coffee cherry
coffee

A New Coffee Certification Is In Town

Keeping track of coffee certifications isn’t easy. The brew already has a thousand and one details swirling around every purchase, from origin to bean variety to altitude.

The complex web of certifications have already come under fire a few times lately, such as the USDA admitting they might have to completely rehaul their organic certification due to a lack of compliance and oversight. That isn’t to say these labels are completely untrustworthy, but rather, it’s our duty as customers to be extra diligent about what we buy. Just because something says it’s sustainable doesn’t mean it actually is. As such, this detailed article on a new coffee certification had me feeling a glimmer of hope.

Not only is the Jaguar Friendly program a mutually beneficial partnership between farmer and animal, they go into great detail in how the certification actually works. Coffee farms under this certification have to dedicate certain areas of land to the jaguar’s territory, including planting trees in certain locations and focusing on shade-grown coffee to reduce the need for expensive methods of cultivation. The goal is to reduce dangerous encounters and the worst-case scenario of killing an already threatened species.

Consider looking for this label on your next bag of coffee beans. What goes around comes around, as the saying goes, and this is a very forward-thinking initiative, indeed.

coffee, industry news

The Classic Coffee Cup Gets A Clever Makeover

The coffee cup is an iconic staple of day-to-day life. It’s also loaded with unsustainable bells and whistles that create a lot of waste every year.

Just how much waste? According to a study by The Guardian, the UK alone tosses over 2.5 billion paper coffee cups every year. Even worse, a mere one out of every four hundred cups is actually recycled. That means towering landfills, worsening air quality, and, of course, the omnipresent threat of irreversible climate change. Being presented with yearly figures like these makes sustainability conversations feel like a useless loop. It’s all a lot of positive fluff with little to actually show for it.

This redesign to the classic coffee cup has a few thoughts on the matter. Fast Company shared an interview with the creators of this Kickstarter-backed coffee cup, hearkening to Chinese takeout and origami in its lid-free and sleeve-free design. It’s easy to fold and unfold, without fear of spilling, and cuts into the dismal statistics left by wasteful coffee culture. One of my favorite details are the lovely animal-focused prints by Alexis Kandra, chosen specifically to keep buyers mindful of the very environment they’re supporting. Now that’s mindful packaging design.

coffee

Carbon-free Roasting Is A Trend That Should Stick

It’s amazing how much damage an everyday product can create. We’re so saturated with coffee it’s very easy to overlook.

‘Going green’ sounds great on paper, but requires a dedicated overhaul of old, inefficient ways of running business. Getting just one detail wrong could cause yet another ripple effect to make up for in the future. Coffee is a titan of an industry, with the United States alone drinking an estimated 400 million cups per day. Roasting coffee beans, in particular, is a delicate process that can make or break the final cup. Not only do you have to get the right profile, you have to leave the right carbon footprint.

What fascinated me in Forbes’ recent analysis/review was this new way of reducing carbon emissions while still crafting a high-quality roast. The Bellwether Roaster reuses the same air without using gas, drastically reducing its harmful output through a new approach. Even better, this machine also comes with an app that allows customers to choose their own roasting curve. If you thought a soy decaf latte was specific, imagine being able to select a medium-dark roast on top of it all.

Today’s harmful climate change is accelerated primarily through ongoing business activity, not individuals or even communities. If the figures in this analysis are accurate, this roasting technology should become the new default.

industry news, tea

More Than A Rainy Day: The Threat To Global Tea Production

Tea is a delicate creation. It relies on a medley of strict agricultural standards, prime ecological conditions and timely collection to get that flavor and aroma you love. Anything that falls out of those complex parameters results in lackluster tea or crops that refuse to grow. Climate change remains one of the biggest threats to the tea industry, just like the coffee industry, and the coronavirus definitely hasn’t helped. People are working harder and longer for awful results…and it’s only getting worse.

What will the tea industry even look like in the next decade?

The Economic Times takes a look at the whopping 20% loss of tea crops in the Assam and Bengal tea belt. Excessive rainfall and not enough sun is to blame for much of this, leading to fears of missing vital economic minimums that keep businesses running and people employed. The thing with climate change? It’s not just a rainy day. It’s a precedent for similar weather patterns down the road. More loss. More difficulties. More more, snowballing faster than we can keep track.

