Ethical. Seven letters with a lot of weight. And what does it mean for coffee? What is ethical coffee?
Ethical Coffee: what does it actually mean?
Ethical is a tricky term to define, but its definition is twofold when it relates to coffee. Firstly, ethically sourced coffee is kind to the people who produce it. Fair prices, equal pay, and supportive partnerships are all top of the list for an ethical coffee company like Two Chimps.
The second part is sustainability. Ethical coffee needs to protect the planet, and its roasters (that’s us) must go above and beyond to reduce their impact on the environment.
Ethical consumerism is on everyone’s lips right now. So, let’s dive in and ask the important question: what does ethically sourced coffee mean?
Always paying a fair price
‘Fair price’ is, like ‘ethical’, a tricky term to iron out. What is fair? Technically, every Fairtrade coffee is purchased fairly, but is this good enough?
You won’t see the Fairtrade logo stamped on our coffees because it’s not a certification we look out for when selecting our speciality beans. Organisations like Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance have their place, but also their problems. That’s why we go beyond the minimum prices set by Fairtrade and pay between 30 and 150% more for our arabica beans. Fairtrade has its merits but when it comes to ethical coffee, we’d always recommend going for speciality.
Working closely with ethical coffee importers also helps us pay more – and make sure more of the money goes to the place it should. We source as directly as possible through coffee importers that care about the coffee’s journey and build lasting partnerships with the coffee farmers. The importers operate a fixed price minimum and purchase outright. This helps to avoid unstable coffee prices, which can impact everything from healthcare to education and food in the countries where your coffee is grown. Keeping the supply chain short means your beans (and the farmer’s money) doesn’t change hands countless times. Plus, it helps us to maintain full traceability on all our coffees.
Buying from real people
We never recommend bulk buying coffee to drink at home (this means you end up drinking stale coffee), and don’t purchase and store huge loads of coffee ourselves. Instead, we source seasonally from individual farmers, single estates and coffee associations. This helps us to understand each coffee to its DNA – right down to the weather conditions in the area where it was grown – and tailor our roast accordingly.
More importantly, sourcing from small farms allows us to support real people. Take our medium/dark roast coffee, Roller Disco Donkey. These speciality beans are grown by Martha and Ana Albir in the Nueva Segovia area of Nicaragua, Central America. The sisters own an eight-hectare farm and operate a dry mill, which allows them to process their coffee and offer employment to locals. They continue to develop their technique and invested in a greenhouse last year. This will enable them to grow more experimental coffees in the years ahead – we can’t wait!
Climate positive coffee from an ethical coffee company
Sustainability is the second pea in the ethical pod, and it’s something we take very seriously. We have a laugh and like to keep things light-hearted, but we also know that the planet needs to be priority. That’s why we partnered with Ecologi to become a climate-positive roastery. By supporting tree-planting schemes and other carbon-reducing projects, we offset all our carbon emissions. So take a sip of your lovely Two Chimps cup, because its polluting emissions have all been offset! Wahoo!
Keeping things green in the growing process
We’re not going to sugar-coat it: coffee farming requires a lot of land and resources. However, our coffee importers all make sustainable choices when selecting coffees. We also try to include some organically certified coffees in our range to give you more options when it comes to choosing an ethical brew.
Organic coffee can be a great choice for those wanting a planet-caring cup. Organic farmers grow without the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides or growth regulators. They use synthetic-free processes like crop rotation as well as natural pest control methods and organic fertilisers. What’s more, many organic coffees help to prevent deforestation. This is actually a happy accident. The absence of chemicals means that the ground would quickly become scorched by the sun if it were not protected by tall, shady trees. So, while the pace of commodity coffee growing is sped up by sun growing (a death sentence for tall trees), organic coffee helps to protect biodiversity in coffee growing countries.
Get impossibly tasty coffee from an ethical roastery – head to our shop!