NUTRITION: ORGANIC OR CONVENTIONAL COFFEE?
(snapped on my recent trip to NYC @ Hu's Kitchen)
Having just discussed my love for it here. As of late I've become more knowledgeable about where my coffee beans are coming from. When I am having an Americano, I'm most often than not having Fair Trade Organic Beans, but sometimes I know that is not the case. The past few days have been spent researching beans, coffee, and where exactly they are coming from. Since I am having it on the daily, and it is a bit more 'acidic' I want to make sure I'm drinking the best of the best, as not to compromise my system. After tobacco and cotton, conventionally-produced coffee is the third most heavily chemically treated crop in the world. Not only are some of the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers used banned in most western nations; they’re often used without any genuine regulatory supervision.
Coffee is one of the largest and most important crops in the world, worth roughly $16.5 billion in the United States alone. The International Coffee Organization estimates there are nearly 26 million people employed in the coffee business across 52 countries. Next to Brazil and the European Union, the United States is one of the largest consumers of coffee and the largestmarket for organic coffee. Still, you might think organic coffee (farmed without the use of pesticides) would be close to conventional coffee in numbers. But organic coffee only accounts for 6.6 percentof the world’s harvested coffee.
There are many debates whether the pesticides are 'burned' off when the beans are roasted at a temperature of 400 F, but there are many the say they are not. But that is also minimal, when on all accounts articles and papers claim the extreme harm these chemicals have on our planet, the farmers, communities, children, the water system, and the overall health of the environment and its people.
So what to do when faced with all of this? First of all don't panic!! I don't want to scare people away, or take away their cup of jo'. With anything that I do, I simply want to share the knowledge I've come across, especially when its something that is so consumed globally and everyday by us. I'm not going to be obsessive compulsive about this, BUT I will buy fairtrade organic beans for our french press, and will ask cafes about their beans! But also not turn away a good cup of coffee. It's all about being more mindful about all my choices.
What can you do?
Buy a certified organic coffee. Certified organic coffees are coffees whose growing conditions and processing have been thoroughly monitored by independent agencies and found to be free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and other potentially harmful chemicals. The monitoring agencies visit the farm and verify that NO chemicals have been used on the farm for several years, and then follow every step of the processing, preparing, transporting, storage, and roasting. Such careful monitoring is of course expensive, which is one reason certified organic coffees cost more than similar uncertified coffees. Many such certified organic coffees are the product of socially and environmentally progressive cooperatives, so be prepared to pay a little bit more! But ultimately you're paying for SO much more than just the beans - practices, farmers lives, their passion for taking a stand against the harm these crops are producing in our planet.
Buy a coffee labeled "sustainable." Sustainable is a rather loose term meaning that, in the view of the importer or roaster, designated farmers are doing everything within reason to avoid the use of agricultural chemicals and to pursue enlightened environmental and socially progressive practices in the growing and processing of their coffees.
ALL IN ALL! Don't stress about your cup of jo, but become more mindful and knowledgeable of where your beans are coming from, as most of these countries already exist in poverty, and with these added chemical burdens diseases are being discovered that have NEVER been seen in their country ever.
BUT please do say goodbye to your folgers, nestle, and nescafe! Treat your temple to goooooood beans, you deserve it.
I write this as I sip on an Americano from Balzac's here in Toronto! They serve fairtrade organic coffee and pride themselves on sustainable practices in all areas. If you are in the city, definitely check them out.
Happy Wednesday Beauties.
love & light