How do we"know" it's triple-certified?


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Jan 6, 2005
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My husband and I are a couple of months away from opening a drive-thru espresso/deli/natural food grocery. Posts on this forum have been extremely enlightening, and I hope my question doesn't annoy anyone...

We plan to offer triple-certified coffee only. I'm wondering, though, how do I know if it's REALLY organic, shade grown, fair trade that we are buying? Is it just about trusting my local roaster, or is there a way to track the path of the beans from coffee farm to roaster?


Hello Sherie, some good questions you ask. Definatley the legal system in the USA means that anything certified by Transfair or similar organisations has to be audited to be verified as being 'organic', 'shade grown' and 'fairtraded'. Perhaps though (and if you look back through some posts you will see I have ranted about this issue months ago) the very best coffees from origins such as Indonesia are never going to make certification. The process is very expensive and well beyond the means of most small holders and coops that I see. For example- in Indonesia PT Holland (Gayo Mountain) is a certified organic producer, also they have several fairtrade certifications. They are a huge opperation. By comparrison many of the coops I deal with would produce less than 18mt (or less than a 20' container) every year. Even if we pay above fairtrade prices for their arabica it would take years and years for them to have enough money to pay for certification.... My point is sometimes the certification system works, sometimes it is does not. You certainly would be assured that the beans you get that are claimed to be triple certified would be....but then you are only scraping the very, very tip of a gigantic iceberg and missing out on coffee that is organic, shade grown....but of course not certified.

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