Last week we published an article about some of our favorite fashion brands, which was very popular and hopefully eye-opening for some of you! This week I wanted to do a piece on one of the causes most dear to my heart--coffee.
Although there are many products that we consume and use on a daily basis that have negative effects on people and the environment, coffee is among the worst, mainly because it is the second most valuable traded commodity after petroleum. It is also the largest food import to the U.S. People often take for granted the products they use every day to the detriment of the welfare of others. Coffee, for instance, is a painstakingly difficult and time consuming agricultural product to cultivate and process. Those who do the grunt work, the coffee farmers, are often mistreated, underpaid, and overworked. To learn more about this process, check out this article by the Global Exchange.
The good news, however, is that there is a large and growing number of coffee companies focused on using ethical production practices to ensure their farmers are treated well and paid a fair wage. Here is a quick look at my personal favorite coffee brands!
De la Gente Coffee
Some of you may have read about our recent trip to Guatemala, which included a trip to the De la Gente Coffee Cooperative. The co-op provides training and resources for coffee farmers, as well as an outlet (their coffee branding) to sell their high quality coffee. Though it involves more work on the part of the farmers, they have support from each other, the ability to take out low interest loans, and the security in knowing that their work will be enough to care for their children. Not to mention...their coffee is amazing! Check out where to buy it here.
You may have seen Chapín Coffee on our “Conscious Christmas” blog as a great gift idea for others, but it’s also a great gift for yourself! Chapín sources coffee from various regions in Guatemala (among other places in Latin America) and uses part of the profits to fund programs aimed at fighting malnutrition. Many people do not realize that Guatemala has the highest rates of childhood malnutrition in the Americas, where 75% of children face chronic malnutrition. Chapín also packages some of its products in beautiful, hand-crafted Mayan bags woven by local artisan women. Consider supporting their amazing work.
Counter Culture Coffee
Counter Culture Coffee is a brand you may have encountered at a restaurant or your neighborhood Fresh Market/Whole Foods. The brand emphasizes high quality, sustainability, and education, and sources directly from farmers and cooperatives from the world’s best coffee-growing regions. They visit most of the places where they buy coffee every two years to check on growing practices and to remain transparent. Their website emphasizes this responsibility, as they “strive for real environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability in everything [they] do, and [they’re] proud to work with some of the most progressive and environmentally-sensitive farms in the coffee trade.” With a wide variety of year-round and seasonal roasts, Counter Culture provides some of the tastiest and most responsible coffee out there. Check out their selection today...you won’t regret it!
One of my favorite features of all these brands is the ability to “subscribe” to their coffee. They’ll send you a new bag (or two!) each month, usually at a reduced price. You’ll never have to worry about where you’ll get your next bag of (ethical!) coffee beans.
Happy coffee drinking!