Shade Grown Coffee – it’s for the birds

15 01 2009

ABA - Shade Grown Coffee

ABA - Shade Grown Coffee

If you are, like me, someone who needs a couple of cups of joe before you set off for some dawn birding then perhaps it’s time to think where your coffee comes from.  There was a great article in Birdwatchers Digest this month by Ken Kaufman about the impact the type of coffee we purchase has on birds and specifically the benefit to birds of supporting shade grown coffee growers.

Shade grown coffee is better for wildlife as the plantations are much less disruptive to the native flora and fauna (growing as it does in the understory of a forest, whereas sun coffee requires complete deforestation) and it is also less likely to be as intensively farmed (with pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers etc etc that sun grown coffee  requires to be viable). Other benefits are that purchasing shade-grown coffee tends to support smaller coffee growers and be much better tasting as the beans grow slower, which apparently enhances their taste. You can buy shade grown coffee from the ABA here and there is more information from the Smithsonian here.

Perhaps we need to encourage the Dunkin Donuts at Frash Pond to start carrying a more bird friendly blend, I swear birders make up half of their winter clientele.