Coffee. Just the word alone evokes memories, thought, conversation and passion.
Howard Schultz opened up the first Starbucks store in 1987 in Seattle with a dream of combining espresso coffee drinks with cafes and ambiance. Since that first little store by the fish market, Starbucks has grown into a coffee empire and turned even non-coffee lovers into believers.
Many years later, coffee has become a phenomenon and new coffee chains and small intimate coffee cafes are opening daily.
This trend has also inspired a desire in consumers to understand the origins of their daily drink as the words organic, fair-trade, shade-grown, non-GMO, and yes, chemical-free, are appearing every day on labels.
Coffee grown worldwide can trace its heritage back centuries to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. There, legend says the goat herder Kaldi first discovered the potential of these beloved beans. The story goes that that Kaldi discovered coffee after he noticed his goats became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night after eating the berries from a certain tree. Kaldi reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery, who made a drink with the berries and found that it kept him alert through the long hours of evening prayer. The abbot shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and knowledge of the energizing berries began to spread. As word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula, it began a journey which would bring these beans across the globe (www.ncausa.org).
Back then, these beans would have automatically been organic, non-GMO, chemical-free, etc. as they were plucked directly from the plants and processed into the drink.
Today, consumers need awareness of the chemicals and pesticides that are used to “protect” the larger crops and what can end up in your cup. With knowledge, one can choose the beans they want to enjoy at home that are not only safe, but delicious.
Understandably the truly best coffee beans are at times also the most expensive and for daily coffee drinkers, that can be a factor. Thankfully because more informed consumers are desiring this type of specific coffee, there are many wonderful choices in different price ranges today.
Whole Foods, Sprouts and Natural Grocers carry many of the top organic, non-GMO, chemical-free coffees, and some consumers also prefer to buy their beans locally with Cartel, Echo and Lola being a few great options.
— Sara Lemons Vaules is the founder of Lemon and Light, which offers consulting, products and strategies for moving with ease into an organic, chemical-free lifestyle.