Buena Vista Roastery

Coffee and the Mountains

Archive for certification

Systems Thinking in Coffee and the Climate Change

I recently read a blurb about a University of Michigan study that focuses on how shade grown coffee will help alleviate stress of weather extremes potentially resulting from the changing climate. The results of the study seem rather common sensical once you understand basics of systems thinking. I am not one to question to judgment of funding such a project, because it plays an important role in academia and, as a result, in influencing policy. I will take the opportunity, however, to spout a bit about systems thinking and coffee. Read the rest of this entry »


Fair Trade and a Hill of Beans

The Christian Science Monitor recently published a portion of an essay on Fair Trade entitled, “Fair-trade coffee: not worth a hill of beans.” Granted, this reads like an opinion paper without numbers and statistics to buttress the arguments, but the arguments seem worthy of further investigation. It’s more perspective to balance in the popular struggle to be certified or not to be certified, both supplying goods or demanding goods. I for one appreciate having people question what we have accepted as matter of fact.

Coffee Beats Soft Drinks

Here’s some promising news for our industry, noting that coffee is rejuvenating and has overtaken soft drinks for the first time. It looks like home brewing is en vogue as opposed to a double dry cappuccino from the local cafe. An additional promising blurb states,

“The specialty coffee industry is at the forefront of offering ethical, eco-friendly products. Although this is a niche market, it is rapidly touching mainstream,” notes Tatjana Meerman, Publisher of Packaged Facts. “For example, in April 2008, Wal-Mart launched a line of six premium packaged ground coffees that are either Fair Trade Certified, USDA Certified Organic, or Rainforest Alliance Certified.”

There is a demand by the consumer for these products. There are a host of producers who may not be able to afford certification, such as the Rancho San Francisco in Mexico, but still follow the organic practices and whose coffee cups very well. I send a tribute out to Bongo Billy’s Founder Bill Mehaffey, who was one of the first organic and fair trade roasters in Colorado.

Organic is not holistic

I read the following quote yesterday. It comes from a very respectable company that roasts coffee and sells it over the Internet and perhaps through some cafes and restaurants local to them,

Organic farming is the art of holistically utilizing the systems and resources at hand to produce a crop that is the true, natural creation of the land and soil on which it was grown.

And I am compelled to write about its inaccuracy. Today’s organic farming is entirely non-holistic. It is as far from being ‘holistic’ as any conventional farming. By definition these are mutually exclusive elements, as organic/conventional is a fabrication of linear thinking, the other requires the ability to process enormous amounts of information and complexity found in both natural and soft systems.

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