Why Small Coffee Farmers Need to Belong to ISEAL

Why Small Coffee Farmers Need to Belong to ISEAL

How the Sustainability Landscape Is Changing in Coffee Farming Through ISEAL 

ISEAL – What is it and how does it benefit the coffee and cocoa industry? ISEAL is an organisation that improves certification programmes in the industry. Codes of Good Practice were put into play after consulting with over four hundred stakeholders which represent the core values and principles on which sustainability practices are adhered to and built upon. The sustainability landscape is fast changing in the coffee and cocoa industry. Education and the diversification of approaches together with the metamorphosis of systems have made great inroads in farming and production. 

The Global Coffee Platform consists of various ISEAL members including Fairtrade, UTZ and The Rainforest Alliance which have come together to get a clearer picture of how beneficial multiple certifications in the cocoa and coffee industry can be. The general idea is to improve on data collected for more accurate results. 

The need for a joint effort arose after there were huge discrepancies in the reporting of the various members regarding poverty impacts and on how they went about improving these. 

Of special interest is that the members have come to an agreement where data from the various coffee bean and cocoa organisations are now being shared under one umbrella. Snapshots of the data are taken and then shared with ISEAL where all information is collated and compared to the data from each other 

This information is then compared, matched and identified and then compared for accuracy. Similar numbers will prove accuracy and are then recorded for future use. If the data is not similar, the results and data need to be re-examined. This data is used to gauge the size of land, the number of workers protected by certification and the number of smallholders. 

ISEAL plays an important part in providing a clear picture of multiple certificates with the main aim being to unpack the challenges and to tackle any issues regarding the sharing and quality of the data collected from various platforms in the coffee industry. 

ISEAL plays an important role in highlighting how important the comparisons and how essential accurate information is when it comes to the coffee industry as it leads to trust and transparency as well as collaboration where all can benefit in a fair-trading world. 

The Lowdown on Drinking Ethical Coffee

The Lowdown on Drinking Ethical Coffee

Why It Matters That We Drink Ethical Coffee and What it Is 

Many of us are aware of where our food comes from, and coffee is certainly no exception. Buying clothing made by child labourers or wearing blood diamonds is unethical and many of us are aware of just how much this impacts on the world around us, plus it is against our beliefs and principlesCoffee is no different; therefore, drinking ethical coffee should be on the top of the list of all coffee lovers with a conscience. 

If you are already buying organic produce for a variety of ethical reasons where pesticides are not used, you should seriously consider sourcing coffee that is ethically grown and carries the Fairtrade label. Wherever possible, buy local from local producers. Where chocolate and coffee have been imported the transparency of where the goods come from is not always easy to see. It is important to find out how your coffee beans have been grown and whether they have been sourced ethically. 

Consumers Have A Responsibility and Hold the Key 

Taking ownership and being a responsible consumer from the start of the supply chain right to the end should be put into place. Going the reusable route is one way of being a responsible consumer. We are already taking our own bags to the supermarket and not using plastic, therefore, taking our own mugs for a takeout coffee should be the norm and not the exception. Keep a mug in your bag, on in the office and one at home and use these instead of throwaway mugs for takeout coffee. 

Taking care of the families that grow our coffee is not about being part of the “cool” movement. It is a genuine step in the direction of taking care of those that are responsible for growing our coffee. Coffee farmers are suffering at the hands of systems that are irrelevant and outdated – if we all step up and do our bit to support ethical growing practices, the small-time farmers will benefit enormously. 

It is time we all stood up by supporting ethically grown and Fairtrade coffee. It is time to question where coffee comes from and to prod suppliers for information. This should be an attractive business that is profitable for the people that matter the most and those that grow our beans under the best conditions. It is high time we all challenged the traditional way that coffee is grown and to bring ethical coffee to the consumer market. 

Ensure You Buy Ethically Sourced Coffee 

When you buy coffee, keep an eye out for the bags that are branded with the Fair Trade or the Direct Trade labels as this is a guarantee that the coffee you are buying supports both the environment and the farmers that grow the coffee. 

