What is organic coffee?
Organic coffee is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic farmers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.
What does “certified organic” mean?
In order for coffee to be certified and sold as organic in the United States, it must be produced in accordance with U.S. standards for organic production and certified by an agency accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. requirements for organic coffee production include:
- It must have been grown on land without synthetic pesticides or other prohibited substances for three years.
- There must have been a sufficient buffer between the organic coffee and the nearest conventional crop.
- The farmer must have a sustainable crop rotation plan to prevent erosion, the depletion of soil nutrients, and control for pests.
Certified Organic & Fair Trade
Fair Trade certification focuses on labor and trade standards to provide producers with a guaranteed price. All Fair Trade coffee is not necessarily organic. However, Fair Trade does require environmental stewardship. Approximately 85 percent of all Fair Trade Certified™ coffee sold in the United States is also certified organic.