What Is Sustainable Coffee and How Does It Work?

One of the favorite beverages in the world today has got to be coffee. Almost everyone has had a cup of coffee, even once in their lifetime. Not that all may have been excellent quality, but you at least get the idea of coffee in general.

Among the different ideas of coffee you can get in the market today, sustainable coffee is one of them. However, you probably may have heard of it and not know what it’s all about like many people. Here, you will find all the answers that have been bugging you about sustainable coffee.

What is Sustainable Coffee?

Starting with the main question, sustainable coffee can be described as fair trade coffee grown in a way that conserves nature. While it preserves nature, it also provides a better livelihood for those who grow and process coffee.

In case you didn’t know, not most of the coffee you find in the market is grown in this mode. As a result, many coffee farmers and processors don’t have better livelihoods despite coffee being a fast-moving commodity.

Conservation of the Environment

Growing coffee on its own doesn’t cause any danger to the environment. The thing you certainly have to look at is where the coffee is grown. Most coffee is grown in tropical places – this is home to remaining tropical forests.

The question you still have is, how does that affect the environment? When coffee farmers want to expand their farms, the easiest thing is to cut down the trees in these forests. You will also find that coffee is grown on steep slopes of these areas. When they are grown on steep slopes and care is not taken, the next thing is erosion.

This can then lead to the waterways being sediment. The other danger that coffee causes to the environment is the processing of the coffee. Coffee, when processed, can be water-intensive; the waste from it can contaminate the water bodies. If done concurrently for a while, these two practices can cause harm to the environment.


The other thing that may still be bothering you has got to be the livelihood of the coffee farmers. First, there are at least 120 million people that rely on coffee for their day-to-day lives. A massive chunk of that number is small-scale farmers – you also need to include farmworkers as part of that number.

What makes their lives unstainable is that most buyers want to buy low so they can sell high – look at the coffee prices in your area. This is a volatile market, and it doesn’t favor the farmers whatsoever.

This will then lead to the exploitation of the farmhands. When that happens, the forests also suffer as the farmers have to dig deep into the woods by cutting trees. They will also use low pesticides and go as far as using child labor in some instances.

What is Sustainable Coffee

As stated, sustainable coffee is the one that is grown to sustain both the farmers and the environment in equal measure. Unfortunately, above are some of the ways that unsustainable coffee wreaks havoc on farmers and the environment.