Shade Grown Coffee Benefits

Organic coffee is a better choice than regular coffee. This is because organic coffee has all of the benefits of coffee and none of the impurities than can be found in a regular cup or java. And shade grown coffee is often a better choice than plain organic. Why is this? What are the shade grown coffee benefits that convince us to buy shade grown instead of organic or regular coffee?


There are many shade grown coffee benefits including preservation of biodiversity and a better cup of coffee.

Shade Grown Coffee


Shade Grown Coffee Benefits

  • Gourmet coffee
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Preservation of biodiversity
  • Soil preservation as a priority
  • Commitment to responsible land management

Shade Grown Coffee Benefits 1: Shade grown is gourmet coffee

A couple of years ago we wrote about gourmet coffee and what that means.

In general gourmet coffee is characterized by high quality beans and skillful preparation. In the world of coffee many consider Jamaican Blue Mountain, Kona from Hawaii, select organic coffees from Panama and Arabic coffee from Colombia as being of high gourmet quality. But there is more to the story.

Growing coffee in the shade results in a finer coffee. This is similar to growing coffee at higher altitudes. The beans mature more slowly and with deeper and richer flavor.

Shade Grown Coffee Benefits 2: Sustainable Agriculture

The ideal way to grow coffee in the shade is to plant coffee within an existing forest. Mother Nature takes care of the rest. In this ideal situation there are no herbicides, fungicides, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. This is organic coffee at its finest.

Forested coffee farms are bio-rich buffer zones for plants, flowers and wildlife that are at risk as a result of deforestation and poor land management. Planting coffee under the existing forest canopy results in a high quality coffee. And income from selling the shade grown coffee helps the farmer keep the land in its original pristine condition.

Without having to resort to the use of synthetic fertilizers or other chemicals the natural plants are all preserved. And the water table is not polluted. Sustainable agriculture is one of the best shade grown coffee benefits.


Shade grown coffee benefits the enviroment by preserving biodiversity and soil quality. It benefits you with a gourmet cup of coffee.

Coffee in the Shade


Shade Grown Coffee Benefits 3: Preservation of biodiversity

On a regular coffee farm the land is cleared for planting. At best the farmer may intersperse plantain within the coffee growing area. This provides shade and helps prevent erosion. But when the natural forest is cleared for coffee planting a huge number of species of plant life and animals are lost.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute studies biodiversity and more in regard to the tropics, the areas where coffee is grown.

The most conspicuous trait of tropical ecosystems is their high biodiversity. A few hectares of tropical rainforest may be home to more species of plants, fungi, animals and microorganisms than all of the United States and Canada combined.

And when the rainforest is cleared to plant coffee almost all of the plant and animal species that lived there are lost. Shade grown coffee benefits include preservation of biodiversity.

Shade Grown Coffee Benefits 4: Soil preservation

When a bio system is left alone the plants grow and they die. They return to the soil to provide nutrients for the next generation. Bacteria and fungi find their place in the ecosystem and in turn each generation provides nutrients for the next. Animals including insects help pollinate plants and provide nitrogen rich fertilizer as well. Over many years the soil builds up and provides a habitat for all that live there. Shade grown coffee is simply part of the system and lends to preservation of soil and biodiversity which is not the case with most commercial coffee farms.

Shade Grown Coffee Benefits 5: Responsible land management comes first

Especially when most coffee is grown using commercial farming practices, shade grown coffee has great value. Forested coffee farms are bio-rich buffer zones for plants, flowers and wildlife that are at risk as a result of deforestation and poor land management elsewhere.

Responsible land management by shade grown coffee farmers provides habitat for a wide variety of species. And it provides a refuge for those displaced by deforestation elsewhere.

On a regular commercial coffee farm the farmer needs to constantly watch his financial bottom line. The price of regular coffee is set in the futures market in New York. And the price the farmer gets for his regular coffee is set by supply and demand.

Because shade grown coffee is gourmet coffee and typically organic coffee it commands a higher price. This allows the smart farmer to put responsible land management first. And in so doing, he preserves the land for continued production of high quality, gourmet and organic shade grown coffee.

What is preserved when coffee is grown in the shade of the rain forest?

The tree canopy is the uppermost layer in the forest habitat. The canopy has many different types of tree species of varying heights, branch height, tree architecture and leaf size. These trees provide shade for coffee plants. They are home for birds, bats and many other natural organisms beneficial to the habitat.

Epiphytes are a group of plants that grow on other plants, usually trees, instead of growing in the ground. Orchids, ferns, bromeliads, and lichen are epiphytes. They do not take resources directly from the plant on which they live.

Neotropical migratory birds that breed in Canada and the USA during the summer and spend winters in the Americas or the Caribbean islands, favor epiphytes for nesting, water, and food. Neotropical birds include, for example, All Black-capped Vireos and Lucy’s Warblers, some Painted Buntings, Northern Parulas, and Gray Catbirds.

Coffee plantations with more epiphytes have more canopy cover and more arthropod insects such as grasshoppers, butterflies, ants, beetles, and others. Is this good? Yes, arthropod insects are beneficial for the environment and are an important food source for the birds.


One of the nicest shade grown coffee benefits is preservation of habitat for birds like the Tangara Gyrola that lives around Manizales, Caldas, Colombia

Tangara Gyrola, Colombia

Shade Grown Coffee Benefits PPT

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