Healthy Living

A Case for Fair Trade Coffee

a perfect cup of cappuccinoHi, my name is Rachel, and I’m an addict.

But I’m not confessing anything here that my friends and family don’t already know. They’ve seen the signs: The heightened anxiety, snappishness, darting eyes. The way I examine the street corners when we’re out and my  afternoon withdrawal sets in. I’m addicted to coffee. But not just any coffee: My drug of choice is fair trade coffee, with steamed organic milk.

I’ve tried other varieties of caffeine infusions. Brewed tastes bitter and gives me a stomachache. I can do tea, in a pinch—I drink it at breakfast every day. But after a few days of afternoon tea I’m more depressed than an Londoner in February.

But the organic, fair trade coffee choice is bigger than taste.

Look for the Fair Trade Certified label or ask for the fair trade coffee blend at any Peet’s, Seattle’s Best or Starbuck’s. According to FairTradeUSA, coffee is the world’s second largest traded commodity. A full 90% of the world’s coffee is grown by large corporations, which clear cut forests in order to expose the plants to full sun, and then spray them with a cornucopia of pesticides and fertilizers.

Do you really want a side of benzine hexachloride with that cappuccino?

Of the remaining 10 percent that’s grown for the specialty market, an even smaller percentage is fair trade. These agreements mean the coffee beans are shade-grown by small family farms and cooperatives that receive fair payment, as well as access to health care, sustainable and organic farming education programs, education and more.

Where to get fair trade beans? Most markets sell them now, just look for the Fair Trade Certified or Rainforest Alliance Certified labels. If you’re out and about, ask for the fair trade coffee blend at any Peet’s, Seattle’s Best or Starbuck’s (shame on Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which currently has no Fair Trade options).

At Amazon, I found these awesome and affordable fair trade brands for all kinds of brewing like Equal Exchange Love Buzz Blend Organic Coffee Bean, Reggie’s Roast Organic, Fair Trade Ground Coffee and Green Mountain Coffee, Colombian Fair Trade Select for Keurig Brewers.

Finally, Dunkin’ Donuts is all Fair Trade, all the time. Who knew?


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