Originally posted on 9/12/2013
...And I don't even drink coffee. Much. But I'm thinking of taking it up, now that I'm a believer.
My first love was, and still is, Birds & Beans, because even before them, my first, first love is birds. First Brownie badge? Nature, for bird watching. First bird identified? Cape May Warbler, spotted during one spring migration when I had mono and my mother had grown sick of having me in the house. She set me up outside in a lawn chair with a blanket, a pair of binoculars and Peterson's field guide...and that was it, I was in love.
And so, what do birds and coffee have to do with each other? Habitat. The songbirds we love to see in the spring up here, winter down there...where coffee is grown...in South America. But they need trees, shrubbery, undergrowth - a proper forest.
Big, heartless, commercial coffee plantations clear cut to make way for coffee plants. Monoculture. And in case you have not heard the news, monoculture is bad, stupid, destructive, dangerous and, well, it's going to be our undoing.
Back to coffee; you're going to need a cup of something strong to ruminate over the end of our current model of farming. It's too huge an issue to face without caffeine.
I met with the folks from BC who are bringing their bird-, earth-, and farmer-friendly coffee east to us here in Ontario. Ethical Bean Coffee is marking 10 years of doing the right thing, and doing it deliciously!
OK, so about me not being a coffee drinker; allow me to clarify.
I love coffee-flavoured anything: icing, cake, ice cream, lattes, you name it. I love the smell of it - roasting, brewing, just sitting there in the bag. Oddly though, I don't care for drinking a good old cuppa Joe. I'm a tea drinker. But, when Aaron De Lazzer, Director of Coffee, treated me to a comparison tasting of their "lush" coffee made in a typical household coffeemaker and in a very sexy Chemex, it was a real eye-opener. Not only could I really taste the subtleties of the bean - I tasted notes of dark chocolate, black cherry and a subtle sweetness - and I surprised myself by being able to enjoy it black. I was so sure I was going to have to doctor it up with cream and sugar to get it down!
Bottom line? Two things really: re-think the coffee you buy and re-think the way you make it.
Everything you do, buy, consume - everything! - has an impact on the planet...positive or negative. Folks, making some tiny changes can have a big impact. So here's what I'll say - because my loyalty is being tested here! - if you want to support your local small guy, buy Birds & Beans. If you're the kind who does all your shopping at the big box shops, support Ethical Bean Coffee; you can find it at most of the big chains, including Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, on and on, and it's no more expensive than any quality brand - about $12 per bag (12oz/340g)..... So, no excuses, OK?