Edmonton's Eco-est Coffee

I love good coffee. There are few finer things in life than a delicious cup of Joe first thing in the morning. The problem is, Edmonton is 4000 km away from the nearest coffee producing nation. There is a significant environmental cost to drinking coffee.

Luckily, Earth's General Store (EGS) roasts organic fair trade coffee right here on Whyte Avenue.

What makes their coffee the eco-est?

  1. It's certified fair trade organic coffee. This means that farmers in developing nations get a fair price for their coffee, and they grow it a fairly benign way (without pesticides, etc.).
  2. By roasting it locally, EGS eliminates two energy-intensive steps of getting the coffee to your cup. Green coffee beans are always delivered to one of Canada's ports - in this case Vancouver. Normally, hey are then shipped to the roaster, who roasts it, packs it, and then ships it to a retail destination. That's the beauty of having our own local roaster/retailer - the coffee is shipped from Vancouver to Whyte Avenue, where it is roasted, and then sold onsite without packaging (that is, if you bring your own container, which you of course will). Otherwise, the beans can be shipped as far away as Nova Scotia before being shipped back to Edmonton, which is an obvious waste of diesel fuel.
  3. By purchasing it, you are supporting Earth's General Store, which is the hub of the environmental community in Edmonton. Your money is being put to excellent use by the good folks of this fine establishment.

Eric the roaster is a master of his craft, and the coffee that you get at EGS has often been roasted that same week.

So for the most amazing cup of coffee in the city, head to Earth's General Store. The eco-justice doesn't taste so bad, either.

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This weekend while on the north side, we stopped at a Starbucks outlet for a pick me up expecting to have our reuseable mugs filled with fresh organic fair trade brew. I was informed by the server that they do not keep organic fair trade coffee brewed and ready to serve to customers. If I wanted some brewed, I would have to wait and then also pay more.

I'm someone who would normally be willing to wait and to pay more for ethical coffee. But the majority of people who are in a rush and trying to save a few pennies won't. In a time where even the 7-11 offers organic brew all the time, there's no reason why the starbucks shouldn't.

I figured that if enough of us ask for fair trade organic coffee at starbucks, they will realize that it is inconvenient for them to have to brew small batches of it whenever someone requests it, and that they should just keep it on hand in the urns like their regular medium roast.

By the way, does anyone know of some good locally owned cafes on the north side? The ones I've seen are all going out of business!

Interestingly, the company I represent is an OCIA certified coffee manufacturing plant. All of the coffees we bring in are 100% Organic. Most of them are fairly traded. (Utz Kapeh, Cafe Femenino, Rainforest Grown, etc.)

Thought I'd mention it as another alternative. As a company we sponsor both film viewings of documentaries, and a poets writing group. In the past year we have given thousands of dollars (keep in mind we're a small business) to charities in gift baskets for silent auctions, coffee services, volunteering - to represent a slogan - "Changing the World One Cup at a Time".

As an aside, we also give away non-consumerable coffee and burlap (green coffee sacks) bags for crafts, a lot of wedding centerpeices, compost, tree planting etc. If anyone requires send me an e-mail via our website.

Thanks for the comment Matt. I agree that your company, St. City Roasters, is right up there when it comes to locally roasted, organic fair trade coffee.


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