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of dramatic weather patterns and big business. I know I do. Giving up isn’t an answer, though. Not when this planet is our only home and there’s an entire generation that might just grow up where the tea industry isn’t a thing.

coffee, industry news, tea

Everyone Has A Role To Play With Sustainability Labels

Sustainability has become a pretty convoluted word. It sounds nice on paper — and looks pretty snazzy — but the moment you start to scratch the surface, you run into trouble.

Which sustainability labels are actually inciting meaningful change for farmers? How are these certifications approved and maintained, much less reinforced by outside parties? Do consumers actually have any power when it comes to encouraging fair trade? These are just a few of the questions that The Week takes a look at: their illuminating piece goes into the nitty-gritty behind sustainability certification and what it actually means for farmers, traders and consumers.

Government initiatives versus non-profits. The issue of premium demand and production. The flaws in the reporting system and which standards are used to measure in the first place. There’s some good, insightful commentary here to pierce the labyrinthine tangle of fact and fiction. While the sustainability conversation won’t be ended with just one article — indeed, the oversaturation of certification labels is the problem — this article will give you a better idea as to what you’re looking at while shopping.

Just yesterday I was looking for coffee to stock up my shelf and wondering whether or not I should buy K-cups, thanks to recent recycling issues. I’m also planning on making the switch to a French Press for home coffee so I can focus on purchasing specialty, small-batch coffee. It’s not much…

…but change has to start somewhere.

cute mug of coffee
coffee, industry news, tea

A Dash Of Different: Five Fun Twists On Coffee And Tea

One of the genius details about coffee and tea is just how flexible they are. You can really come up with almost anything. …Almost. I really don’t want to read the news one of these days and find out liquid gold is now being called the ‘new espresso’.

I keep an eye on stories like these because I want innovation to be just as fun as it is necessary. Stories on climate change and the impact it leaves on entire livelihoods is an essential conversation, yes, but it’s also a little draining. Making the world a better place to live means embracing it all. Change as complex as coming up with new farming methods…as well as thinking about how to chill coffee quicker. Change as vital as planting millions of trees in one day, as well as a faster, cuter way of recycling.

Let’s take a look at some recent developments in coffee and tea, from low-calorie alcoholic tea varieties to caffeinated popsicles.

Continue reading “A Dash Of Different: Five Fun Twists On Coffee And Tea”
roasted coffee beans
coffee, industry news

A cup of coffee made without a single bean.

Sound like something you’d want to try? I took a look at this interesting scientific development earlier on LinkedIn, but I have a few more thoughts on the matter.

Beanless coffee is a (kind of) modern development currently being polished by today’s best scientists. This technique is similar to chicory — a method that involves brewing roots instead of beans — but whittles down the ingredients even further. Everything from the flavor to the way the brew sits on your tongue is meant to replicate traditional coffee near-flawlessly. On one hand, it’s fascinating how science can break down what we consume to its barest components. On the other hand, environmental concerns are cited as a major reason to continue this research.

Beanless coffee could help…as long as the industry’s priorities are kept straight.

Continue reading “A cup of coffee made without a single bean.”
tea leaves
industry news, tea

Climate Change Waits For No One: Why Tea Businesses Need Packaging Updates

Climate change is a subject that’s constantly talked about, yet doesn’t always feel…concrete. It’s a variable that becomes heavier or lighter depending on where you live and where you work. When it comes to the quality of tea, though, the difference can literally be tasted.

The issue of global warming is something no one should ignore, particularly tea businesses who rely on an ideal set of conditions to cultivate their delicate stock. When it comes to recognizing the impact of eco-friendly packaging, the tea industry often leads the charge. Numi Organic is a popular brand that projects front and center their commitment to organic products and fair sourcing, such as partnering with organizations that provide vulnerable communities access to clean water. Stash is another you’ll easily recognize for not just their bold logo, but their focus on sustainable, unbleached packaging materials. Quite a lot of tea packaging on store shelves will mention — if not outright revolve around — a commitment to green values, from ethical sourcing with farmers to recycled paper or plastic.

These are all great eco-friendly packaging habits that will make the world a better place to live. …Will it be enough, though?

Continue reading “Climate Change Waits For No One: Why Tea Businesses Need Packaging Updates”