Ethical Coffee
March 14, 2002 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Ethical Coffee Are you likely to drink more coffee if it is more "ethical"? Do you buy into green marketing?
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy (25 comments total)
I don't know about ethical coffee, but ethical mutal funds have been marketing like mad of the past few years - however if you look at the companies in the ethical funds there are mostly banks and energy companies. The banks that lend loads of money to the companies that aren't on the ethical funds 'ok' list.

I'd be willing to take a hit on returns in order to ensure my money wan't being used to polute and repress, but I'm no more comfortable having my money in the big banks than I am with them in companies in the more common (and better performing) funds.

Is there more to this than I'm seeing?
posted by stevengarrity at 9:12 AM on March 14, 2002

As a caffeine junkie, I have pretty low coffee standards: hot, brown, and nothing floating on the surface.

Given a choice, I often choose an "envirobrand", if it's close in price. But often, I suspect that the color of the container is about the only thing really green about many such products. That and the extra cash required.
posted by groundhog at 9:29 AM on March 14, 2002

I'm a total sucker for all things green. It's because I used to be really active and I am now a capitalist pig. So I try to make up for that by driving my volvo to the local co-op instead of the big chain grocery store. I also buy $4.00 dollar bags of potato chips.
posted by goneill at 9:52 AM on March 14, 2002

As long as i continue to get my Evil/Big Green (Starbucks) coffee, life is good.
posted by jmd82 at 9:58 AM on March 14, 2002

I am very snobbish about my coffee. My father turned me on to this brand a while back and it rocks. I always get the Costa Rican. The fact that they are a "green" company just adds to the sweetness.
posted by anathema at 10:02 AM on March 14, 2002

I always try to buy organic shade-grown coffee, preferably if the marketing indicates it's from a co-op.

I also try to buy organic bananas, and when I do eat meat I try to get organic products (for lack of hormones) but nothing else.

I figure that the coffee and bananas, if grown organically, have less of an impact on Mexico or Costa Rica, and that the locals are getting more of the profit. . .I have not way of varifying this but I like to believe it's true.
posted by Danf at 10:21 AM on March 14, 2002

I'm not sure I'd drink "more" coffee, but if I were offered a choice (during my daily routine or at the point of purchase), I would probably consider it.

On a related note, I wish I actually saved my Stuart Elliott emails from the NYTimes, because he just did a great piece on the new campaign from the folks that are selling organic milk....
posted by msippey at 10:24 AM on March 14, 2002

I don't drink more coffee, no. But the coffee I do drink is fair trade and organic. I'm in anathema's position though—I get it because it happens to be the the best cup in the neighbourhood; the fact that it's better for the little guy is just gravy (figuratively, of course).
posted by transient at 10:26 AM on March 14, 2002

Ethical or not, coffee will always taste like liquid ass to me.
posted by zztzed at 1:06 PM on March 14, 2002

Now there's something wrong with liquid ass?

Seems suprisingly difficult to find fair trade coffee in Manhattan outside of S'bucks (which, for other reasons, I steer clear of). Any good suggestions from NYers?
posted by hackly_fracture at 2:01 PM on March 14, 2002

To paraphrase an early post in this thread...given a choice, I often avoid choosing an 'envirobrand', regardless of price. Maybe just the rebel in me, I dunno. Anyway, speaking of coffee, the best I've found so far is Papanicholas Italian Espresso beans...dark, shiny, oily, aromatic, rich. Mmmmmm...nothing finer.

And further speaking of coffee...this is a really nifty fridge-magnet that I bought a few years ago -- ain't it great?!

posted by davidmsc at 2:42 PM on March 14, 2002

Visiting a coffee plantation and seeing backpack sprayers full of 2-4-6-T makes the organically grown coffee worth the trouble for me.

