As coffee specialists, we rely heavily on Mother Earth to help us produce the delicate and aromatic beans that go into each silky, smooth cup of espresso. As a crop that spans tens of millions of acres across more than 80 different countries around the globe, this billion-dollar industry is one that has a direct and significant impact on our environment. With the increase in demand over the years, what was once a modest market with sustainable practices quickly transformed into a monocultural one to keep up with the surge in demand. These expansive practices require an excess of pesticides and fertilizers, which gradually deplete the natural resources, leaving behind dry, stripped soil, among many other adverse effects throughout local regions where coffee is grown.
Thankfully, change is ever constant, and with the emergence of more environmentally conscious consumers, many coffee companies, like us here at OROCaffe, recognize the benefits and importance of following environmentally-friendly practices. Sustainable coffee production and cultivation can not only help protect our environment, but it can also produce better quality coffee and higher net returns.
So if you’re wondering is there a way to produce coffee in an environmentally-friendly way – you bet! Read on to learn more about this topic and how to help make your daily cup less harmful on the earth.
Sustainable Cultivation: An Agroforestry System
Back in the 70s, as the coffee boom took off, open-sun production systems became a booming trend as manufacturers were eager to produce greater yields. As this trend caught on, the addition of agrochemical use was employed alongside it and was widely promoted across Central America, gradually eliminating traditional sustainable practices.
With the increasing population and intensification of production, deforestation and a decline of biodiversity in natural ecosystems have become a serious threat over the years. Thankfully, agroforestry practices are helping to rectify this.
Agroforestry systems mimic a natural forest by utilizing a diverse canopy of trees to shade coffee beans while they grow naturally as they used to. This reduces the rate of deforestation and helps to re-establish natural habitats, allowing birds and other wildlife to flourish. The presence of wildlife helps to keep pests at bay, eliminates the need for pesticides, enhances pollinators, and produces better tasting coffee that you can feel good about.
Combining Multiple Cultivation Methods for Minimal Impact
Since the environment is so directly affected during the production of coffee beans, the cultivation process is the most important issue when it comes to producing coffee that’s less harmful to the planet. Depending on the method of cultivation, it can contribute as little as 1% of the total environmental footprint of a cup of coffee or as much as 70%!
Arabica Coffee Beans Are Better For The Environment
Coffea arabica is one of the world’s most beloved coffee beans, and since it flourishes naturally in the shade, it is better for the environment and local farmers and communities. However, it was largely replaced by more sun-tolerant beans to produce greater yields at a faster rate. But today, as we turn back to more traditional, environmentally-friendly practices, producers are focusing on this shade-loving variety once again. With the need for natural shade, coffee farms can sustain a diverse tree canopy, which protects more forests and waterways, prevents runoff, reduces or eliminates the need for harsh pesticides and reduces the overall ecological impact during the entire cultivation process. Overall, this shade-grown coffee creates an environment that is ecologically diverse and responsible.
Ecological Roasting System That Save Energy
The roasting process is another way that can be tweaked to save energy and protect our environment. Innovative roasting systems today are designed to precisely measure, roast and then reuse the methane generated heat to intensify the aromas of the coffee. By reusing the heat several times, approximately 60% less energy is required. Simply put, there’s fewer fumes, less fuel, and less carbon dioxide that’s released into the atmosphere as a result.
How To Ensure Your Cup is Sustainable
If you’re eager to select more environmentally-friendly coffee, the best way is to do a little research and look for sustainability certified logos which highlight the manufacturers and suppliers who are committed to eco-friendly practices. Some of the most common include the Rainforest Alliance, USDA Organic, Fair Trade and Beyond Fair Trade certifications. These are some of the most renowned in the world and can guide you when making ethically based purchases.
Some Other Points to Consider
As a consumer, the power is in your hands to influence change on a grander scheme since corporations look to you to decide what’s worth it and what’s not. So when looking for eco-based coffee companies and suppliers, dig a little deeper and research other factors, such as what type of packaging are they using? Are they utilizing any sustainable actions throughout their headquarters, like renewable energy sources? These types of details can highlight those who are truly committed to change and those who are simply trying to latch on in order to increase profits without caring much about the environment at all.
Our Commitment to Environmentally-friendly Practices
At ORO Caffe, we care about the kind of world that will be left behind for our kids and other future generations. That’s why since opening our doors in 2009, we’ve implemented eco-based initiatives year after year. From our environmentally-friendly facilities that utilize solar powered energy, to our sustainable roasting methods, to our switch to recyclable packaging, and free charging stations for electric vehicles at our headquarters. We’re committed to making changes to reduce our footprint, improve the coffee industry standards and deliver the best shot of espresso that you can feel good about drinking.
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