Black Powder Certified
In order to drive awareness and brand compliance, we personally certify that each bean that is roasted is Black Powder Certified. We are “Responsibly Harvested and Craft Roasted”. Our blending techniques produce a unique flavor profile. We often times mix Rainforest, Fair Trade, and Direct Trade beans together. Black Powder Roasting certifies that our beans were gained through environmental friendly techniques, with respect for workers rights.
These are more than words to us – This is part of the founding principles! After reading and seeing videos on the poor harvesting processes, we decided there had to be a better way to get great products while rewarding the earth and treating people fairly while achieving an outstanding flavor profile unique in the market.
The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit organization with over 25 years’ experience in the development and promotion of sustainable standards in farming, forestry and tourism. These standards protect the environment and promote the well-being of workers, their families and their communities. To learn more about the Rainforest Alliance, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org.
The goal is sustainable agriculture. Small farmers in these coffee-growing regions face many challenges including poverty, commodity price fluctuations, and increasingly erratic rainfall patterns caused by climate change. Since 1995, the Rainforest Alliance has strengthened the position of coffee farmers by training them in methods that boost yields and safeguard the health of the land for future generations. All of this is part of a global strategy to ensure the long-term well-being of farm communities, as well as the forests and wildlife on which we all depend.
Fair Trade Certified
Fair Trade USA enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, consumers, industry and the earth. We achieve our mission by certifying and promoting Fair Trade products.
The largest fair trade certification program is run by Fairtrade International (Fairtrade Labelling Organization). Coffee packers pay Fairtrade a fee for the right to use the Fairtrade logo. This gives consumers an assurance that the coffee meets Fairtrade criteria:
- produced by farmers who are members of a democratically run cooperative
- produced without child labor
- restrictions on the use of herbicides and pesticides
- the final exporter is paid a minimum price and a price premium.
The coffee with this certification mark must be produced by farmers and cooperatives that meet these criteria, and be certified the inspection organization, FLO-CERT. Fairtrade farmers also get better conditions to work in (shorter hours and more shaded fields).
The companies that Black Powder Roasting uses are only direct importers – no middle men. Our partnerships allow us to understand and document the chain of custody AND the companies work directly with the farmer including on-site audits to assure compliance to fair working and agricultural standards. The reality is that the direct trade relationships are the least corrupt of the certifications resulting in the most benefit to the farmer and the land. These direct relationships often involve lending of capital (or bartering) to improve processing techniques or increase quality which in turn has a higher market value of the product.
Direct trade is a fuzzy concept, even for those people who make a living among coffee supply chains. So it’s no wonder the concept can be completely mystifying to consumers.
“A lot of people ask us how we meet these farmers, and they have a perception that we’re like Indiana Jones going into the jungles going past old tombs looking for this one indigenous farmer who’s growing this one bush,” says Chuck Patton, owner of San Diego’s Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.
This is the message that the Bird Rock team is hoping to convey in a new video that takes viewers through a direct trade journey from Guatemala to San Diego — one that naturally makes several stops, including to private contractors, farmers, exporters and importers.
“While our customers know we travel to origin to ‘get coffee,’ I think there is a misconception or a lack of information about how exactly we go about doing that,” Patton tells Daily Coffee News. “There are many moving parts.”
What is organic? Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.
To be sold as organic in the U.S., imported coffee must gain organic certification. Among other standards, this includes meeting the following requirements:
- The coffee is grown on land that wasn’t exposed to synthetic pesticides or other prohibited substances for 3 years prior.
- A sufficient buffer exists between the organic coffee and the closest conventional crop.
- A sustainable crop rotation plan is in place to prevent erosion, the depletion of soil nutrients, and to naturally control for pests.
The SWISS WATER® Process is certified organic by the Organic Crop Improvement Association, the world’s largest organic certification agency, in accordance with standards developed by the USDA National Organic Program. The decaffeination facility itself must conform to the OCIA’s rigorous standards. The organic integrity of our operation ensures organic coffee beans are decaffeinated using the SWISS WATER® Process maintain their organic certification.