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What Is Rainforest Alliance Coffee? Full Guide

rainforest alliance certified logo

Coffee is extremely popular in most countries, but just like any resource we harvest for food or drink, harvesting coffee beans also has an impact on the earth and our environment. Coffee cultivation and processing have taken a toll on the planet, just as other types of product processing have.

If you are an avid supporter of going green and protecting the earth, then you might already know about Rainforest Alliance Coffee. If you’re just beginning to go green or are an avid coffee drinker who wants to know more, we’ll explain everything in our guide on what Rainforest Alliance Coffee is and how it impacts your coffee drinking. If you are looking to drink a coffee that’s responsibly sourced, then this guide is for you.

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What Is the Rainforest Alliance Coffee Certification?

The coffee industry brings in over $100 billion yearly in the United States alone. In other words, the coffee business is a thriving, growing industry that’s not fading into obscurity any time soon, if ever.

The Rainforest Alliance has a mission. That mission is to keep farmers everywhere informed and educated on the different methods of sustainable farming that increase the yields of their coffee crops and protect the environment at the same time.

They do this by working with coffee farmers to ensure rigorous standards are followed when it comes to economic, social, and environmental criteria. The criteria outlined are made to deliver financial benefits to coffee farmers while still preserving biodiversity and fostering workers and their local communities.

rainforest alliance certified coffee McDonald's
Image credit: Alpha, Flickr, CC 2.0 (cropped)

What Is Rainforest Alliance Coffee?

Now that you know what the Rainforest Alliance mission is all about and what they hope to achieve, you’re probably wondering what Rainforest Alliance Coffee is. By definition, this is coffee that follows the policies and guidelines that have been set forth to protect the forest communities, farmers themselves, and the environment at the same time. The alliance is non-profit.

Is There a Big Cost Difference?

The fee charged for Rainforest Alliance audits is determined by the certification body chosen by the farmer. Therefore, it depends on the size of the farm, the location, and the size of the organization asking for Rainforest Alliance Coffee certification.

Most coffee farmers feel it’s worth the fee since they have peace of mind in knowing your money will improve the environment where your coffee beans are grown and harvested. So, it’s worth the extra few cents you spend for Rainforest Alliance Coffee over the generic industrial coffee.

Does Rainforest Alliance Coffee Taste Better?

Since the coffee beans come from plants grown in healthy soil, this coffee generally tastes fresher than coffee from other plants. You just need to try a cup of Rainforest Alliance Coffee to be able to tell the difference in taste and richness.

What Are the Benefits of Rainforest Alliance Coffee?

Applying for the Rainforest Alliance Coffee certification is something that comes with quite a few benefits. The first benefit is that you can be proud of your coffee and proud that you’re doing your part to protect the planet and the environment.

Also, farms with the certification tend to have better performance environmentally than the farms that fail to become certified. If you want to become Rainforest Alliance Coffee certified and do your part to protect the environment while producing a cup of coffee you’re proud to call your own, it’s a great thing to do.

Whether you’re a coffee farmer that wants to become Rainforest Alliance Coffee certified, or you’re an avid coffee drinker that just wants to do your part by purchasing coffee with the Rainforest Alliance seal, you’ll likely feel good once you’ve made the switch. The choice is yours, but protecting the planet should be on every responsible coffee drinker’s list.

SEE ALSO: Fair Trade vs Direct Trade Coffee Labels: What’s the Difference?

Featured Image Credit: Rainforest Alliance official logo


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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