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This post is a valuable rainforest coffee guide. Accordingly, it speaks to the taste and sustainable impact of the product in people’s everyday lives. But before we talk about where you can buy your favorite rainforest brew. Or list off some cool brands. I want to talk about why buying rainforest coffee is so great.
There are problems in the world today. A lot of them. Problems that, unfortunately, overlap with one another. Climate change and lasting poverty are such problems. Sadly, people who live in less developed regions lack the resources to defend themselves adequately against climate change.
An unnaturally changing climate results in adverse weather conditions. For example, think of people who live along the coast. A storm at sea will raise water levels and cause powerful, foaming waves that bash and break rock from the coastline. This process is coastal erosion. So, people in coastal areas build defensive structures like sea walls to prevent such erosion. Regrettably, it’s hard to build a sea wall without any money, materials, or access to skilled people.
After all, you’re not going to have time to build a sea wall if you can hardly afford to live. The director of the environment technical support unit at Mercy Corps, Eliot Levine, has said:
Climate change is going to amplify the already existing divide between those who have resources and those who do not”
So, where does coffee fit into all of this? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
Rainforest Coffee Guide & Wicked Problems
A wicked problem is an issue that threatens human life deemed almost impossible to solve. Unsurprisingly, there’s always a large number of people involved leaving great difficulty in implementing solutions. Consequently, motivation, trust, and willingness to help are all substantial stumbling blocks.
Rainforest coffee helps by combatting wicked problems. As a result, farmers, the environment, and their communities benefit from rainforest coffee. Since protection and proper treatment are what the rainforest alliance seal symbolizes. You’ll know that farmers practiced sustainable methods of agriculture to harvest your coffee and pass it along the global supply chain.
In short, rainforest coffee treats people and the natural world with respect. Meaning how you choose to enjoy your cup of coffee can change the world. In a small way, of course.
Rainforest Alliance Makes This Rainforest Coffee Guide Worthwhile
The rainforest alliance is a not for profit company seeking to enact positive social change while leveraging the market to achieve lasting sustainability. Hence, the company does this by educating its incumbents and followers on how to live more sustainably.
That sounds like a heavy load to carry, and few could argue that it’s anything but. The not for profit seeks to protect the environment from wicked problems such as deforestation, climate change, and human rights abuses. The latter by ensuring coffee farmers and their employees have access to proper medical care, compensation for their labor, and adequate housing facilities.
Partnering with farmers and forest communities, companies, governments, supporters, and other such relevant bodies, the Rainforest Alliance spans 70 countries around the globe.
The company focuses on four primary impact areas to achieve significant change:
- Forest and biodiversity
- Rural livelihoods
- Human rights
Each impact area is hugely important to the success of the Rainforest Alliance. Indeed, ecosystems make up the world. Every single living organism present within an ecosystem has a massive role in maintaining the health of that system.
To illustrate, take sand on a beach. Removing sand will erode the beach. There’s nothing left to absorb the power of the waves. Sand mining has many more ill effects too. Even so, raising awareness of sand mining can prevent the behavior. Maldives inhabitants are a fine example of such.
So what does that mean?
Well, it highlights the need to solve the problem of human rights exploitation and nature conservation on multiple fronts, which explains the Rainforest Alliance’s multi-faceted social interventions designed to respect the interconnectedness and feedback loops of the problems they face.
For example, farmers in Brazil’s Amazon Basic are continuously clearing trees to begin working the land. Next, the soil becomes exposed. Secondly, leaching occurs where soil nutrients wash down to lower layers.
That’s problematic for farmers because the top layers of soil in the Amazon (topsoil) hold all the nutrients needed for agriculture. Courtesy of soil particle size and the geography of the landscape. Leaching over several years results in the soil becoming unproductive. Eventually, farmers then cut down more of the forest, but the same thing happens again.
Do You See a Pattern Here?
