Why Choose Bird & Wild Coffee? – With the huge selection of coffee choices and varieties on the market, it can be a challenge to make a decision on the best one to buy. To simplify this process there are a number of routine questions you first must consider when making your purchase:
How you are going to make your coffee: a pour-over/drip brew, a French press, or perhaps a Stovetop Pot. You will need to decide whether you require pre-ground or beans and what strength of coffee you are looking for.
Not only am I looking for incredible taste, smoothness, and character to my coffee, like many, I also like a ‘feel good’ story behind my purchase and having recently been introduced to Bird & Wild Coffee the makers of shade-grown bird-friendly coffee; I was intrigued.
Their mission is to not only bring us great flavoured coffee but also support the RSPB and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre as well as the Fairtrade Foundation. So, in a nutshell, Bird & Wild Coffee is pleasing to the palate, protects the environment, and provides a safe and reliable habitat for migrating birds for generations to come.
What is shade grown Coffee?
By being Shade Grown, a variety of native shade trees are grown throughout the coffee plantation. The combination of foliage cover, tree height, and animal diversity provides suitable migratory bird habitat while maintaining productive farms.
Traditionally, coffee was grown commercially under other trees that provided shade. Indeed, in its natural wild state, coffee much prefers shade in the heat of the tropics.
However, since the 1970s, new sun-tolerant coffee plants have been developed with the aim to yield higher production rates to produce larger yields through higher-density, open planting over huge areas of land.
Unfortunately, this cultivation practices of open planting are completely unsustainable, destroys the land through overexposure to the sun, and has a negative impact on the environment that is not talked enough about.
As a result of environmental degradation, the concept of Shade Grown Coffee, a return to traditional coffee farming, was born. A canopy of assorted types of shade trees is created to cultivate shade-grown coffee, which incorporates principles of natural ecology to promote natural ecological relationships.
The forest-like structure of shade coffee farms provides habitat for a great number of migratory and resident birds, reptiles, ants, butterflies, bats, plants and other organisms. Actually, of all agricultural land uses, shade-grown coffee supports the highest diversity of migratory birds, native flora and fauna.
Here are some facinating facts about Shade Grown Coffee:
It helps plant diversity with typically 90 to 120 species of plant and 13 to 58 species of tree on a single site. Herb diversity is typically 3 to 4 times higher as well.
It helps insect diversity with 609 species of insect found in a Shade Grown Coffee site in Mexico.
It helps both native and migratory bird species diversity. For example, 184 bird species (including 46 migratory bird species) were found on a single Shade Grown Coffee site in Mexico. This compares with as few as 6-12 bird species found in unshaded coffee monocultures.
Shade Grown Coffee promotes mammal diversity. For example, a Shade Grown Coffee site in India found 28 species of mammals in one site alone.
Many species of bees are attracted to shaded polycultures that have a variety of flowering plants in addition to coffee. In a shade-grown study in Indonesia, bee populations rose by 90%.
It protects soil. The presence of canopy and midstory vegetation in shaded polycultures helps reduce soil erosion as well stabilize steep, mountainous slopes.
So, the conclusion here is greater densities of birds, mammals, plants, trees and insects are found in shade-grown coffee sites than in local natural habitats. This is most likely due to the greater abundances of bird-dispersed fruit trees, flowering plants, and insects found in the shade sites.
The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in the United States has developed the only 100% Organic and Shade Grown coffee certification in the world called Bird Friendly Certification.
No other bag guarantees that every bean is produced organically and under a high-quality shade, ensuring tropical “agroforests” are preserved and migratory birds find a healthy haven when they travel from northern climes to those faraway farms producing the beans.
With widespread clear-cutting for sun coffee plantations, it’s imperative to protect the tropical forest that remains and rehabilitate degraded ecosystems.
Every cup of Bird Friendly coffee you drink encourages more farmers to grow in the shade, which is good for birds and for people.
What are the benefits of being organic?
By being Organic, it means managing a healthy soil base and applying no harmful pesticides to the coffee that could otherwise runoff into streams and rivers. This helps reduce the billions of pounds of noxious chemicals injected annually into natural ecosystems that support wildlife and communities.
In the UK through their partnership with the RSPB Charity Bird & Wild donate 6% of all sales to the RSPB.
There is more information on the website about Bird & Wild Coffee which you can find here.