Our coffee consumption habits impact the world and beyond! Perhaps this statement is not something you have ever thought about. Food Integrity Now spoke with coffee expert and roastery owner, Deborah Di Bernardo, and she shared with us why that statement is so true (full Interview here). Di Bernardo is on a mission–to create substantial positive consumer change that promotes sustainable growing practices not only for coffee, but also other food commodities causing environmental and health issues.
“Even if we are not concerned with ingesting chemicals–we should be concerned with the environmental and social issues.”
The majority of the world’s coffee is grown conventionally. What this means is it is grown within a deforested environment for faster growth and much greater crop yield. It is dependant on a the heavy use of chemicals which makes it one of the world’s most toxic foods grown. Only a small percentage of coffee is grown organically and sustainable without chemicals and without deforesting the natural echo system.
You might be surprised to learn that even if you are drinking organic coffee that doesn’t necessarily mean its quality. Cheaper organics are cheap because they can be composed of past crop (coffee is old), or full of defects. Organic certification assures that it is not grown with chemicals but it does not reflect the quality and grade. She also explained how different methods of brewing can change the taste and caffeine and acidity content.
“If you find a cheap organic coffee that seems too good to be true, then it is.”
Coffee is graded on a 1-100 scale with 100 being the best beans. Most mainstream coffee doesn’t even come close to the high 80’s or 90’s. Quality is determined by the percentage of defects in each pound. Defects are sour, immature, molding, diseased, unripe beans and of taste. Another consideration is current or past crop coffees. Did you know that coffee has a very short shelf life once roasted? She talks about this very important consideration that is good to know when you purchase coffee.
Di Bernardo educates us today about all of this and more. She is the owner of Roast House Coffee in Spokane, Washington. Her small, four person company has been roasting organic, fair-traded coffee for about six years. In 2014, Roast House Coffee won an award for being the country’s best espresso at the Good Food Awards in San Francisco. She also has a free tasting room at her roastery where the public can stop by and taste from 20 to 30 coffees and get educated about what really good, organic, sustainable coffee is all about. To check out the coffees Roast House has to offer, go here.
She is hopeful that the Roast House Coffee model will impact other roasteries to adopt a model of only roasting organically grown and fair traded coffee. She believes that we can affect change–each of us–one cup of coffee at a time. Click on the link below to hear how you can assure you are only drinking quality coffee and to learn the right questions to ask at your coffee roastery or coffee house.
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