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Good Food Awards Alters Coffee Criteria to Require Certification for 2017

good food awards coffee

Coffee service from representatives of GFA-winner ReAnimar Coffee at the 2015 Good Food Awards marketplace. 

With the entry period for the 2017 Good Food Awards beginning in less than three weeks, the group has announced it has changed its sustainability criteria in the coffee category to require entries to carry certification from one of a handful of identified agencies.

The GFA’s sustainability criteria — which complement the quality-focused criteria in which coffees are selected for “sweet, clean, well developed body, balanced acidity and phenomenal aromatics” — has always emphasized fairness and transparency throughout a given coffee’s supply chain.

In previous years, roasters whose prize-worthy coffees were not certified by a third party were given opportunity to submit evidence for how their coffee met the GFA’s coffee standards for traceability back to the farm level and for equity and fairness throughout the chain.

“In the past we’ve allowed producers to submit a strong and detailed case for non-certified coffee, we’ve found that sustainability vetting of nondomestic farms is tricky at best; and at the strong encouragement of the Roasters Guild, we think entrants are most fairly served if we utilize reliable third-party certifications,” the group recently announced, referring to roasters as the “producers” in the context of the awards program.

For this year’s awards, eligible coffees must reflect certification from one of the following agencies or programs: NOP Organic, Fair Trade (FTUSA or Fairtrade International), SMBC Shade, Rainforest Alliance, C.A.F.E Practices, 4C/CAS (Global Coffee Platform) or Demeter Biodynamic.

The 2017 Good Food Awards entry period will open from July 5 through July 31, 2016, and entrant information will be updated here. The awards program typically results in 20-30 coffee finalists, with a majority of those named winners, who are annually honored at an awards gala in January in San Francisco.