International coffee quality certifications

Written: Tuyến Trần


15:50 13/09/2022

Coffee quality certifications contribute to consumers being able to choose according to organic standards or protect the surrounding environment and flora and fauna.

CFRR – International coffee quality and natural environment are closely related.

Organic Coffee USDA ( United States Department of Agriculture)

The certification is held by the United States Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for conducting physical verification, and strict control under the main requirements for organic coffee such as no use of herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, or pesticides on cultivated land. In addition, the management of farms or projects needs to come up with a sustainable farming plan to prevent soil erosion.

USDA Certification. Photo:

Achieving organic coffee certification is relatively complex and expensive, making it difficult for farmers because of incurring annual costs for inspection for the certification. However, producers may require a higher price for their products.

Fair Trade Certification

U.S. coffee products are a complex certification consisting of three related certifications such as Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade America, and IMO Fair for Life, relates to the largest certification body for Fair Trade is Flocert with the goal of fair trade, contributing to building a sustainable economy from farmers to consumers.

Fair Trade certification does not require USDA organic coffee certification, and coffee with both certifications can sell for a higher price.

Fair Trade certification. Photo: fairtrade

Smithsonian Bird Friendly Certification

The Bird Friendly Coffee Certification was developed by ecologists at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. To achieve certification must include criteria for a certain height of the canopy, shade coverage, biodiversity level, and priority with native plants.

Bird Friendly Certification.

The farm or project must have Organic Certification, costs of which are used to support bird conservation research.

The coffee certified by Smithsonian Bird Friendly Certification has the following benefits:

  • The taste of coffee is better, and richer because the coffee beans are grown in the shade to ripen slowly.
  • Consumer market access for all producers, regardless of farm size.
  • Mitigating climate change and protecting crops through the shade
  • Healthier environment for farmers in planning areas and people in downstream regions.

Rainforest Alliance Certification (RFA)

This organization cares about sustainable agriculture, they care about how coffee is grown, how the environment is protected, and how workers are treated.

RFA Certification. Photo:

RFA is a certification for agricultural products, in 2017 RFA merged with UTZ called Rainforest Alliance to introduce new criteria that focus on agricultural development from economic, social, to environmental in 2020. The RFA certification does not require organic coffee or shade grown but must meet criteria such as forests, climate, human rights, and livelihoods, and be highly scored.

Products recognized by RFA help consumers understand that it is a product that brings positive things with the direction of a good future for people and the planet.

4C Certification System

Association 4C. Photo:

The 4C – Common Conduct for Coffee Community is an individual standard, stakeholder-recognized, the internationally recognized standard for the entire coffee industry that aims to maintain sustainability across three pillars – economic, social, and environmental for the entire coffee supply chain.

The 4C – Common Conduct includes:

  • 12 principles based on good agricultural practices management, international conventions, and accepted guidelines in the coffee industry
  • 45 criteria  including specific checkpoints that need to be controlled during the assessment to verify compliance with the respective criteria
  • 3 levels of compliance allow proceeding to be certificated and to ensure to improve continuously by certified manufacturers.

Related articles

Top 10 largest coffee companies in Italy

CFRR – The largest Italian coffee companies with a solid foundation and long tradition of experience have,...

The influence of processing method on coffee flavor

CFRR- In nature, the coffee berry is a fruit of the berry group that is green as young...

The taste of robusta coffee beans from a scientific perspective

CFRR – What is the basic taste of robusta coffee beans? How is the quality assessment of...

A detailed summary of Ethiopian coffee, the cradle of unique coffees

CFRR- Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, with a long history and ideal terrain has created the...