Fair Trade and Direct Trade coffee farmers are required to adhere to strict farming methods that are put into place for improved living conditions of small farmers. Coffee grown under these rules and regulations need to practice sustainability on all levels. Fair Trade practices ensure buyers are part of the solution and contribute to community initiatives and sustainability practices. Fairtrade ensures small farmers are given the tools of the trade to improve their standard of living. 

Sourcing ethical coffee ensures quality and sustainability of beans. 

Your Co-Workers Are More Likeable After Coffee – Myth or Fact?

Your Co-Workers Are More Likeable After Coffee – Myth or Fact?

The secret behind why coffee can boost our happiness levels is scientifically proven, and coffee helps brew better relationships in the workplace. Whether you like filtered or ground coffee, coffee makes us feel happy because it stimulates the neurotransmitters inside our brain 

Even though we would love to get along with everyone at work, human nature does not work that way. The workplace can be a frustrating environment if you don’t get along with the people you work with no matter what the reason. Drinking coffee could go a long way to resolve this issue. Here’s why… 

Coffee is fast-acting and boosts the energy levels; it is an all-around lifter of moods and gives one a general all-round happy feeling. This could help with concentration but does a little more than assist with concentration. It could affect group dynamics positively and could assist in viewing each other in a more positive light. This is where coffee gets a big thumbs-up in the work environment. 

Studies that have been undertaken by students in various experiments had some interesting results. The students were put into different groups to see how they reacted to drinking coffee with caffeine before conversations and what they felt regarding their reactions to the other participants. The results were quite interesting. It seems that coffee elevated the level of concentration and alertness and helped the students boost their participation in group situations. 

In all probability that cup of coffee before a meeting will increase your productivity and will more than likely help you cope with individuals in the workplace that you don’t agree with. 

When Planning a Meeting Serve Coffee for Heightened Concentration and Participation 

If you are planning a meeting serving coffee helps with increased participation and elevated involvement, leaving everyone feeling better about their involvement and participation. 

Many social interactions take place over a cup of coffee. When you invite friends out for a chat and a cup of coffee, this is a brilliant example of how sociable coffee is and how it enhances that general sociable all-round good feeling. 

Rather than proclaiming caffeine as the ultimate catalyst for better group work, the researchers pointed to the increased level of alertness as being the mechanism for the positive effects. 

Decades of research on the effects of coffee have explored its effects on the individual but few studies have been conducted on entire groups and their interaction with one another after consuming this very popular beverage. 

Look around you and take note – where is coffee consumed in great quantities? It is usually in group settings such as in the office, during meetings and socially.  

There is a Definite Science Behind Why Coffee Lifts our Spirits 

Coffee is rich in minerals. It contains a treasure trove of chemicals that are good for our health. 

This is What Your Cup of Coffee Consists of: 

  • Caffeoylquinic acid (3.5) which protects us from neuron damage 
  • 2-Ethylpheno. This chemical keeps us alert and active 
  • Niacin: Vit B3, which rejuvenates our cells and prevents us from succumbing to dementia 
  • Trigonelline – a derivative of Vit B3 which fights against bacteria and prevents cavities in our mouths 

Small wonder coffee makes us feel so good – get your colleagues to drink coffee and feel the happy. Perhaps you cannot buy coffee, but you can buy happiness and that’s close enough. 

Which Regions in Africa Dominate Coffee Growing?

Which Regions in Africa Dominate Coffee Growing?

The continent of Africa has the most coffee-producing countries with 25 in total. Asia has 11 countries that produce coffee and Mexico and Central America account for eight.  

There are enormous opportunities for Africa to grow coffee production and the potential for growth and domination in the market is going from strength to strength. The increase of coffee consumption throughout the world is impacting positively on coffee production in African territories. 

Brazil and Latin American coffeeproducing countries have come up against numerous challenges including diseases that have attacked coffee production, impacting negatively on the output of coffee. This has given African coffeeproducing countries a boost and an opportunity to increase output and exports. 

