Guilt-Free Coffee: Drink Organic Coffee.
Here’s why it is so important for you to drink organic coffee: We don’t like to think that our daily habits might negatively affect our environment. Our consumption of coffee is a good example: coffee plantations are destroying our rain forests. But Hold ON! Before you “click off” of this post, thinking that it’s going to be some environmental sermon, let me tell you the good news: you can continue to consume your favorite brew and still feel good about it.
There is one simple thing that you can do that will reduce those negative effects on our environment. I will cut to the bottom line to save you some time: drink only organic coffee that is shade-grown. It may or may not actually be USDA certified organic, because many of the farmers who use organic farming principles run very small plantations. They grow and harvest coffee in the shade of the larger trees of the rainforest or the highlands.
The irony is that these small, organic farmers are often so small that they simply cannot afford the time, money, and effort to become “certified” by the USDA, or the Rainforest Alliance, or USA Fair Trade. But please make every effort to buy organic, shade-grown coffee! Here’s why …
Let me get the bad news out of the way:
- Our beautiful earth has less than 50% of its rain forests remaining
- Brazil, home of the Amazon rain forest, produces more coffee than the next 5 coffee-producing countries combined
- It is estimated that 25% of South American rain forests have been destroyed for coffee production
The crazy thing is that the original, native coffee plant requires shade in order to grow; it grows best in the “understory” of larger trees. The original, native coffee plant prefers cooler highlands, and doesn’t grow well in the heat of the rainforest or tropics.
So, instead of cutting down the rainforest trees to make way for coffee plantations, the original Coffea arabica coffee should have been planted in the shade of those trees.
Hybrids. Cultivars. Coffea robusta
But instead of growing the original, native coffee, the rain forests were cut down, the timber was sold off, and a sun-and-heat-resistant coffee hybrid (“cultivar”) was developed to grow on these clear-cut plantations. Coffee that can withstand direct sunlight and warmer climates. Take a look at the photos below and compare the two types of plantations (the last three photos are of typical clear-cut coffee plantations).
It is estimated that 11 Million acres of stripped land are used for coffee production. Again, the estimate is that about 25% of South American rain forests have been lost to coffee production.
I admit, those are discouraging statistics.
Here is the Good News:
There is one simple thing that you can do to prevent further destruction of rain forests for coffee plantations.
Here it is … simply drink organic coffee.
Specifically, shade-grown, organic coffee. If you’re lucky, you might even find a coffee that is Rainforest Alliance certified, too. Or even Smithsonian “Bird-friendly.”
Yes, there are coffee growers who continue to produce the original, shade-loving coffee. Growers who abide by organic practices.
Our kind of coffee. YOUR kind of coffee.
Growing coffee in this way – organically, without clearing the land, without using chemical pesticides or herbicides – maintains our rain forests. Organically-grown coffee maintains soil biodiversity and nutrients. That biodiversity eliminates the need for chemical herbicides and pesticides.
Can YOU SEE the difference?
Compare those photos above with the following typical coffee plantation, clear-cutting the rainforest, and using pesticides and herbicides:
This is what the deforestation looks like from a NASA satellite:
What Does Organic Shade-Grown Coffee Mean For YOU?
4 Reasons for YOU to Drink Organic Coffee
- Your cup of organic coffee comes without a metallic or chemical aftertaste.
- It means that your cup of coffee also comes without cancer-causing pesticide residue.
- And perhaps just as important: your cup of organic coffee comes knowing that you are not contributing to deforestation of our rain forests!
- And, if your coffee came from Sacred Herbals, you know that your cup of coffee comes from farmers and workers who are treated well, and compensated fairly for their labor; they are treated with dignity.
Our Goal: Maximum Enjoyment With Minimum Footprint.
Now, you can Sip Your Coffee and Smile … coffee from plantations that treat our earth, and their workers, with dignity.
If all of us coffee-drinkers simply switched to coffee produced by those growers, we might be able to halt further deforestation for coffee plantations.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful?! Imagine …
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- Image of “Shade-grown, organic coffee,” and coffee beans, from www.depositphotos.com.
- Image of “Grower inspecting coffee grown in the shade …,” from wikimedia, used under Creative Commons License: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coffee_Plant_near_the_Quilal%C3%AD_-_San_Juan_del_R%C3%ADo_Coco_border..jpg
- Image of clear-cut deforestation for coffee plantations, Hawaii, from Earth Observatory, NASA
- Image of Deforestation of Amazon for farming, from Image Credit: http://www.rainforests.net/pictures.htm
This post doesn’t even touch on the proven health benefits of coffee. Even more reason to drink coffee guilt-free :))
Stay tuned for that next …