By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
If you love coffee, you know that it’s all about the bean. It must be fresh and properly roasted. Beyond that, the environmentally conscientious of us like to know that the coffee we drink was organically grown and responsibly managed; that workers made a fair wage and that sustainability was a consideration from planting to transporting. It’s really not too much to ask. Coffee, the world’s most popular drink and a food export item that supports tens of millions of people, has been cultivated this way for some time.
So the nut of the matter is this: Watch out for commercial brands that have nothing to say about how the coffee is grown. They are probably relying on full-sun coffee plantations that speed production, but require pesticides and claim tropical forests, releasing carbon and stripping birds of habitat. Consumers can vote against that calamity by switching to brands that have been organically and shade-grown.
There are many ecologically sound coffees to choose from. We recently enjoyed one brand that coffee gourmands may want to try: Strongtree Organic Coffee Roasters, which is speciallly roasted in small batches in Hudson, N.Y., by a couple that started out in commercial coffee operations and now runs a family business calibrated to a sustainable size.
Nora Edison and Chris Neumann, co-owners of Strongtree, believe not just in putting out the finest in organic coffee beans but in preserving heirloom flavors and blends.
Here’s what we liked — the dark, rich Deep Roots, Full City and Viennese Roast from Brazil and Ethiopia. The package recommends using it in a French press, but we found that it came out of the automatic drip coffee maker full-bodied and ready to accompany dessert, especially yummy with fruit pies and dark chocolate.
But…we couldn’t truly decide on our favorite. We also have to say that the Colombia, Don Telmo Reserva Full City Roast with its hint of vanilla and bold, but smooth tenor, suited our morning palate and was an all-around favorite. Several relatives raved about it.
These coffees are a treat, and quite reasonably priced for truly premium blends. Strongtree coffees are sold online and in select stores. Rest easy, they’re well credentialed — certified organic, sustainably grown and Rainforest Alliance Certified.
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