“Coffee Conscience”: Third Party Green Coffee Certification
In recent years consumers, roasters, and growers of coffee have given increased attention to the larger dynamic of the coffee economy, focusing on the effects of coffee production on the environment, human and animal health, as well as the rural and often fragile farm economies where coffee is grown. During the past 25 years Old City Coffee has been instrumental in bringing greater Philadelphia coffee drinkers high quality Arabica coffee, and is now again at the forefront of providing a troika of specialty coffees: Organic, Shade Grown (Bird Friendly), and Fair Trade. In addition to Old City Coffee’s in-house expertise in selecting fine Arabica coffees to roast, some of our coffees receive certification credentials from third party organizations, which can provide additional assurance of a coffee’s integrity and quality. We are listing the certifications as a guide in helping you make informed coffee purchasing choices. We caution however that organic, shade grown, or fair trade certification is not a measure of a coffee’s taste. While it is reassuring that many great tasting coffees are produced with certified eco-friendly methods, great tasting coffees can also be grown on large commercial non-organic or “sun” farms. Additionally, there are many coffees grown with organic and traditional shade methods that we highly recommend but are not certified as such. Old City Coffee’s retail displays are clearly labeled.
UTZ Certified Coffee
UTZ Certified is a program and a label for sustainable farming. The UTZ Certified label is featured on more than 10,000 different product packages in over 116 countries. As of 2014, UTZ Certified is the largest program for sustainable farming of coffee and cocoa in the world. The UTZ Certified program covers good agricultural practices, farm management, social and living conditions, and the environment.
Old City Coffee is proud that many of our coffees including Old City Blend, French Roast, and coffee capsules (K-cup compatible) are UTZ certified coffee!
FLO: Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International
FLO is one of the biggest international social economic certification bodies worldwide. It regularly inspects and certifies about 350 producer organizations in over 45 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, embracing around 800,000 families of farmers and workers. www.fairtrade.net
Organic Crop Improvement Association
OCIA is a farmer-based “grass-roots” organization and is committed to a demonstrably independent and neutral third party verification system. The certification mechanism insures that certified members adhere to a unified set of stringent production and handling standards, backed up by an audit trail through which a product can be traced from the final consumer, back to the farmer and field. The ongoing crop improvement activities of the local chapters work to provide not only organic compliance monitoring but also educational and technical assistance to farmers for crop improvement.
Old City Coffee is certified by Rabbi Amiel B.Novoseller. (Non Passover ) Please see attached certificate at bottom of this page for additional information.
When available Sierra Madre Occidential, Mexico Hacienda Miravalles is certified Kosher and free of forbidden substances at the country of origin by the Chabad of Guadalajara directed by Rabbi Abraham Srugo. This comes up as a weekly special offering from time to time.
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center Bird Friendly
This certification takes the label “shade grown” one step further. Although shade grown or “shade coffee” in practical terms can mean one and the same thing as bird friendly, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center set forth a set of criteria for “SMBC Bird Friendly” coffee based on 12 years of Neotropical study of domestic and migratory birds.
The criteria for Bird Friendly coffee were designed to save domestic and migratory birds by reducing their loss of habitat due to cutting of shade trees. The SMBC recognized the need to preserve the forest shade canopy with traditional coffee trees that require shade and provide habitat for migratory birds. SMBC Bird Friendly certification is accompanied by annual third party inspections, which examine for the percentage of shade trees, plant diversification, and accommodating habitat for birds.
For more than ten years Rainforest Alliance has been committed to implementing practical, measurable, science-based standards for sustainable crop production throughout Latin America. Aspects of this sustainable solution include:
- Conduct ecological, social and industry research.
- Develop practical, concrete and measurable guidelines for reduced impact farming.
- Provide environmental education to farm managers, workers and their families.
- Provide a forum for community input on the impacts of agriculture.
- Reward growers who meet the socio-environmental standards by encouraging consumer demand for certified products.
The protection of ecosystems, people, and wildlife is done through certifying farms that meet criteria for balancing environmental, social, and economic considerations. While not strictly organic, certification requires the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which carefully controlls the use of agrochemicals and requires their use to be limited and diminishing. This allows the potential destruction of a coffee by pests to be balanced by the needs of the people who depend on that harvest. The Rainforest Alliance has over 25,000 members and supporters worldwide, with an annual budget of $8.8 million.
Old City Coffee’s shade grown Costa Rica is one of the very few Rainforest Alliance certified coffees available.
Coffee from India at Old City Coffee
India offers one of the world’s most diverse and best cupping coffee selections, with over 25 different varietals harvested yearly. Shade-grown in the evergreen forests at the foot of the Arabian Sea, these beans produce brews that are spicy and mellow, with full body and aroma. Until recently, coffee from India has been a rare find on the U.S. market. Old City Coffee enthusiastically carries the coffee from independent coffee growers operating in the southern state of Karnataka because of the traditional growing methods and cultivars used along with ethical state regulated environmental and labor conditions. Bollywood Blend includes a healthy amount of India Plantation A in the recipe.
Within the United States:
The Departamento de Agricultura in Santurce, PR supervises the production of coffee in Puerto Rico. Our Yauco Selecto is certified!
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture enforces green coffee quality and species standards and certifies the Island and plantation origin from within The State of Hawaii. All of our Kona, Maui, Kauai coffee is stamped and certified by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.