Educating farmers on why their agriculture is failing will improve their livelihoods while also allowing the Amazon basin’s ecosystem to thrive. Accordingly, respecting human encroachment’s effect on the environment starts by understanding why humans are encroaching and what we can do to help people opt for sustainable forms of farming and industry.
That’s what rainforest coffee represents, and the Rainforest Alliance does.
The Rainforest Alliance offers certifications in sustainable business practices. Meaning, businesses must prove their devotion to environmental, social, and economic practices which align with the not-for-profit’s goals. Hence, audits and reviews ensure compliance.
Landscape management is an approach the rainforest alliance uses to stop climate degradation and the exploitation of people. Further, this approach recognizes that we must treat people with respect at scale, whether micro, meso, or macro stakeholders. Thus, that entails putting people first in places such as the Amazon Basin and other rural communities by recognizing they rely on agriculture to live.
The group also acts as advocates and catalysts for positive change by calling on companies and governments to take action and support rural products attempting to farm sustainably. Likewise, they advocate for the end of human rights abuses and fair pay.
Finally, the Rainforest Alliance helps groups solve any issues they might have regarding the global supply chain.
- Companies learn to assess risk effectively.
- Use best practice guidance frameworks.
- Perform field-based evaluation to make sure everything is sustainable.
Rainforest Coffee Guide – Buying Starts With the Seal
If you want to buy rainforest coffee, you best be looking out for the Rainforest Alliance seal of approval. So the seal is symbolic of the fantastic work the rainforest alliance does.
The rainforest alliance seal communicates the product is fair. Its production is ethical. It’s making the world a more sustainable and fairer place to live because it represents the environment. And the idea of shared responsibility to treat everyone decently and equitably.
The little frog represents the compassion producers have for the environment, people, and economy. Frogs are bioindicators. Bioindicators help scientists screen the health of an environment and analyze the biogeographic changes taking place therein. Hence the rainforest alliance chose the frog.
A healthy population of frogs indicates that an ecosystem is thriving—ecosystems form in balance. Small changes can have hugely detrimental effects. So it’s only fitting that the rainforest alliance has a logo that encapsulates that fact.
The frog represents the protection of nature and people in the following areas:
- Rainforest products
- Forestry products
- Tourism businesses
Rainforest Coffee Guide: Why You Should Buy Rainforest Coffee
Inspiring relief work occurs worldwide in places affected by poverty, deforestation, climate change, and social injustice. Now, let’s take a look at some of the stats behind the Rainforest Alliance’s work.
Known for its savannahs, East Africa is also home to fertile areas of tropical rainforest, including a portion of the Congo rainforest. But, rural communities within East Africa face more and more adverse weather conditions and deforestation due to intensive agriculture. The alliance is working with local communities to help restore the balance between tea and coffee farming to protect the surrounding forest. The economic health of people living in adversely affected regions is crucial to conserving forestry, as we spoke about previously.
- Workers on certified Kenyan tea farms earn roughly 50% more per kg of unplucked tea than their non-certified counterparts.
The Not for Profit is doing superb work in Asia, protecting the continent’s incredibly diverse climate and ethnic groups. Work in the region provides better living conditions for people and prevents environmental degradation.
- Certified tea estates have better working conditions where women are two times more likely to access maternity leave.
- Kalimantan Indonesia saw a 31% decrease in air pollution while deforestation decreased by 5%
West & Central Africa
Rainforest Alliance is doing admirable work on the West & Central African continent. It’s hugely influential considering that 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa. Climate change is worryingly making growing this crop more challenging.
- The Rainforest Alliance is working with cocoa farmers in the last remaining rainforest in Cameroon to protect the ecosystem while helping local farmers increase their incomes.
- Cameroon is a Central African country as defined by the UN subregion. The alliance is working with CFEs across the south in forest communities near CampoMa’an National Park and near the Dja Biosphere Reserve.
- The work in Cameroon is integral to protecting biodiversity by preventing the extinction of endangered animals such as the low-land guerilla.
The Amazon rainforest is in South America, and as you might expect, it’s pretty big.
