Klooker is here to independently support you in your quest to replace 'regular' products by ethical, sustainable ones.
Interested in our coffee story (by our Klookerite Alex Cuschieri), please continue reading. All bold and italic words are links with background information.
Spilling the beans on the coffee unjust.
Feels like we've (cacoa) bean here before?
What is the first thing you do when you wake up? For most people it's grab a cup of coffee. If this is you, you're not alone...
In the UK around 70 million cups of coffee are drunk every day. Two thirds of which are bought from coffee shops, that’s over 46 million cups.
Let's assume the average coffee from your favorite high street café is £2.50, that’s £115 million daily in coffee sales across the country... and that’s before any instant or coffee pod/sachet sales from supermarkets etc.
This gives you an insight to just how valuable coffee really is. Cocoa and coffee beans not only have bitterness in taste but much like in our previous article (The Dark Side of Chocolate) the roots to the coffee industry get bitterly dirty too the deeper you dig.
We've already seen how valuable coffee can be, and with the average amount of cups being drunk worldwide passing 2 billion daily, it is frustrating to see the same story unfolding once again. A story of suffering, injustices, downright disregard to fellow humans. Unfortunately, this story is worlds apart from a novel read over a warm cup in a café. This is real.
Growing coffee beans -much like cocoa- happens mainly in poverty stricken, developing countries.
The growers receive disproportionately low percentages of what the coffee is worth, whilst the large corporations once again come up trumps making millions daily from the hard grind of the less fortunate (luckily, Fairtrade coffee can make a difference).
Coffee bean farming also has devastating effects on the environment with deforestation and soil erosion being two major problems.
In addition to this is the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers used mainly on sun grown crops – where the surrounding forests have been removed to increase yields.
Sun grown coffee requires a lot more treatment using harmful substances in the absence of organic fertilisers from the leaves of the original surrounding forests, along with being heavily linked to deforestation and poor working conditions.
This, again, shows a blatant disregard to the surrounding wildlife and human culture.
Shade grown coffee, or 'bird-friendly' coffee, brings lower yields, hence being less desirable to the larger companies - however, it does have less of an impact on surrounding wildlife and little to no health implications to locals and their environment.
So whilst grabbing a coffee is a regular and enjoyable part to most of our days, it is more often than not having negatively life changing impacts on others across the globe.
Does your caramel macchiato still taste as sweet?
It can. Just switch up using the large corporate companies whose main aim is to line their pockets, for companies like North Star Roast, Berry Bean, Cafeology, RSBP, Equal Exchange andBird & Wild who support the growth of Organic, Fairtrade, and shade-grown (or 'bird-friendly') coffee beans.
We should all be on the lookout for shade-grown, Fairtrade and Organic coffee from traditional farms where possible; it is a far fairer and more sustainable way to consume the warm, comforting beverage we have integrated into our daily lives.