The coffee-producing countries in Africa have come up with solutions to streamline the value chain. This includes preparing the land right up to the exportation of the product. This has increased the continent’s ability to cope with the demand for coffee. Africa now accounts for 12% of the production of coffee worldwide. Although this might seem low, the quality of the beans is much sought-after by coffee lovers across the globe.  As populations increase global coffee consumption will rise to 200 million bags by the year 2030. 

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Africa accounts for almost 12 % of the world’s coffee production. The coffee beans have a certain kind of magical, flowery, earthy flavour and is quite acidic which is prized by coffee connoisseurs from all over the world. 

Africa is said to be the birthplace of coffee. The exceptional growing conditions lend itself perfectly to coffee growing success. Majestic mountains, pristine forests and an equatorial climate that is consistent are ideal geographically for growing coffee. African coffees are as elegant and varied as fine wines. These range from clean, crispy flavours to powerful, assertive results that attract coffee lovers and authentic coffee connoisseurs. 

Countries in Africa That Produce Coffee 

  • Burundi 

Coffee from Burundi has a high level of acidity with deep berry, spicy and citrus notes, and is almost chocolatey in taste. The regions that coffee is grown in Burundi include BuyenziBugesera,  BweruKirimiroKayanza,  Mumirwa and Ngozi. 

  • DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) 

The coffee growing regions in the DRC include Ituri and Kivue. The coffee from the DRC is sweet with a hint of chocolate. The coffee is very acidic with sweet berry and flowery notes. Coffee grown in the DRC is rustic and earthy with a rather untamed result. 

  • Ethiopia 

Many regions in Ethiopia grow coffee. The coffee is moderately high with spice and floral notes. Ethiopian coffee exudes a sweet aroma with delicate and bright overtones. 

  • Kenya 

Coffee from Kenya is aromatic, acidic and has an intense flavour. Coffee is grown in over 19 regions in Kenya. Lovers of acidic coffee will love the coffee produced here. 

  • Rwanda 

Rwanda’s coffee producing history is relatively new. It has a history that goes back only 20 years producing specialty coffee, gaining traction in the coffee-producing world. Almost all Rwandan coffee that is produced is specialty-grade. 

  • Tanzania 

Coffee production in Tanzania is the country’s most important export and is believed to be one of the finest in the world. Coffee in Tanzania is grown in the Southern regions of the country and in the Kilimanjaro regions. 

  • Zimbabwe 

Coffee grown in the Chipinge area is deeply aromatic, medium bodied and has a medium density. Over the past decade coffee-growing in Zimbabwe has been revitalised and is slowly starting to boom again. 

The continent of Africa boasts being one of the most inspirational coffee-producing spots in the world, presenting high quality coffee with an incredible variety. If its African coffee it is high quality and memorable. 

Why Your Colombian Coffee Tastes So Good

Why Your Colombian Coffee Tastes So Good

Columbian coffee has definite fruity and chocolatey notes with a hint of apples, red berries and caramel. The delightful flavours are a result of geography, climate and age-old traditions conspiring to bring some of the best coffee to enthusiasts from across the globe. Small wonder Colombian coffee is sought-after and a veritable powerhouse on the international coffee scene. 

Alongside Vietnam and Brazil, Colombia is believed to be one of the finest coffee regions in the world. Little can beat the delight of savouring an authentic Colombian brew. Colombian coffee boasts being well-balanced, rich and nutty with a full fruity flavour. 

But why is this coffee so special and why is the coffee from Colombia superior to many others? 

