Terroir and your…coffee? — Coffee with the Queen

Terroir, that magical, elusive word is most often associated with wine but applies just as much to coffee. So what is terroir?

Terroir and your…coffee? — Coffee with the Queen

For all that coffee and wine are incredibly different, they’re also incredibly similar.

They’re both highly sensitive crops with nearly endless potential for variety. They’re both considered ‘lifestyle’ drinks and are just as much a culture as they are a product. This brief piece takes a look at the French term ‘terroir’ and how this wine-specific term can also be used to describe the environmental details that go into coffee beans’ subtle flavor notes. Boost your vocabulary on a Saturday and use it to support your next purchasing decision!

a photo of the rwandan landscape

How often do you think about where your ethically sourced coffee comes from?

Not what the ‘ethically traded’ label says or the origin claim stated by the company…but where it really comes from. If you’re rubbing the back of your neck or avoiding eye contact with your screen, rest assured this is a common problem.

Not just among consumers, but among companies and businesses that work in direct trade with coffee farmers. In our whirlwind day-to-day, thinking about just where our goods come from and at what cost can feel like a tall order (pardon the pun). You’re just trying to get through the workweek in one piece! When it comes to positive change, however…now is always the best time for it. From grower to roaster to customer, the journey of coffee is a winding one. One we can neglect on our way to get the most convenient cup.

An ‘ethical trade’ label on a box or recycling claim on a lid isn’t enough. Several troubling developments concerning coffee sustainability and ethical trading have cropped up these past few weeks, showing that green sentiments are often only skin deep. One story analyzing coffee culture in Rwanda — or rather, the lack thereof — speaks to the real disconnect the West has with the rest of the world. Farmers are caught in such a chokehold between consistent production rates and high costs they’re not even able to taste their own creations. To the Western ear, this is completely surreal…

…and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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