1. Ever look at a box of coffee K-Cups and read a bunch of terms and have absolutely no idea what they mean? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. With so many different terms being thrown around, someone has to break them down and explain them. An educated coffee consumer is a smart coffee consumer; Knowing what to look for is crucial.

Organic K-Cups

Marley Organic K-Cups from MarkcolBuying organic products has become a new craze just in recent years. So many people are beginning to buy organic products because they’re healthier; Organic produce, organic beauty products and of course organic tea and coffee. I had always heard people talking about buying organic, but up until recently I didn’t really know what it meant. The actual definition of organic is “Produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.”  So why wouldn’t someone buy organic coffee? When it comes to produce, organic is much pricier, but when it comes to k-cups, organic options can be found in the same price point as non-organic brands. Let’s not forget that before they become roasted coffee beans, coffee is a growing crop, which means: pesticides. Organic coffee farms are few and far between, it is far more profitable to use pesticides on coffee crops to produce a larger amount of coffee; and let’s be real, money is a motivating factor in all aspects of business. But not to worry, we still have plenty of organic options out there that we love. Pretty much every brand has at least 1 organic coffee. Plus if it’s organic, it will be labeled as such which makes it even easier! If you’re not sacrificing flavor or cost, why not go with the healthier choice? Tea lovers; we haven’t forgotten about you. Have you tried Numi teas yet? All organic and delicious. K-Cups from Marley Coffee, Timothys, Newmans Own and One Coffee are just a few of the names bringing you organic coffee in K-Cups form. Look for the organic symbol next time you stock up, you wont be disappointed.

Decaf K-Cups

The next symbol you might see on your box of k-cups is “Swiss Water Process”. Decaf drinkers – I’m talking to you! This is something you definitely want to be looking for on your next purchase. Something I learned about most decaf coffees is that methylene chloride or ethyl acetate are the chemicals popularly used to strip caffeine from beans. To me, that doesn’t sound appetizing at all and I definitely don’t want to drink those chemicals. The Swiss Water Process of decaffeination actually just uses water (who would have guessed!) to decaffeinate the beans. By using water instead of chemicals you actually get a more true tasting coffee because you’re not interfering with any of the beans original flavors or properties. It seems simple to choose the Swiss Water Decaf (especially since it’s not any more expensive than that chemically decaffeinated stuff!) but honestly not a lot of people even know what that is. I won’t pretend to know the science of this process but you should definitely visit www.swisswater.ca to get the detailed scientific explanation. Sitting on our shelves are a few amazing Swiss Water Decaf coffees and the newest to the family being Tim Hortons Decaf. That’s right; Canada’s favorite coffee is also the healthier option for decaf drinkers. Much like the Organic symbol displayed on boxes, Swiss Water has their own symbol clearly posted on boxes of decaf as well. Look for it the next time you’re browsing through the decaf section.

For a more comprehensive look at everything you need to know about decaf coffee, have a look at this blog post by our friends over at Positive Health Wellness:

Negative Effects of Decaf Coffee (All You Need to Know)

Onto the next symbol; The green frog! Otherwise known as “Certified Rainforest Alliance”. This one can get kind of complicated and difficult to explain. What it means is that companies that are Certified Rainforest Alliance don’t maTim Horton Decaf K-Cups from Markcolke a negative impact in the regions in which they harvest their coffees. The Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal is an internationally recognized symbol of environmental, social and economic sustainability. Every time you buy a box with that little green frog on it, you can feel good about it. How many times have you bought a rainforest alliance coffee and never even knew what it meant or how your purchase impacts communities that your favorite coffee is harvested from? One brand to take a look at is definitely Marley Coffee. This brand was founded by Rohan Marley, and his commitment to create opportunities in these communities and to source sustainably grown coffee from Jamaica and Ethiopia is no secret; Marley coffee is seriously everything you would want to look for in a k-cup. Organic, rainforest alliance, delicious, and will soon be one of the first coffees available in a recyclable k-cup format. He is constantly changing the game for single serve coffees. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love this coffee.

Our next lesson is on an initiative you’ll find on all Mother Parkers products. Water Wise. There are so many negative effects on the environment during coffee production. Coffee originated in Ethiopia and is now the number one beverage consumed in North America today. This has definitely made an impact on the Earth although we don’t directly see it and we often take our clean water for granted. What most people don’t know is that the coffee production process actually leaves rivers in Ethiopia heavily polluted and no longer usable for other activities that are so important to the people living there. “Water Wise” is a project that helps the farmers in Ethiopia to keep the water clean. From Ethiopia to your cup you are directly a part of the damage that’s happening to the water in Ethiopia, but by buying boxes marked with the Water Wise symbol you can directly be a part of the solution for these communities as well. Helping the people of Ethiopia and other communities by buying Water Wise products is pretty effortless in comparison to the effort it takes to clean the water so I would strongly urge you to support this project.

Now that you are much more educated on the symbols that are often ignored on boxes of k-cups you are one step closer to being able to rightfully label yourself a “Coffee Connoisseur”! Take a closer look at these symbols next time you purchase k-cups and who knows; maybe you’ve been buying these products all along without even knowing it.