I had the distinct pleasure of enjoying Camano Island coffee this week and I am simply bursting with excitement over this brew! My excitement stems not only from the taste but, this company is truly one to be admired. Camano Island was founded by Jeff Erickson who after facing a life threatening illness decided to take his business prowess and do a little good in this world.
Jeff is a dedicated coffee lover however, that is not what led him to the coffee industry. Coffee is the #2 traded commodity in the world, that meant one thing in his mind- far reaching impact. He knew he could use the power of this product to change a great number of lives. Namely, poverty stricken farmers. In addition, ethical coffee production is pivotal is maintaining biodiversity in species rich rain forests. Jeff was aiming for not only preventing the break down of these communities but improving them.
Camano Island Coffee roasters has flat out refused to purchase anything but USDA organic certified coffee beans that maintain a fair trade endorsement and have been shade grown.
Why is this important?
I am sure you realize that organics do not rely on the use of pesticides reducing not only your consumption of these toxic chemicals but, eliminating them in the soil, air, flora and fauna in the ecosystems which the beans grow. In addition, you are certainly familiar with fair trade which ensures a living wage for farmers allowing them the support their families generationally. But, the one feature Camano pursues that you probably know very little about (as I did) is the importance of shade grown coffees. Shade grown coffee practices are pivotal in the reduction of deforestation. Coffee grows naturally in shady areas however modern agriculture prefers less obstruction therefore common practice is to clear forest land down to ground in order to service coffee trees in a quicker more industrial manner. This eliminates habitats, leading to the demise of precious wildlife in addition to releasing mass amounts of CO2 into our already flush atmosphere as well as eliminating the carbon storehouses (trees). As you can see shade grown is an pivotal talking point when it comes to coffee farming but, is often ignored.
Camano Coffee does not ignore nor have they looked the other way when it comes to any questionable practices. In addition they have a no tolerance policy for anything other than organic, fair trade and shade grown. But it does not end there, they also work with Agros Guatamela and other non profits to return $1.00 of every one of their shipments back to the farmers.
Jeff's goal is clear and he said it perfectly with one sentence, " Business can change the world for good". The best part is these are not just words for Camano but actions that they have taken with every single step of their business.
But, is the coffee good?
Excellent question. Camano Island offers a variety of roasts from around the world including the one I tried- Papua New Guinea.
This is a whole bean, medium roast coffee that is of course organic and Fair Trade certified as well as shade grown. In addition Papua New Guinea is rated a specialty grade Arabica making it the top 1% of coffee beans in the world in terms of quality. I chose to brew my with my Keurig filter using the highest water setting and the strong option on my 2.0. The result was one beautiful looking cup of joe!
The appearance was astoundingly dark for a medium roast coffee with just the slightest bit of translucency around the edges. The first sip was full bodied and immediately satisfying. I usually save that for the finish but, this coffee displayed those traits from the start. The mouth feel was smooth and even more so with a dash of cream. If I had to compare this roast to something a little more well known, I would place it between a high quality breakfast blend and Colombian. But, there is a slightly grittier flair to Papua New Guinea. There is a detected difference in grade placing this roast higher on the scale. Perhaps it is the depth combined with a ease of drink ability.
I would recommend this to any light, medium or dark roast coffee lover (seriously, it runs the entire gamut) ready to take the java drinking up a notch. But, approach with warning once you try this caliber of brew, you may not be able to go back to your old roast!
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