The natural behemoth spans nine south American countries covering an impressive 7 million squared kilometres (2.7million squared miles). An incredible fact about the Amazon is that 20% of the earth’s freshwater supply originates within its basin. The deep tropical forest is also home to a staggering 120 indigenous groups, and many believe the Amazon to be largely unexplored.
Global climate stability relies on the rainforest. We source many of the ingredients needed to make medicine from the rainforest.
Here’s what the Rainforest Alliance is doing to conserve the natural wonder and protect those who call it home:
- Communities in Madre de Dios, Peru, raised 31 million US dollars while working with the rainforest alliance.
- A whopping 18 million acres of land is under sustainable management in South America.
Mexico and Central America
It’s pleasing to hear that the alliance’s work in Mexico and Central America has been and continues to be fruitful. It’s removing the equivalent of 27,000 cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions. Achievable through reforestation in places such as Oaxaca, Mexico.
I found it tremendously impressive that almost 13,000 students have taken courses on environmental sustainability in Guatemala and Mexico. Awareness is crucial to realizing change, but I liked that local support networks actively enable educators to train people about ecological friendliness beyond that.
Rainforest Coffee Guide – Where You Can Buy Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee
The Rainforest Alliance website contains a page dedicated to providing certified coffee suppliers working for positive change.
Rainforest Coffee Guide | Alliance Coffee Brands to Note
In this section, I’ll be talking about brands that meet the rigorous rainforest alliance standards for producing coffee sustainably.
This brand provides coffee with the, not for profit company’s seal of approval. So, it’s available in the US. The coffee roaster and distributor is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the US. Community coffee is a family-owned company with over 850 employees.
Our next rainforest alliance coffee brand is Don Café. Also, this supplier is solely available in Brazil. Don Cafe is a “gourmet line that comes from the Octavio Café brand”. The brand prides itself on creating high-quality coffee that stands out from the competition.
Emmi is available in a considerable number of countries globally. This Swiss company is the market leader in milk processing in its native country. Emmi group boasts a coffee range as part of a long line of products. Making the brand the largest so far, with subsidiaries in 14 different countries.
This coffee shop specializes in the sale of coffee and other such related offerings. Located in the Cerrado Mineiro region of Brazil, the brand ships all over Brazil. Read more about the company.
Asda is a supermarket chain that operates in the United Kingdom. So the franchise sells coffee, tea, and chocolate products that have been certified by the Rainforest Alliance. You can buy the coffee here.
This coffee brand is available in a host of European, Middle Eastern, and South American countries. This brand produces 100% natural espresso. Here’s a link to check out its products and website.
Alcafé is a coffee brand based in Ireland and the United Kingdom. As far as I know, Aldi distributes Alcafé coffee. So the German supermarket franchise is popular in both countries.
Costa coffee is popular here in Ireland, and I’m about to grab one of their Americanos!
Rainforest Alliance Agriculture Certification Standards PDF
Learn more about how the Rainforest Alliance grants certification. Look through this PDF document. To meet the “Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard Farm Requirements”, a farmer must undergo a strict sequence of auditing.
The document creates an in-depth framework that producers can use to make a meaningful impact at scale. This includes not only local communities but also the larger global supply chain. Producers must meet best practice guidance as pertains to Farm:
- Income and Shared Responsibility
It’s worth a quick read if you’re interested in some practical insight.
Is Rainforest Coffee Worth Buying?
I hope that reading my rainforest coffee guide was helpful. I wanted to hammer home the point that this product is worth buying. You can find brands that offer rainforest coffee through the rainforest alliance certified brands page.
Buying rainforest coffee supports rural communities in areas that are less than financially sound. A percentage of your purchase goes to farmers and people in these areas to give them a better life while also protecting the environment. It’s a small sum of money that makes a huge difference.
On top of that, rainforest coffee tastes great! If you want to get behind an organization that doesn’t just raise awareness but provides solutions by addressing the root cause of problems, the Rainforest Alliance is a coffee brand worth buying from.