January is always long, cold and miserable and the end is finally here. But if you’re like me, it’s taken a lot of coffee to get me through the last 26 days.
I am only recently a coffee convert, it turns out that I’d always hated coffee because I either drunk the terrible instant granules that my Nan lives on or bought coffee from cafes that burn their beans.
It wasn’t until I went to the Workshop Coffee Co. coffee bar in Holborn that I learned why so many people love coffee. Fresh organic beans, fresh fine grind, hot frothy milk and the perfect shaped cup. I started, as most people do, with a cappuccino; now, I’m a black coffee no milk, no sugar kind of girl.
Coffee can be one of the most and least sustainable consumer goods. Long has there been concern over the human cost of coffee, with workers on large production farms and smallholders often receiving less money for their product than it takes to produce it, causing a vicious circle of cost and debt. However, organisations such as Fairtrade have also been around for long time now and have significantly increased awareness of where your morning pick-me-up has come from. As a result, it’s easier than ever to choose sustainably.
My top high street coffee retailer is definitely Pret a Manger, their coffee is Fairtrade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance certified (it also tastes so much better than Costa or Starbucks). Pret are always striving to add value to their supply chain by embedding carbon and maintaining a high level of environmental stewardship. See how here.
For the supermarket sector, I’m a committed buyer of Taylors of Harrogate coffee, you may have seen their “Welcome to Coffee” TV advert which shows you a documentary-style journey of bean to blend. Sometimes these advertisements can be misleading and staged but Taylors put a lot of stock into being as environmentally and ethically friendly as possible. Taylors diligently ensure that they trade fairly and respectfully with their international coffee growers and by forming long-term relationships with their suppliers they can improve the stability and quality of life for the farmers and their communities as well as have a trusted source of high quality products.
If you’re partial to buying coffee from the multitude of artisanal, wooden-bench filled, quirky cafes you should visit Allpress Espresso Bar, there’s a couple dotted around London now as their roastery is in Dalston. Allpress roast their own coffee beans which they source from small coffee farmers, estates and co-ops that are sustainably managed with high standards of agricultural practice and specialise in high grade beans from around the world. They secure continual supply relationships with their farmers and respective communities to ensure quality is maintained and the purchasing is mutually beneficial.
With a Pret around every corner in London and aisles full of Taylors of Harrogate products it won’t be hard for you to choose sustainably, but if you’re out on the weekend and passing by hip little coffee shops, be bold and ask the baristas where their coffee comes from, test their knowledge on their product – if they’re good they’ll know.
And of course, please share your findings, there’s never too many coffee shops to try!