I have visited these farms, brushed past the branches, sunk my hands into the bags and sifted the beans through my fingers. I have shook hands with the owner, the grower, the picker. I have harvested papaya for a snack, heard the birds that make the forest their home, splashed into the clear creek, seen the compost scattered around the trunks.
For me, these experiences mean more than a stamp on a bag, a familiar logo, a feel-good slogan.
Yes, these farms have earned their certifications for environmental and social responsibility. I encourage all coffee farms to work towards this certification, or at least make such criteria part of their farming practices, just as I encourage coffee drinkers to seek out these stamps of approval.