Organic. What does that word really mean? I guess we see organic and our minds are trained to think its better than the norm. Does more love go into the product? Is it sourced from better farmers?
We get used to hearing about organic foods but how much so we really know about organic coffee? Hopefully,this post will shed some light on the question – what is organic coffee?
O R G A N I C.
To put it simply, for something to be organic it has to be grown without the use of any synthetic fertilizers,pesticides or other artificial chemicals. Growing organically minimises human impact on the land, the process is natural. For food it also includes the rearing of animals in an open air environment enabling them to roam freely.
Coffee is imported into the EU from countries such as Brazil. We can’t measure qualitatively how that coffee has been grown however, the European Commission sets regulations on what is deemed to be organic and thus sold as such. The regulations ensure that rules have been applied at every stage of the supply chain. There are a few ways in which we can actively look out for these ‘organic coffee’ markings.
The EU requires an equally strict control system with checks carried out at every stage of the organic chain. Every operator (farmer, processor, trader, importer or exporter) is checked at least once a year, or more depending on circumstances.
- Organic Logo and Labelling Rules – EU.
A product needs to correctly labelled as being Organic. It needs to be recognised by the consumer as being organic which is fundamentally important. Organic farming needs to be transparent and easily identifiable. Furthermore, it gives a visual identity to the organic farming sector.
If used on a product, the EU organic logo indicates that this product is in full conformity with the conditions and regulations for the organic farming sector established by the European Union. For processed products it means that at least 95% of the agricultural ingredients are organic. Next to the new EU organic logo, a code number of the control body is displayed as well as the place where the agricultural raw materials composing the product have been farmed. Again, transparency is key here.
The organic logo is ONLY to be used on products that have been certified as organic and thus meet the guidelines. This ensures that people like us, the consumer, are protected from products that utilise clever marketing techniques – claiming to be ‘organic’.
If coffee is coming from outside the EU, the logo may still be used. This means that certifications can still be used and recognised e.g. From countries like Brazil or Ethiopia which are the biggest producers of coffee beans.
Interesting fact – The logo is nicknamed “Euro-leaf”. It symbolizes the marriage of Europe (the stars derived from the European flag) and Nature (the stylized leaf and the green colour
F A R M I N G
You know, we all have our conceptions about what we think organic production is or isn’t. Personally before I wrote this post I didn’t care much for organic products( I’m ashamed to admit) because I just thought they were overpriced. I didn’t buy into the ‘clever marketing’. I understood that organic meant the use of natural processes but I didn’t know to what extent organic farmers live by the belief that they should preserve the earth and nourish it in any way possible. I understand now why organic eating and growing is a way of life. I want to share with you why my opinion has changed so drastically.
Organic products are grown in a way that protects the land. The soil, earth, water and the land are protected. As the fertilisers used to grown products are natural they don’t damage the soil and in most cases nurture it. Its a common saying that what is taken out of the soil is put back in. Water isn’t wasted in organic farming. Every ounce of water is taken into account. Its not used messily and the purity of the water has to be measured. We know that pesticides and artificial fertilisers ever got into a water supply chain it can potentially damaged thousands of organisms.
The surrounding environment is well maintained and the processes of altering the land for farming is minimised as much as is possible. It requires much more time, effort and awareness to grow organically and is actually a very small market.
The latest report on organic farming was written in 2013 detailing the facts and figures relating to the same. Its a really interesting read as it states how the organic industry has been rapidly growing within the EU.
Is Organic Coffee better than Non-Organic Coffee?
So we need to address this question when talking about organic coffee. Is it really better than normal coffee. Essentially, both organic and non organic are to be produced to the same high standard however, the use of artificial means with non organic foods means that nothing unnatural has contributed negatively to the growth and subsequent taste of the coffee bean.
- Organic produce has to meet the same safety standards as other foods and complies with eu general food law.
- No artificial fertilisers damage land with organic
When it comes to taste there is no test or no study that states that organically grown coffee tastes better. Some people may think that it tastes better because subconsciously they know it has been grown differently!
If you’re asking yourself the question – why is organic produce more expensive I hope these facts will help to clarify.
- Organic crops often take more time to produce. Farmers need to ensure that the crops are grown separate from non-organic crops and thus this process takes more time. We all know that time is money these days!
- Also, organic farming is often done on a much smaller scale to that of normal farming.
- More checks and regulations are imposed on farmers and therefore, more work needs to go in to ensuring that the product can be classified as organic.
So I hope you have learned a little about organic coffee farming and the difference between organic and non organic coffee. There are many places where you can buy organic coffee such as the high street and independent retailers. Maybe you now know why organic coffee is more expensive. Every time you purchase organic coffee you are assisting farmers from all over the world to continue to organically farm.
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