Sylvester & Co. Modern General® Organic + Fair Trade Coffee in the Hamptons
It's no secret that our Sag Harbor Modern General® coffee bar is pretty legendary, and locals and visitors alike have swarmed the shop for almost 30 years to stock up on coffee for their homes. Lynda Sylvester’s Dreamy coffee sent the signature scent of chocolate almond coffee wafting through the shop and out onto Main Street, and soon folks were clamoring for their Dreamy. Lynda also began cold brewing the delicious blend in the back of the shop in the early 90’s to make a unique and incredible iced cold brew coffee way before cold brew became a buzz word. It seemed a no brainer to brew all iced coffee offerings with the cold brew method, since the process created an easy to drink, less acidic, super smooth and super caffeinated brew. Soon, customers were coming in just to see what all the fuss over an “iced Dreamy” was about. Over the years a true cult following developed and Dreamy launched a brand new company.
2013 saw our beans and cold brew begin to go organic, and our Modern General® beans soon officially followed suit becoming certified organic and Fair Trade! This means, better coffee, that's better for you and better for the planet, too.
We always knew we wanted to go organic to provide the best for our customers and to do better with our impact on Mother Earth, and the journey there was a long and careful one. Sourcing certified organic and Fair Trade beans as well as flavoring for our Dreamy, Coconut and Hazelnut was nothing short of trying. Did you know that non-organic coffee has one of the highest concentrations of pesticides and chemicals of any product that we consume? Not only is organic coffee free of these nasties, it retains more of the amazing vitamins, minerals and immune boosting antioxidants that naturally occur in coffee beans. It is also widely sustainably grown, enriching instead of depleting soil.
Non-organic coffee has also been found to contain synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides, and is generally produced with the aid of many artificial substances. Flavored non-organic coffees have the addition of artificially/chemically produced flavoring, created to mimic your favorite tastes like hazelnut, chocolate, French vanilla, cinnamon and more. Any flavors added to organic coffee must be naturally produced, and are often made with stone fruit pits! We found that it is extremely difficult to get a balanced and bold flavored coffee with naturally produced flavors, but it is well worth the extra effort to avoid the high concentration of chemicals in our cherished cups of Joe. Finally, we are very proud to promise that our beans are triple certified organic - grower, importer and roaster!
We also decided that to do it all right, Fair Trade certification was a must. Do you ever think about where your coffee comes from, or how it is harvested and grown? So much of America's coffee is imported, we seldom get the backstory behind our favorite beans. The unfortunate truth is that many of our favorite "brand names" contribute (in many cases unknowingly) to forced and child labor and unfair trading practices in regions that depend on the coffee trade to survive. That's why we decided there's no option but Fair Trade Certification when it comes to ALL of our beans.
Fair Trade by definition is: "a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers." -World Fair Trade Organization
Some of the core principals of Fair Trade are:
• Opportunities for disadvantaged producers
• Transparency and accountability
• Fair Trading practices
• Fair payment
• No child labor or forced labor
• No discrimination; gender equity; freedom of association
• Good working conditions
• Respect for the environment
With the social premiums producers receive from their Fair Trade coffee, they are often able to provide fertilizers, agricultural tools, generators and building materials for their businesses. The farmers will harvest, wash, hull and dry the green beans, and produce a unique, USDA organic product, with their coffee businesses often being the main catalyst for an entire community’s prosperity.
We encourage you to take a step back and think before you buy. Look for Fair Trade certification on labels as you shop for any product and choose them when you can. Spending a little extra time searching out your favorite organic coffees and spending a little extra money to continue to support organic suppliers will allow the organic and Fair Trade coffee world to grow, making this staple product more commonly available to everyone at more affordable prices and in more varieties.
Our Modern General Dreamy Coffee® Co. organic and Fair Trade beans are all now available in the shop and in our online store, so you can enjoy your coffee with some sweet peace of mind. We are also one of the few establishments in the Hamptons offering certified hot and cold brewed organic fair trade coffee by the cup. We're excited and hope you are, too!