The key to a green coffee

We spoke to our members to see which three key questions help them get to the bottom of what exactly makes a sustainable cup of joe, as well their top sustainable coffee trend for 2019.


1) What’s the story behind this coffee?  

A sustainably sourced coffee should have traceability and a story! Your roaster should be able to tell you some of the story of the farmer. A stamp or certificate, minus the story simply doesn’t cut it in 2019.   

2) What about sustainable business practices closer to home?   

Sustainable sourcing is incredibly important. Less glamorous, but also important is how your coffee supplier runs their business. How efficient are their roasters? Do they use green energy? What about their emissions? What about their policies on recycling and coffee waste? A sustainable supplier will have answers to all these questions (and more!)     

3) How are you supporting your community?  

Coffee is a social glue, it connects people and can be a tremendous force for good. The most sustainable guys out there will also be working to support those in need right on their doorstep.   

Top Trend in Sustainable Coffee: A step closer to gender equality. In 2018 we started to see women in coffee recognised for the awesome work they do. This is a trend which will not only continue, but grow throughout 2019 (and hopefully become commonplace) not just for roasters and baristas but also for farmers too.   

My sustainability wish! ​Closed loop recycling. Compostable and recyclable solutions today are a long, long way from perfect. A lack of infrastructure facilities which can recycle / compost these materials mean the majority still end up in landfill. A breakthrough in this area would be a game changer!  



1) Is your coffee supplier able to be transparent in their coffee bean sourcing? 

It’s always good to know the groups/ farms your coffee supplier is buying from and how long these relationships have been in place 

2) How does your coffee supplier ensure the coffee they are buying is sustainably sourced?  

Do they use certifications? Is this supported with direct relationships with the coffee farming organisation? 

3.How is the coffee supplier supporting the wider sustainability agenda around coffee in their business? This may link to disposable coffee cups, female economic empowerment, climate change challenges in coffee origins 

Top Trend in Sustainable Coffee: Collaboration! The challenges being faced by the coffee industry are too large for us all to do it alone! We think the top trend will be collaboration as we all work to make this fabulous industry more sustainable for the future. 



1) “Traceability – who grew this coffee and where did they grow it, did they process it themselves?

Expected answer – Farmer name, Farm name, location, region, country. 

2) Price – what was the FOB price of this coffee and was this negotiated directly with the farmer or with their involvement? 

Expected answer – To guarantee a farmer is making profit, a price above $1.60/lb but more to ensure the health of the farm as a business. 

3) Quality – What is the green grading of this coffee and what is its cup score?

Expected answer – Zero primary defects and a cupping score above 84 points (SCAA) 

Top Trend in Sustainable Coffee: The price of commodity coffee, most certified coffees included, is currently crushing farmers and the economies of coffee growing countries. We are now in the second year of prices below the cost of production, which is resulting in lower and lower yields as well as a drop in global coffee quality. The CEO of the FNC has suggested Colombian coffee will be pulled from the market, as he attempts to guarantee a price of $1.58/lb for farmers to cover production plus a very small profit. This price is $0.18 above what Fairtrade guarantee to pay with other certifcation prices regularly falling below this. The current market price is $0.93/lb, Pact pay a minimum of $1.75/lb and average of $2.50/lb guaranteeing profitability on all farms we partner with, returning to these each year to continue the good work. 



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