Friday, March 21, 2008

What's in your coffee cup?

I've mentioned it a zillion times here on my blog and I'll say it again... you need to be drinking sustainable, shade grown coffee. That means no Dunkin' Donuts, no Folgers, no Tim Hortons (for you northerners), and many other brands. When I tell people about sustainable and shade grown coffee, a few topics always come up:

  • "I don't know where to buy it." - You'll find a bigger variety if you order it online, yes. But, you can get it in most supermarkets nowadays too. The best selection is at stores like Whole Foods and other specialty food markets.
  • "Shade grown coffee is too expensive." - Is it more expensive than Folger's? Yes. Is it truly that much more expensive when you factor in the environmental impact? The great blog Coffee & Conservation has a "per cup" cost calculator so you can compare your coffee purchases to how much it costs to buy shade grown. It'll also tell you how much of a mark-up your paying for that cup of Starbucks.
  • "I don't understand the different labels on coffee - shade grown, fair trade, Rainforest Alliance, etc." - I get confused too. I'll turn to Coffee & Conservation again for the full scoop on certification labels. For the most bird-friendly coffee, look for the Smithsonian Bird Friendly Coffee logo.

I sometimes feel like I'm preaching to the choir here on this blog. Probably 90% of my readers already know what I wrote above. But, hopefully, the other 10% out there will learn something and hopefully the other 90% can pass along their knowledge to others.

13 comments:

Birdfreak said...

Great post! You can never talk about this too much in my opinion.

Good birding to you!

Born Again Bird Watcher said...

From the choir: "Hallelujah!"

By the way, you've been tagged with the Six Word Memior Meme: http://www.bornagainbirdwatcher.com/2008/03/my-life-in-six-words.html

Rick said...

Good entry Patrick, I drink and buy Bishops Blend coffee from the Episcopal Church. It is a Fair Trade, Organic, Shade Grown Coffee. It is really great stuff and it can be used as a source of income for local churches. All in all a really good deal.

Beth said...

Just keep preachin', Baby. You can never have too much education out there.

BirdBarista said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Pat.

Rick: Ask to find out exactly where your coffee comes from. Many church groups are affiliated with Costa Rican coffee; the government there allows coffee to be labeled "shade grown" even if there are only a few heavily pruned shade trees per hectare. There are no certified Bird-Friendly coffees grown in Costa Rica.

Anonymous said...

The Bishops Blend comes from Indonesia, Ethiopia and Central America I seriously doubt that is it falsely labeled.

Rick

Rick said...

I have done a little more looking "Google type" and the Costa Rican coffee is indeed shade grown as I was sure it was. The Episcopal Relief and development agency is very socially aware.

LauraHinNJ said...

Gosh... but I love Dunkin Donuts!

(sulk)

Patrick Belardo said...

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news Laura! I won't even mention the impact of that cup they give you the coffee in...

dguzman said...

I'm with birdfreak--you really can't say enough about this topic. We can get a fair trade, organic shade-grown coffee right at our local grocery store; thankfully, even the smaller towns' grocery stores are getting hip to the shade-grown/natural movement.

Texas Travelers said...

Shade grown rules. Keep talking. Thanks for the cost link. Troy

BirdBarista said...

There is no legal definition of "shade coffee," and there are many "shades" of "shade." Most Costa Rican coffee labeled shade grown is not grown under diverse shade necessary to preserve biodiversity. Here are 2 articles that might help (if this is okay with Patrick!):

Coffee growing in Costa Rica (http://tinyurl.com/yox2kg)

What is shade-grown coffee? (http://tinyurl.com/38lelg)

Patrick Belardo said...

Thanks BB! Every bit of info helps to educate.