The term ‘organic’ is tossed around so much these days that there is a rising skepticism as to what it really means. IDCoffee shares this skepticism. The term ‘organic’, with reference to coffee, is more than just not using chemicals in the cultivation and processing of the coffee, although these aspects are certainly vital. In the world of coffee production, the term ‘organic’, when properly applied, affects people’s lives. But first, what is organic?
Certified Organic coffee has passed a rigorous process of inspection. When a coffee farmer decides to go organic, he is committing to a 3-year process. During the 3 years, he is not using any chemical fertilizers, nor pesticides, nor herbicides. He is also being inspected by an international, (or national depending on the route he chooses to go), certification organization. IDCoffee utilizes Skal which is international, and extremely demanding. For more about organic certification, and genuinely organic products. As for how organic farming is affecting people’s lives in Indonesia, read on.
Organic coffee production provides a means by which families in Indonesia, who have been supporting themselves for several generations with coffee cultivation, can continue to do so. Organic coffee brings a higher price in the world market, and the current demand for organic coffee outstrips the supply. The world coffee market pays a very low price for a pound of coffee. This is a factor which does not in any way benefit the consumer. There has been no dip in coffee prices at grocery store shelves, nor in coffee houses. The current price that the worldwide coffee market offers for a pound of coffee is well below the cost of producing a pound of coffee in Indonesia. So, when a consumer specifies ‘organic’ in their coffee purchase, they are directly helping families in countries such as Indonesia.
IDCoffee has a payment policy that is more than double the going rate for a pound of coffee in Indonesia. Under their agreements, farmers actually are provided a means by which they can sustain their families.
OK, so that addresses the social aspect of ‘organic’. How about the environmental concerns? At our organic coffee site, you will see a pictorial tour of one of our Indonesian farms, and then see comparison photos with farms that utilize chemical fertilizers and herbicides. The difference will astound you. The difference between the two methods of coffee cultivation is, in a word: Life. The fields where the coffee is grown have life all around, allowing the natural balance of the life-sustaining environment to flourish. On the other hand, what is seen in fields where there is no natural balance, but, instead, the forced productivity of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, there is a notable absence of life.
Also, a truly fine, or ‘gourmet’ coffee, should be grown in the shade. This takes a bit longer for the bean to mature, but the results are well worth it. Another benefit is that the shade producing trees provide habitat for the birds.
So, to sum it up, the abundant life of a coffee field, the fact that there are no harmful chemicals washing down into rivers that run into the sea, and the habitat that is provided for the birds, all add up to a truly ‘earth friendly’ product.
There is a trend toward organic that is taking root all around the globe. IDCoffee is taking active steps to promote this trend by educating conventional farmers in the practices of organic coffee cultivation, and helping them to get through the lengthy transition process that is required to make the change from conventional to organic.