Throughout the world, coffee is the second most popularly traded item on the globe. Behind oil, it is the most sought after commodity on the open market, but as more people focus on health, organic coffee is quickly gaining for market share.
From the time, in about 800 AD a goat herder in Ethiopia watched his goats literally dance after eating red berries from a coffee bush until Brazil took the honor of having the largest coffee crop in about 1800, coffee was a blend held only for royalty and the elite. No one then cared how the bean was grown, or processed, nor was organic coffee thought to be important.
Today there are rules and regulations regarding all food items that purport to be grown with out chemicals of any kind, and this includes organic coffee. This becomes especially important where the crop is grown in mountainous regions where fertilizers and insecticides would become part of the lower watershed and water supply after rains.
Numerous companies today offer organic coffee, each seeking certification of its designation by following the rules spelled out in The Organic Food Production Act of 1990. This Act specifies procedures for growing organic coffee as well as continued testing of the companies plans to maintain certification.
Growing Fields Must Be Certified Organic
Not only must the growing and handling process be certified as organic, the fields in which a crop of organic coffee is planted must not have had any non-organic ingredients in it or on it for at least three years prior to the harvest. This would ensure that non-organic materials are not part of the growth.
Due to the requirements of the Act, as well as the long certification process, organic coffee is more costly than non-organic, but health conscious coffee drinkers insist the price is worth it as they are not consuming harmful artificial chemicals. Natural fertilizers, such as the outer bean shell and mulching from other trees provide a think top soil of nutrients for the bean plants.
Many coffee trees are grown in the shade to prevent the top soil from being bleached by the sun, keeping the nutrients in the soil to provide an organic coffee bean, which retains its flavor. The roasting process for most organic coffee growers and handlers is done without any artificial ingredients added, as well.
Most organic coffee purveyors insist growing coffee without artificial chemicals instills the natural flavor of the bean and provides a healthier drink to consumers.