Coffee Certification Guide

Organic produced without the aid of artificial chemical substances, such as certain additives or some pesticides and herbicides.

UTZ - "UTZ" (which translates to "Good" in the Maya language) is the largest coffee certification program in coffee and cocoa. UTZ aims to make sustainable farming the norm by encouraging farmers to implement good agricultural practices and manage their farms profitably with respect for people and planet.

Rainforest Alliance (RFA) - "RFA" certified coffee helps integrate biodiversity conservation, community development, and the implementation of effective planning and farm management systems to improve the livelihood of farmers and their families in coffee growing regions.

Grade A + Grade B (AB) - The A grade is sorted using a 6.8 mm screen while the B grade is sorted using a 6.2 mm screen. These two types of beans, A and B, are mixed together to form the grade AB. Though not as highly-valued as AA, AB is also popular and rates as a premium coffee.

Grade 1 (GR1 or G1) - This is the highest grade of beans, and to be classified as Grade 1 Coffee, the beans need to have no primary defects and 0-3 full defects, with a maximum of 5% above and below the specified screen size.

Fair Trade (FT) - Fair Trade coffee helps support a better life for farming families in the developing world by guaranteeing farmers a minimum price, linking them directly with importers, and creating long-term environmental stewardship and sustainability. According to the Fair Trade website, "farmers earn better incomes, allowing them to hold on to their land and invest in quality."

A/X - A/X means that not only does the coffee cup well (Grade A) but also that the largest and smallest beans have not been included in the lot.

Strictly High Grown (SHG) - SHG which is synonymous with "strictly hard bean (SHB)" usually refers to coffee grown at altitudes higher than about 4,500 feet above sea level. Beans grown at high altitudes mature more slowly and grow to be harder and denser than beans grown at lower elevations.

European Preparation (EP) - “EP” means that the coffee is screen-size 15 and above, with a maximum of 8 defects within 300 grams. (Less common, “American preparation” or AP allows for a screen size above 13, with 23 defects per 300 grams.)

Natural - all additives or flavors contain no chemicals

Swiss Processing Method - a 4 step process consisting of cleaning and pre-soaking, extraction, carbon filtration and completion that removes caffeine from coffee beans. For more information please click here.