Save the Birds: Drink Shade Grown Coffee! Available at Quinta Mazatlan
Do you love coffee? I know that I do! It can be tough for a lot of us to make it through a day without it…but did you know that coffee drinking can be an (environmentally) dirty habit?
Traditionally grown coffee is farmed in tropical areas, and is planted after clearing out everything in the forest and creating, where diverse rainforest once was, a bare field. The coffee trees are planted with full access to the sunlight. Any habitat that had been available for our migratory birds to spend the winter in is now gone, so that we can get our caffeine fix every morning.
Many migratory birds spend the summer in the United States and migrate to Central and South America for the winter. In the United States, there is an effort to conserve wild lands for the birds, but in other countries, the effort isn’t so easy. If migratory birds don’t have enough food and habitat to survive the winter, it won’t matter how many acres we preserve in the United States. Our efforts will be futile, because the migratory bird populations will be limited by the suitability of their wintering habitat.
However, there is a solution! As it turns out, 40 years ago, most coffee was grown in the shade. Clearing rainforests for sun-grown coffee is a fairly recent happening—done to speed production, and increase profit to farmers. So, coffee trees do not actually need full sun to grow. Environmentally conscious farmers have recently begun to revert to growing coffee trees in the understory of the forest—with a huge diversity of native trees growing above the coffee trees. One study found 180 species of birds using a shade-grown coffee plantation, and only 12 species using a sun-grown one! Additionally, much of this shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee is also organic! No pesticides are used—which means the birds have plenty of insects to feed on—AND the beans themselves are free of pesticides and healthier for us humans! Plus, the prolonged growth of the beans allows for more sugar development and gives the coffee more complex flavors. It’s a win-win situation for all.
At Quinta Mazatlan, we have begun selling organic, shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee. Come in for a free taste test, then buy a bag or two to brew at home. The birds, and your taste buds, will thank you for it!