Whether does the shade grown coffee taste better or not, there are whole bunch of reasons why we should, as customers, opt for it.

Many species of living organisms are going extinct. Not just the polar bear that need a certain kind of climate to survive – but many bird and animal species too, that at some point, used to appear pretty common and regular are disappearing fast.
Reasons might be many. From changing climatic patterns to melting polar ice to rising sea levels the list is pretty long. But all are interconnected, one leading to the next. As the global carbon emission rose it gave rise to global warming. Increasing night time temperatures, abrupt rainfall patterns and increasing number of natural catastrophes all indicate that ecosystems are going out of balance. With polar ice melting not only the polar bear loses its habitat but many other plant and animal species, in other regions of the world are facing the same challenge too – because the factors are all interconnected.

What does this have to do with coffee? Doesn’t coffee have its own problems? Yes but the good news is coffee cultivation is offering all the good it can to the other living creatures – shade grown coffee, that is.

More than half of the types of birds found in North American are migratory birds. Migratory birds tend to breed in a different region and spend their non-breeding part of the year at a different place. We are speaking of long distance migratory birds here, so both; breeding and non-breeding grounds are fairly far apart. More than 300 North American bird species exhibit long distance migration and move to Central and South America to spend the months of winter, while getting back to North America for breeding.

Phothonotary Warbler migrates from Mississippi River to Central America.

Coffee farms in Central and South America that grow their coffee under the shade of different other trees, play a vital role in providing habitat for these migratory birds. As more and more land is cleared for agriculture, all sorts of birds (and animals) lose their habitat. While species that do not migrate from place to place is equally challenged for habitat, problems for the migratory birds are additional because they cover long, exhausting journey of thousands of miles every year. Telecom tower signals, city lights and tall buildings all have been messing with bird migration adding to the threatening factors.

Not only the shade grown coffee promotes natural methods of agriculture (extra help from pesticides and artificial fertilizers are not needed much) it also helps sustain the overall biodiversity of an area. Upon arrival in South and Central American regions not only the migratory birds find place to land in natural environment but a balanced, supported natural ecosystem that exists within these shade grown coffee farms providing them with food they come in search of.

Food of these birds can be different fruits, seeds, grains AND insects found on the farm and surroundings. What a beautiful way of Mother Nature to keep things in balance, keep diseases, pathogens and troubles in check by creating simple food chains. We, as human beings, are destroying our planet, the balance of nature, willingly or unwillingly. But we can at least be willing to make whatever difference we can. By supporting sustainable agricultural methods we are supporting the ecosystem. We can do that also by opting for shade grown coffee as a coffee consumer as often as possible.