NuRange And the ethical sourcing of coffee beans
Here at NuRange we take pride in the effort we’ve gone through to find our coffee beans. We looked at species, flavor profile, price, and region when sourcing the raw materials for our cold brew coffee. But it was of equal importance to consider the ethical sourcing of coffee beans. For us “ethically sourced” means two main things: that our coffee farmers are compensated fairly for their work, and that their farming practices are environmentally sustainable. It is important that our coffee tastes good, but also doesn’t adversely affect the land it was grown on or exploits the people who grow it. We’re proud that all of our beans are Fair Trade, Single Origin, Non GMO, and Organic. Let’s dive into what each of these mean.
For The People
Fair Trade: It is well known that the coffee farming industry is incredibly complex. Coffee farming is extremely hard work. Most coffee growing regions in the world are located in developing countries throughout Central America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Additionally, coffee is a luxury item and subject to volatile pricing per pound. Often this leads to coffee farmers being treated poorly, exploited, and undercompensated.
At NuRange Coffee, our beans are Fair Trade Certified. This means that we pay a pre-established minimum price per pound to the farmer to protect them from the volatility of prices in the coffee market. This negotiated rate is typically higher than market value, so farmers are receiving the best price for their coffee. A $0.20 cent premium is built in to each pound to be allocated to a community development fund. Our money is going directly to schools, infrastructure, and healthcare in the community we’re buying coffee from.
Single Origin: We chose single origin beans for two reasons. First, is to ensure consistency in the beans. This way each coffee we produce maintains a standard of flavor and taste in each can. Second, is so that we can ensure that we’re improving a specific community. Single Origin means that the beans are all grown in the same geographical region. In our case, it also means that the beans are grown by a number of local farms, which then form a cooperative to represent their collective business interests. By combining their inventories, these farmers are able to leverage themselves against the bigger commercial coffee producers and importers. It is a “power in numbers” scenario. Small farms are able to maintain their small-farm feel and practices, but operate as a much larger business entity.
For The Planet
Organic: Organic farming is much more than just a trendy buzzword. It is a real certification established by the federal government. Organic certified farms are inspected by government-accredited personnel, and are held to incredibly high standards. Coffee farms that are certified organic must do three specific things. Use no synthetic pesticides; have a plan established to prevent erosion, and must be farmed far enough away from non-organic products so that there is no cross-contamination.
Synthetic pesticides can have extremely adverse affects. On the land it is farmed on, the local wildlife, and the coffee drinkers. Coffee farming often requires terra-forming. This means that farmers must cut down trees and plow the land to make it farmable. This can cause erosion; ruining the same land they farm. Our organic farmers are not contributing to these issues, instead making an effort to prevent them.
Non-GMO: This one is pretty self-explanatory. By not using GMO products, we are not using genetically modified beans. GMO coffee plants may produce higher yields to the farmer. However, they also carry with them health risks to both the consumer and the environment. Farming with natural coffee beans is more expensive. But it avoids unnecessary risk and processing methods.
Bonus Points: Our beans are hand-washed and sun-dried! Exciting right? Well, it’s much better than the more cost-effective alternative. By hand washing our beans, our farmers have chosen to leave out treating the beans with harsh sterilization chemicals. Rather than drying them in an automatic tumbler, the beans dry naturally without the aid of the machine. These are small details that make a huge difference in the coffee industry. We’ve made a conscious effort to select farmers who avoid harsh and unnecessary processing methods.
Clearly we hold our coffee farmers to a very high standard here at NuRange Coffee. When it came down to it, the ethical sourcing of coffee beans was a no brainer for us. It might cost a little more, but it’s important to do right by both the farmer and the Earth. By focusing on the people behind the coffee, this has become a much more rewarding experience for us. Plus, the coffee tastes pretty damn good.
In a future post, we’ll discuss the other reasoning behind the specific beans we chose. While the ethical side of things is important, there’s the taste of the coffee to consider as well! We’ll cover region, flavor notes, and roasting profile. If you’re looking for a teaser, check out our About Us page. Blog coming soon!