Fair trade guide
posted by sheauga at 2:53 PM on March 14, 2002

i like my consumables without the bitter aftertaste of oppression, generally. perhaps, the only way to vote is with your wallet. i like to imagine the money i spend going to people and organisations that i could work for.
if the small amount of pleasure i derive from these things (coffee, chocolate etc.) is out-weighed by the suffering of another, i find it difficult to enjoy. this is not simply high-horse rhetoric, i really try to give this ethic my best shot.
but no, the fair trade nature of a product isn't enough to provoke me into consuming it simply on principle!
davidmsc you may be interested in:
raven's brew

via too much coffee man.
posted by asok at 3:25 PM on March 14, 2002

Hey, I got that magnet too, I bought it in New Hope, PA.
posted by adampsyche at 3:48 PM on March 14, 2002

Something else to consider: if fair trade is done properly, you cut out the middleman and the price to the consumer goes down. I get good coffee beans roasted by a man who periodically visits the cooperatives the supplies come from. I'm satisfied it's not a scam - the price is lower than other local roasters are charging. You have ask around and be willing not to buy a name brand.
posted by zadcat at 4:35 PM on March 14, 2002

The healthy joint down the Street, Second Helpings, sells Equal Exchange coffee in bags. Consistently, it's the best I've ever had.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:49 PM on March 14, 2002

It didn't work for Ralph Nader and it won't work for these jokers.
posted by swerdloff at 4:54 PM on March 14, 2002

asok: thanks for the tip -- I just ordered a pound of beans from Raven's Brew - I'll let you know how it turns out (need yr e-mail).

adampsyche: cool magnet, huh? I love it - and it sums up my philosophy of appreciating good coffee perfectly. I don't recall where I got mine -- either in CA, OK, or TX.
posted by davidmsc at 7:28 PM on March 14, 2002

It is my mission to drink enough coffee so that I can grind the beans with my teeth. I have another big poster of a bunch of guys bowing around a big carafe.
posted by adampsyche at 7:40 PM on March 14, 2002

I'd buy green all the time if I liked the flavor. I did try the starbucks shade grown and think its kind of bitter, but my co-workers like it.

favorite t-shirt has the molecular structure of caffeine on the front of it
posted by redhead at 8:12 PM on March 14, 2002

The best fairtrade coffee I've ever had is Green Mountain's La Esperanza. Heaven!

I drink that and avoid whatever drug they put in Starbucks to make something that tastes like such crap be so addictive - honestly, how else could anyone drink that brown crud (especially at those prices?)
posted by wordsilk at 9:00 PM on March 14, 2002

i'll opt for fair trade over regular at the one place i usually get my coffee, but it's a taste thing: the fair trade tastes ok even if it's been sitting about for a while, but the other stuff tastes like ass unless it's fresh. (not much difference if they're both fresh though).

as for ethical mutual funds, i've always had the suspicion that if there were such a thing a purposefully *unethical* mutual fund, it's performance would far outstrip the ethical ones...
posted by juv3nal at 10:59 PM on March 14, 2002

Late on this thread - oh well.

I don't drink coffee, but if I did, it would be a FairTrade brand. I do drink tea, and that's this one usually, which makes a great cuppa. As I'm the person who buys all the tea and coffee for my office, everyone else drinks Fair Trade too, and no one's actually complained.

Worth noting that today marks the end of Fair Trade Fortnight, at least here in the UK, and that the British Co-Operative movement (which is part of the global one, of course), has its own bank - The Co-operative Bank (best-ever ad slogan - "Why bank with one that isn't?") complete with an excellent ethical investment policy that's determined through customer-consultation. They have an internet bank that's doing very well too.
posted by jonpollard at 7:30 AM on March 15, 2002

Okay, I'm late to the party, too, but if anyone is having trouble finding a "fair trade" variety of coffee, might I suggest Peet's?

That particular variety is not my favorite, but nearly all Peet's coffees (and a good number of the teas) are excellent.
posted by majick at 3:33 PM on March 15, 2002

I always have a minor moral panic at the supermarket shelves. Should I buy the cheapo Tesco’s stuff or opt for Fairtrade stuff? Fairtrade normally comes out first (‘cause it tastes better), but only when I’m feeling flush.
posted by laukf at 5:41 PM on March 15, 2002

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