However, Haden Polseno-Hensley, co-owner of Red Rooster Coffee Roaster, whose Ethiopia Kayon Mountain scored 93, pursues a business model committed to organic certification. He observed that organic-certified coffees are often of higher quality than those not certified. He says, “When we started in 2010, we were 100% organic. This was based on philosophical choice, but also marketing strategy. Large grocery store chains, especially ‘lifestyle’ chains, want organics. They want to press the ‘easy’ button when it comes to showing their customers that they have quality goods. Ethiopia is a strange bird, though. While it may be true that most Ethiopian coffees are de facto organic, we’ve actually come to find that the certified coffees are often of a higher quality. Is this because the producers are more attentive to cultivation and processing since they are paying for certificates?”
The main benefit of organically grown coffee is that, because it is not subjected to commercial fertilizer or insecticide, its beans would be free of chemical residue. For this reason, some people claim that Organic Coffee has a fuller, richer flavor than non-organically grown coffee. Aside from the taste of the coffee, growing coffee using Organic farming methods benefits the environment and the health of the consumer and the farmer. The production of Organic Coffee uses no chemical fertilizers to feed the plants and no chemical pesticides to keep insects at bay. Pesticides and other non-organic farming chemicals accumulate in human body fat, causing damage to the nervous and reproductive systems. While Organic Coffee may cost more, most would say the benefits outweigh the added cost.
Over the course of the year, we reviewed fewer than a dozen darker roasts. Most were medium-dark at best; some barely that. The majority of darker roasts we reviewed were sent by roasters in Taiwan and most were espressos, reflecting both the time-honored espresso practice of emphasizing chocolate and sweetness through moderate dark roasting, as well as, perhaps, a preference in Taiwan for more traditional styles of espresso as opposed to the lighter-roasted, brighter style of espresso now popular with the leading edge of North American roasters.