Organic Shade Grown Coffee

If you are looking for the best coffee, the best healthy organic coffee, you are probably looking for organic shade grown coffee. As the name implies, shade grown organic coffee is grown in the shade of a tree canopy. These habitats are commonly in a cloudy part of a mountain range. Coffee growers plant coffee where there are already trees or plant coffee along with a variety of shade trees. This sustainable agricultural practice results in high quality organic coffee. Birds nest in the shade trees which are the cornerstone of this healthy habitat. Many coffee farmers plant plantain or fruit trees along with their coffee. This practice provides shade for the coffee and a secondary crop or two to harvest. Look for USDA, UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification when you want organic shade grown coffee. Unfortunately, there are many coffee farmers who simply harvest coffee that grows in the forest and sell locally because they cannot afford fees necessary to gain official USDA organic coffee certification of their product. The United States Department of Agriculture certifies organic shade grown coffee through its many offshore affiliates but the USDA does not help a small grower in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia or Ecuador to find buyers. On the other hand both UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance work with coffee farmers to help them market their products.

UTZ Organic Shafe Grown Coffee

UTZ Organic Shade Grown Coffee

UTZ Organic Shade Grown Coffee

The long term goals of UTZ are good agricultural practices, safe and healthy working conditions, abolishment of child labor, and environmental protection. A UTZ grower learns to do the following and then continues to do what is needed.

  • Reduce and prevent soil erosion
  • Keep records of fertilizer and chemical use and use these products responsibly
  • Follow good farming practices including integrated pest management
  • Avoid deforestation
  • Protect water sources, native and endangered species
  • Use native fauna for shade grown coffee
  • Train workers properly in their own language
  • Implement and follow through on health and safety requirements
  • Teach and require good hygiene

UTZ follows coffee from planting to the roaster, carries out yearly inspections and promotes the organic shade grown coffee brands of its clients.

Rainforest Alliance Organic Shade Grown Coffee

Rainforest Alliance Organic Shade Grown Coffee

Rain Forest Alliance Organic Shade Grown Coffee

An alternative to organic coffee certification is for a grower to be Rainforest Alliance certified. The Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization that works to conserve biodiversity. It does so for agricultural products by influencing consumers to buy what is good for the environment and good for small farmers. Rainforest Alliance certified means that the coffee that you buy was produced using good land use practices. Rainforest Alliance certified coffee is part of a broader sustainable agriculture program of  tropical crops, including coffee, bananas, cocoa, oranges, cut flowers, ferns, and tea. Certified coffee farms meet a strict set of environmental standards that include preservation of the ecosystem and reduction in use of synthetic chemicals of all sorts. Like UTZ, Rain Forest Alliance helps its clients promote their organic shade grown coffee brands.

For help finding small growers of organic shade grown coffee deal with people who work where it is grown. Contact Buy Organic Coffee for more info.

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