Certification is a growing movement in the coffee industry. Independent agencies establish a list of criteria, and they certify coffee produced from farms which meet all of these criteria. They often certify organic coffee, shade-grown coffee, and fair trade coffee. These coffees are sold at a guaranteed minimum price, thus ensuring some benefits for the farmers. This way, farmers are encouraged to grow high-quality, environmental-friendly coffee.
A list of coffee certifying organisations can be found here.
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston – Regional Review
Organic Consumers Association
Global Exchange: Fair Trade Coffee
Coffee Research Institute
Uncommon Grounds Gourmet Coffee