Save chimps and support small farmers, one sip at a time, with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' Gombe Special Reserve line. A collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental conservation, the organic, shade-grown, and "chimp-friendly" coffee is designed to create awareness about environmental degradation in western Tanzania—and the toll it's exacting on both humans and chimpanzees.
The coffee is named for the Gombe National Park, where renowned primatologist (and self-professed coffee lover) Goodall embarked on her groundbreaking primatology studies in 1960. More than 150 chimpanzees scampered around Gombe back then; today, rampant deforestation has reduced the population to about 90. A ravenous demand for lumber, farmland, and grazing areas has eroded the watershed, weakened the soil, and left villages vulnerable to flooding and landslides.To bring you this coffee, Green Mountain and the JGI are working directly with the 2,700 small-scale farmers of the Kalinzi Cooperative in Tanzania's Kigoma region. Only around 10 percent of the proceeds of sales through the JGI Web site will go to the Jane Goodall Institute, but Green Mountain is quick to point out that it is paying farmers above the fair-trade price of $1.26 per pound of coffee. (We couldn't tell if the coffee was actually certified by TransFair USA, though.)
"This is not a cause coffee," says Lindsay Bolger, director of coffee sourcing and relationships at Green Mountain says in a press release. "It's a partnership between public and nonprofit organizations to help consumers gain more awareness." Still, we wish a greater portion of the profit was going towards preserving and protecting chimpanzees.
Goodall notes that chimps don't drink coffee—they won't even eat the fruit or leaves, or hang around areas with densely grown coffee plants. That's a good thing, she says because coffee can "act as a buffer to protect chimps and people from each other," and minimize the exposure to infections that threatens chimps. Because the coffee is grown under shade cover, some of the growers in the cooperative have contributed 10 to 20 percent forest regeneration in their area.
The coffee itself is a medium roast described by Green Mountain's as having "an abundance of sun-drenched tropical fruits," while "tapping into elements of warm honey and milk chocolate." :: OneWorld US