Shade grown organic coffee promotes a circle of health encompassing the place where the coffee is grown, the producers who grow it, and those who drink it.
It is cultivated deep in the tropical forest, under the shade of large trees. Coffee bushes grow side by side with a wide variety of native shrubs and plants, in harmony with native wildlife such as the jaguar which strides by them, and thousands of different bird species which flutter in and around them. Because shade coffee grows within the existing forest ecosystem, it relies on the forest’s natural defenses, rather than chemicals, to keep pests under control. Shade coffee is relatively slow growing, but its slow growth allows it to slowly build up optimal coffee flavors. The great disadvantage of shade organic coffee is that it grows more slowly than sun coffee, requires more manual labor to cultivate, and is therefore more costly
By contrast, the cultivation of sun-grown coffee starts with the cutting down of native tropical forests, followed by intensive monoculture of coffee crops. This form of agriculture produces very high yields at low cost, but it usually requires large amounts of pesticides to control abundant pests and weeds, and artificial fertilizers to boost its nutrient-stripped soils. It uses large volumes of water, requiring about 37 gallons of water to grow enough coffee beans to make just one cup of coffee. Birds and other native wildlife tend to avoid sun coffee plantations. Much of Colombia and Brazil’s tropical forests have been cut down to make way for sun coffee plantations, eliminating habitat for thousands of species, and contributing to global warming. The Natural Resources Defense Council has produced an authoritative report on the environmental dimensions of coffee production which discusses many of these issues in more detail.
The U.S. FDA and GAO has previously documented the use of DDT, BHC, Chlordane, and Endosulfan in sun coffee cultivation. A number of studies indicate that coffee producers have suffered severe health effects as a result of working with pesticides. However, because there is no disclosure required on coffee bags of the chemicals used in the production of sun-grown non-organic coffee, and there is no regular testing for chemicals, the consumer just can’t know what chemicals were used in the cultivation of their non-organic sun coffee.
Scientific literature is increasingly reporting that coffee benefits health. For example, a recent report from the Harvard School of Public Health highlights research findings showing that coffee helps prevent diabetes, certain cancers, and even cardiovascular disease. To drink coffee with confidence that it will boost your health, it is best to drink shade grown organic coffee, which offers all the health benefits of coffee, without the downside risks of possible chemical ingestion.
Shade grown organic coffee is a pure, magical and mysterious substance, offering those who partake in ita deep and healthy connection to the earth and forest in which it was grown.