Sustainable-minded eaters already know where to score the best and freshest produce: from a farm's Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Subscribers receive a weekly or twice-monthly "share" of just-picked greens, squash, berries -- you name it. Recently, similar models have sprung up for seafood, honey, dairy and flowers.
Coffee, however, is the antithesis of this feel-good model. Several middlemen work the long, arduous route between the coffee farm to your personal coffee brewer, which is several thousand miles and usually across continents. Typically, buyers import beans in their non-roasted form from a cooperative of coffee farmers, and then sell them to you -- roasted -- via a cafe or a grocer. By the time those beans are roasted and retailed, a lot of time has passed. And it's rare you know anything about the farm on which they were harvested.
Today, a new coffee CSA (it's actually called Coffee CSA) debuts as a project from Pachamama, a global cooperative of coffee farms. Though there are some small coffee CSAs around the U.S., the scale of this project is much larger. Each month, Coffee CSA subscribers receive a delivery of just-roasted coffee beans sourced from independent family-owned farms around the world. Not only do you know the farm's name, you have access to photos, videos and stories from the farmers, putting serious street cred into your morning cup of joe.
You can also request to receive email updates from the farm family, allowing you to get to know more about their lifestyle and livelihood. About 140,000 small-scale farmers in Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico, Ethiopia and Guatemala are linked with the project, and they work on farms ranging from one to 10 acres. All are certified-organic and Fair Trade certified too.
And since the beans arrive on your doorstep, you'll always have an early morning cup of joe at your fingertips.