What You Probably Did Not Know About Colombian Coffee 

  • Colombia is a relatively small country that produces an incredible 15% of all the coffee in the world 
  • Colombia is the third-biggest coffee producer globally and exports over 14 million bags of coffee annually 
  • The most sought-after beans that hail from Colombia are Arabica beans 
  • The Arabica bean is known for its slight blueberry scent  
  • Arabica beans present a wide range of aromas ranging from tangy to sweet 
  • Colombia produces coffees such as the delightful Robusta which is jam-packed with caffeine and the delectable Burbón

The magic of Cuba might seem to be the reason for the stunning coffee produced here, but there is far more to it than meets the eye. Colombian coffee beans are grown in an excellent coffee-producing climate which boasts an optimal altitude. The harvesting is done through hand-picking processes passed down from one generation to the next. Some of the best coffee beans in the world are found in Colombia. 

Large coffee companies are taking a keen interest in Colombian coffee – it is therefore not surprising that the future of Colombian coffee is looking bright. 

The proximity of Colombia to the equator results in two harvest seasons per annum instead of one. Most coffee-producing countries throughout the world only have one coffee harvest a year. Colombia, therefore, can deliver coffee throughout the year. 

The rich volcanic soil is conducive to producing outstanding beans. The soil is jam-packed with excellent nutrients which is one of the main reasons why the beans produced are some of the best in the world. Because Colombian coffee is grown at around 1 200 to 1 800 meters above sea level, beans are of superior quality. 

The key coffee-producing areas in Colombia can be found in Medellín, Cali and Bogota. This area is commonly referred to as the Zona Cafetera, which, when translated, simply means the Coffee Belt. 

Colombia prides itself on its excellent coffee – small wonder because without question some of the world’s most memorable beans are grown here. 

Reading the Symbols on Your Bag of Coffee.

Reading the Symbols on Your Bag of Coffee.

South Africans are rapidly adapting to worldwide coffee drinking trends. South Africa is fast becoming a key player in the speciality coffee world, consuming more and more coffee daily. 

Have you ever wondered what all the symbols on your bag of coffee mean? The next time you are confused and not sure what type of coffee to buy, what flavour is best and where it originated from, then taking a couple of minutes to get to know what those interesting symbols on your Cuppa Joy will tell a complete story. 

The Information on Your Bag of Coffee is Quite Uniform – These Include 

  • The Fair Trade Symbol 
  • Roaster Name 
  • Tasting Notes 
  • Roast Level 
  • Variety 
  • Origin 
  • Processing Method 

All these symbols tell the story of your coffee in the bag and how it will taste. The official Fair Trade symbol is something that tells us that your coffee was sourced from ethical coffee producers. 

Read more about Cool Coffee Facts

What the Fair Trade Symbol Represents 

The Fair Trade on your bag of coffee means that the coffee produced has been audited and upholds Fair Trade standards in areas that adhere to the rights of workers and that the coffee is sourced sustainably. 

Fair Trade is the trading of companies in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers. Commodities such as wine, cocoa, coffee, cotton and spirits ensure child labour and unfair practices are not implemented in the production of these products. 

Fair Trade coffee is also sold at a price above the commodity selling price in which the prices usually fluctuate. 

What the Direct Trade Symbol Represents 

The Direct Trade symbol, unlike the Fair Trade Symbolis not a specific certification. This is an individual symbol that certain roasters add to their own branded coffees. 

The Direct Trade symbol is an indication that the roaster had purchased the coffee directly from the coffee producer and not from a middleman (an importer). 

What is Organic Coffee? 

Organic coffee has been grown without the use of pesticides or fertilisers. Organic coffee is grown and harvested the same way as your organic fruit and veg without the harmful application of unnatural chemicals and pesticides. 

The certification of pure organic produce is strict; therefore, organic coffee undergoes stringent certification steps. 

One of the specifications is that organic must be processed at an organic mill especially if the roasting companies are supplying both organic and inorganic coffee. 

What Does the Rainforest Alliance Symbol Represent? 

Other symbols found on your bag of coffee include UTZ (Rainforest Alliance) which means that sustainability is adhered to at farm level, with minimal damaged caused to the environment. 

For individuals that support fair trading practices, are against child labour and are aware of the effects that farming and deforestation have on the world, supporting Fair Trade products is a step towards making this a better world for all to enjoy. 

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