Sustainable Coffee Practices among Coffee Distributors

Nick Mirev
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    Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. However, the coffee plant needs a very specific climate to grow. That’s why the supply of coffee is limited by the regions of the world where it can be grown. This has led to coffee farmers and corporations resorting to unsustainable practices when growing the precious coffee plant. These include deforestation, high water consumption, and forced labor. In recent decades, one of the most popular coffee trends has been related to growing and marketing of sustainable coffee. Producers and coffee distribution businesses aim to introduce eco-friendly policies to the industry. The demand is also shifting towards this trend. A growing number of people are searching for sustainable coffee blends and prefer to buy products from local roasters rather than large brands. In this article, we’ll share more about the sustainable coffee practices that distributors and other businesses in the sector incorporate.

    Key takeaway: Although sustainable coffee is sometimes more expensive compared to regular coffee, there is a growing demand for sustainably grown products. That’s why distributors, coffee shops, the best coffee roasters, and other businesses should focus on introducing eco-friendly policies and offering sustainable coffee products products.
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    What Is Sustainable Coffee

    The only difference between sustainable coffee and regular coffee is that the former is grown using sustainable policies. They are related to organic growth, limited usage of pesticides and GMOs, fair trade, limited usage of water, reduced deforestation, and other policies.

    In recent years, sustainability has been widely used in coffee marketing. That’s because a growing number of consumers in the Western world are actively trying to reduce their ecological footprint. This has led to the development of various new products like biodegradable coffee cups.

    Sustainable Coffee Practices for Coffee Distributors

    Distributors of wholesale coffee beans and other coffee-related products play a crucial role in the supply chain of this niche market. As such, there’s a lot they can do in order to make their business more eco-friendly and to push up sustainable coffee products. Here are some of the ways coffee wholesalers can do so.

    1. Work with certified producers. By sourcing coffee from certified coffee farms, it is guaranteed that these producers follow the latest standards in the field of sustainable coffee. Some of the common certifications include Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and UTZ. Different certifications focus on different sustainability aspects. Some are related to limiting deforestation while others establish social standards like fair wages.
    2. Reduce packaging waste. Minimizing packaging waste has been a global trend. It can be achieved through using compostable or degradable types of packaging.
    3. Be energy efficient. Investing in renewable energy sources is a good example of an eco-friendly policy that most businesses can integrate. Although energy is mostly associated with electricity, it’s also needed for transportation. That’s why distributors of sustainable coffee can optimize logistics and use efficient vehicles in order to reduce their ecological footprint.
    4. Educate consumers and help the local community. Distributors should do their part in educating consumers about the benefits of purchasing and drinking sustainable coffee. That includes advocating for regulations and policies on the matter, collaborating with government agencies and industry associations, and creating long-term positive effects for coffee-farming communities. 
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    Sustainable Coffee Practices for Coffee Shops

    There’s a lot that business owners of coffee shops can do in terms of eco-friendly policies. Even small changes can have a compounding effect in the future. One of the main reasons why these businesses should focus on sustainability is that it helps educate their customers and shows their commitment to a greener way of life and business. Let’s see some examples of sustainable coffee shop practices.

    1. Buy in bulk. Purchasing large quantities of coffee and other products is an easy sustainable policy that most businesses use. It also means getting lower prices per unit. Wholesalers can also provide a variety of tools like coffee roasting software or eCommerce ordering that streamline processes for both parties.
    2. Consider direct trade. Trading directly with coffee farmers has become popular in recent years. By removing intermediaries, it’s guaranteed that producers get better profit and this helps improve coffee-farming communities. The main disadvantage is that producers usually offer a limited number of coffee beans. On the other hand, wholesalers offer various sustainable coffee products from around the world and trendy items like CBD coffee or high-quality specialty coffee.
    3. Offer plant-based milk alternatives. A growing number of coffee enthusiasts like their favorite beverage with alternative milk products like almond milk or coconut milk. These products are suitable for making delicious seasonal coffee drinks and coffee classics like cappuccino, latte, or macchiato.

    Sustainable Coffee Practices for Households

    Most people enjoy their coffee early in the morning from the comfort of their homes. As such, households and individuals make up the majority of retail coffee sales. Checking the labels is an easy way for people to make sure the coffee they consume is sustainable. Coffee blends that follow sustainability standards are eligible to display their logos on the packaging. This makes it easy for consumers to choose a sustainable coffee product. The brewing method also plays a big role. Generally speaking, coffee pods, capsules, and filters are considered less eco-friendly than methods such as an espresso machine or a French press. 

    Coffee can also be used as compost. Used coffee grounds can be used as a fertilizer as coffee is rich in nitrogen, helps aerate the compost mixture, and can improve the drainage structure. Furthermore, it can be used as a natural and organic pesticide and insecticide. 

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Sustainable Coffee Policies

    With the help of BlueCart, wholesale businesses in the coffee industry can optimize various processes and improve their relationships with customers. Besides our reliable SaaS solutions, we also help businesses with useful insights. You can check out the answers to some popular questions regarding sustainable coffee below.

    What Is the Most Sustainable Coffee Brewing Method?

    Using a French press is considered to be the most sustainable coffee brewing method. Products like coffee pods and filters are often non-recyclable and end up in landfills. Bean-to-cup coffee machines are also a sustainable option. However, their main disadvantage is that they come at a much higher price compared to a traditional French press.

    In addition to being an eco-friendly way to brew coffee, this method is also among the preferred ways to brew specialty coffee. It uses a medium-coarse grind and can be used to extract the flavors of the highest coffee grades.

    Which Coffee Is Most Ethical?

    There are various certifications that are associated with ethical coffee growing practices. One of the most recognized is The Fairtrade Mark. Coffee products with this certification are grown in a way that supports farmers and their communities. Furthermore, these sustainable coffee products also protect the environment. The Fairtrade Mark shows that the coffee is grown without the usage of exploitative labor or discriminatory employment practices. The standards also ban the use of GMO seeds and dangerous pesticides. They incentivize organic farming and encourage eco-friendly cultivation.

    Can Coffee Condiments Be More Sustainable?

    Yes. Even though traditional coffee condiments like sugar and creamer come in single-serve packets, restaurants and coffee shops can work towards offering sustainable coffee condiments. The easiest way to do so is by purchasing bulk sugar, creamer, cinnamon, syrup, and other coffee condiments. These products can be poured into different containers and placed on a condiment station in the coffee shop. That will also result in cost cuts thanks to wholesale prices. In addition to condiments, the coffee shop inventory can also be part of the sustainable coffee policies. Businesses in this sector should invest in reusable tools like mugs and spoons and biodegradable to-go cups.

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