Quality Assurance International (QAI) Organic Certification
Caffe Ibis® has the most extensive line of triple certified organic coffee, double certified organic coffee, and single certified organic coffee offering Quality Assurance International (QAI) organic certification. QAI’s rigorous organic certification process, which includes annual on-site inspections, ensures our facility is in compliance with USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) organic standards and is reflected on each bag of Caffe Ibis® certified organic coffee with QAI’s seal.
It is commonly recognized that organically grown coffee is the most important criteria for sustainable agriculture. Since the widespread introduction of herbicides, pesticides, and artificial fertilizers in the 50s, there has been a need to increase use of toxins to keep up production levels. The current levels of toxin use are up over ten times what it was during the first introduction. Clearly, this form of agriculture is not sustainable. All other forms of life on the plantation have been sacrificed at the altar of this toxic green revolution. The men, women and children forced out of economic necessity to work on these plantations have suffered from a witch’s brew of techno-chemicals that promises to carry on its destructive force through future generations.
Though early organic coffees were really wild, poorly graded coffees, the demand for specialty grade organic coffee has given rise to the availability of some really good cupping coffee worthy of the high praise normally reserved for very special estate coffees. Indeed, as in the wine industry, some estate coffee plantations have converted acreage to specialty grade organics.
USDA Organic Certification
Caffe Ibis® also is certified organic by the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) through its National Organic Program (NOP).
Certified Fair Trade Coffee
Caffe Ibis® is proud to support the Fair Trade movement and be licensed by TransFair USA. Fair Trade certification at itscore means:
- Paying farming families a fair price for their harvests.
- Helping small farmers gain access to needed loans for working capital.
- Establishing direct, long-term trading relationships between buyers and farmers.
- Support for sustainable farming.
- Support for democratically-run co-ops throughout the coffee growing world.
- No child labor; children should be in school.
- Gender equality; women paid equal to men doing the same work.
TransFair USA Certified
Clearly, no agricultural product is sustainable if prices are too low to support the investment of time, energy, and money. In the case of specialty organic coffee, the investment is very high. Mountain grown, specialty grade, organically grown, and shade grown coffee represent one of the most labor-intensive crops grown on earth. The extra hand labor in care of the coffee tree, repeated selective picking, care in processing, drying, sorting, packaging, and storing all contribute to superior cup quality. At today’s retail prices of between $9 and $13 per pound (11 to 22 cents per cup), it also represents one of the world’s best values.
However, as with other agricultural endeavors, the farmer receives a tiny fraction of that selling price. Large corporate farms and coyote speculators exploit small farmers by meeting the growers on the long road to market with their highly perishable crop on their backs. Yes, the Juan Valdez with a donkey carrying Colombian coffee in television commercials is a fantasy for too many small farmers. A Fair Trade certified price differential can make the difference between a donkey, a floor over the dirt of a home, or an elementary school education for a child.
Clearly, Fair Trade certification is a key element for a sustainable coffee future. Farmers everywhere perform hard, demanding, and highly speculative work, often out of a love of the land and a love of the occupation. Without a fair price for their crops, all the love in the world will not pull them out of a nosedive into oblivion. With that oblivion we will all be condemned to a life without the energy and inspiration that foods of quality give to us.