If you're going to spend a little more for better coffee in your office, make it an eco-trifecta: fair-trade certified, organic, and shade grown. Fair trade ensures workers make a living wage (and that their children go to school instead of picking beans). Ten years ago, coffee growers received 40% of the industry's income; today, they get only 16%. Organic is grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, assuring the health of the soil, farmers, and consumers. Growing coffee in the shade enhances flavor because shrubs mature more slowly than those grown in full sun, resulting in a smoother, less-bitter taste. It also reduces clear-cutting in rainforests, which protects migratory bird habitats. All of the companies listed below offer corporate programs.
+ three to grow on
Mother Earth Coffee Co.
Offers eco-trifecta coffee exclusively from El Salvador.
Jim's Organic Coffee
More than 35 eco-trifecta varieties (and operates as a "green" facility).
Dark-roast decaf tastes as good as regular coffee.
Purchasing one cup of coffee every day in a disposable container contributes about 23 pounds of waste per year.
Jennifer Boulden is the cofounder of Idealbite.com, a free daily email offering bite-sized ideas for "light green living."
A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.