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COFFEE CERTIFICATIONS

Along with the spread of the Second Wave of Coffee (Specialty Coffee) and especially the Third Wave (Craft Coffee), the practice of coffee certification has also emerged with the aim of improving the state of the ecosystem of the coffee sector. There are basically 4 parties involved in the coffee industry: Farmers, Producers, Consumers and Mother Nature with her Flora and Fauna. The purpose of certification is to provide all participating parties with guarantees of quality, safety and adequacy, which ultimately benefits the entire industry. For example, the Starbucks and Nestle Companies, which are involved in the production of coffee, taking care of the quality of the entire chain of the coffee production process, oblige the local government bodies and farmers to ensure the minimum wage rate of the employees in accordance with the standards of the given coffee-growing countries. The reason is that, traditionally, coffee plantations have used and still use the manual labor of the local extremely poor people, as well as minor children. As a result, they are paid very little, providing relatively cheap coffee. Thanks to the long-term and consistent efforts of the Big Companies, the picture is slowly changing for the better in recent years. Coffee is becoming a bit more expensive, but consumers are consciously supporting this initiative. This is a brilliant example of social and ecological responsibility.

Conventionally, Coffee Certificates can be divided into 3 (three) groups: Quality Certificates, Ecological Certificates and Social Certificates. And so, the following 6 (six) Certificates are currently being actively circulated:

Fair Trade Certified (Social Certificate): This prestigious certificate is widely used throughout the world, from Europe to Asia, from Africa to America. It is very difficult to get it, because the Organization providing the certificate must be sure that the Coffee Association of the given country buys coffee from small farms at an adequate price, which in turn pay their employees an adequate wage for the work done. This certification also ensures that no forced human labor takes place during the coffee growing and processing stages.

Bird Friendly (Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center) (Ecological Certification): Coffee is known to grow in very limited areas, mostly in high tropical mountains. Therefore, to make room for coffee plantations, large tracts of forest are often destroyed, destroying an entire biodiversity with them. Migratory songbirds are particularly affected by this situation. Therefore, since the 1990s, this Certificate has been designed to save unique forests, ensuring the normal life of migratory birds. Farmers are paid a higher price for coffee, on the condition that they do not expand their plantations at the expense of forests. Certification takes place once every 3 years.

Rainforest Alliance (Ecological Certificate): Like the previous Certificate, this one is also aimed at preserving the ecosystem. Since coffee grows exclusively in tropical forests and very often at their expense, and these forests are of critical importance in the global climate, the purpose of the Certificate is to preserve these forests and the biodiversity they contain.

USDA Organic (Certificate of Quality), this prestigious certification issued by the US Department of Agriculture to farms and producers, has a number of criteria, from the location and conditions of coffee cultivation to the processing and roasting stages. The purpose of the certification program is to guarantee the organic origin of the food, in this case coffee, which in particular implies that the coffee has not undergone genetic mutation and that no toxic pesticides were used during cultivation. Obtaining the certificate is quite complicated and expensive (about 2000 USD per year).

Kosher / Halal (Quality Certificates): Kosher and Halal are two different, but similar in meaning, Certificates. The first corresponds to the Jewish diet according to the requirements of the Torah, and the second corresponds to the Muslim diet according to the requirements of the Koran. Both are prestigious Certificates.

The awareness that by using reliable sources of coffee we contribute to the establishment of the entire coffee ecosystem gives a great sense of well-being.

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