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The best coffee beans – more than one way

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SHYM WORLDcoffee is drunk by about 2 billion cups of coffee every day; Americans alone drink about 150 billion cups a year. According to the Water Footprint Network, which measures the amount of fresh water used to make consumer goods, each cup of coffee requires a 16-minute shower, from farm to cup. Not surprisingly, many sachets of beans speak of how coffee was grown, as well as its taste.

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According to Giles Gibbons, CEO of the British consulting company Good Business, “Sustainable coffee grows because you know what you get … from farms that are proud of their methods and committed to preserving their land without eroding the topsoil, limiting consumption water and using natural alternatives to pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers ”.

It is difficult to determine whether coffee is “sustainable”. Many organic farmers do not have the time or means to obtain organic certification. And this certification does not cover critical issues such as deforestation and habitat protection. Farming practices vary widely in the 50 countries where coffee is grown, and unpredictable weather is forcing farmers to turn around to survive.

If you want to buy in good faith, it helps to understand sustainability as a cycle. In order for farmers to be able to invest in best practices and equipment, they need the long-term support of companies that are willing to pay more for planet-friendly beans. The money should be returned to their communities to promote health and education. Roasters also need to reduce carbon output. And resources should go to research. Ultimately, however, a higher price will be difficult to sell if coffee is not satisfied. Here are some of the most delicious coffees grown by farmers and roasted by companies that in quantitative terms adhere to environmental, social and economic sustainability.


Photo:

F. Martin Ramin / The Wall Street Journal

Invest in an ecosystem

Our Gorongos coffee is produced under the auspices of the Gorongos project, which dedicates 100% of the profits to people, animals and land in the Gorongos National Park in Mozambique or associated with it. Founder Greg Carr has donated $ 100 million to date. The project commits to 2035: restoring 17,500 acres of rainforest by planting a million trees; build schools and fund education so that 20,000 girls receive a high school diploma; and 250,000 large mammals thrive in Gorongos. Coffee is grown in the shade (the key to biodiversity) and comes in three blends: Elephants Never Forget, Girls Run the World and Speak for the Trees ($ 17 for 12 ounces, ourgorongosa.com). The latter stands out – a dark, rich roast with smooth, full notes of praline, apricot and honey. Combine it with hot milk for a rich morning coffee with milk.


Photo:

F. Martin Ramin / The Wall Street Journal

Support for small farms

Most coffee lovers know the iconic blends of Hair Bender and Holler Mountain from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Less may know that the company focuses on “direct trade”, promoting a long-term relationship between the farmer and the buyer. If it sounds vague, then so be it, but done right, it can help small independent coffee farmers thrive and compete with merchants who buy machine-harvested coffee cherries in bulk. The security provided by these partnerships can allow farmers to use resources in sustainable ways without fear of falling. Since 2003, Stumptown has been cooperating with Finca El Injerto, the first farm in Guatemala to receive a neutral carbon certificate. Made from premium Arabica grains, El Injerto Bourbon ($ 20 for 12 ounces, stumptowncoffee.com) rich and chocolatey with a slight spicy playfulness.

Get a carbon-neutral cup

Onyx Coffee Lab, founded by Champion Barista, produces blends that are deep and powerful. Providing its brazier with solar energy, Onyx is now carbon neutral. They have reduced the use of natural gas by 60% by using infrared heat in the firing process. And Onyx buys “honey-treated” coffee: the beans are allowed to dry along with the fruit rather than washed away, which greatly reduces the amount of water used during harvest and also, some say, increases the complexity of the grain taste. With notes of citrus, elderberry and black tea, Ethiopia Hambela Buku ($ 22 for 10 ounces, onyxcoffeelab.com) is made from relics of beans obtained on a high micro-plot in central Ethiopia. Onyx has worked with producer Oman Odinev for seven years on this award-winning coffee.


Photo:

F. Martin Ramin / The Wall Street Journal

Reduce risk for responsible manufacturers

Intelligentsia Coffee supports the nonprofit organization World Coffee Research in its efforts to help farmers cope with climate change and the resulting unpredictable weather conditions and production risks. The intelligentsia, a pioneer in “direct trade”, has been following this practice for 20 years. Perhaps most importantly, the company promises farmers fixed prices – and an alternative to volatile pricing based on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Organic lighting mixture ($ 18 for 12 ounces, intelligentsia.com) carries sweet notes of dark brown sugar and peach underwater current. In the morning organic breakfast El Gallo ($ 16 for 12 ounces) offers a smooth rounded finish – like waking up to music rather than the sharp ringing of an alarm clock.

The Wall Street Journal does not receive compensation from retailers listed in its articles as outlets. The listed retailers are often not the only outlets.

Amendments and reinforcements
Onyx Coffee Lab is the correct name for this company. In one of the earlier versions of this article the title was misspelled. (Corrected September 24.)

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