guaranteed price above conventional market rates.
· Shade Grown Coffee: Coffee grown under shade trees help maintain bio-diversity. The trees provide a rich habitat for birds that in turn provide a natural form of pesticide. Many shade birds flock to organic coffee farms, as their tropical habitats have been lost to deforestation. This helps prevent extinction of species. The fallen leaves from the trees also nourish and purify the soil preventing water contamination.
Another wonderful way to support sustainability is to compost your coffee grounds. High in nitrogen content, grounds will break down into nutrient-dense soil that you can use for planting organic foods, flowers and herbs.
So if you must have that cup of brew, make a choice that makes a difference.