The growth and cultivation of coffee plants have seen a number of changes over the years, resulting in a different impact on the environment. Every American counselors coffee to be a popular social beverage and a wonderful way to start the day, but many people do not consider where their Java may come from, and what type of effect it has on the environment!
For this reason, many coffee companies have begun to create specialized styles of coffee that work to benefit the environment instead of affecting it negatively. Many of these coffee companies are created to have a conscience, and even the leading coffee brand, Starbucks, has begun to contribute to environmentally friendly coffee growing practices. Some examples of this are shade grown, organic, and fair trade coffee practices. In fact, socially responsible coffee growing styles are used in over 40 countries, including Mexico, Peru, and Ethiopia.
Shade grown coffee is where the coffee trees are cultivated under the shade of larger trees, which creates a natural habitat for native insects and animals within the ecosystem. This offers a climate that is temperate to promote the growth of the coffee trees, and all of the leaves from the larger shade trees that fall to the ground work to fertilize the soil. Many times, these coffee farmers will also use computed coffee pulp as opposed to harmful chemical fertilizers, making it even better for the environment. Within this system, coffee crops will typically be rotated among other crops, which will create an additional income for the coffee farmer.
Sun grown coffee is another alternative to increase the yield of the average coffee crop. Sun cultivation is not a preferred method that is friendly to the environment because trees must be cut down, and it also uses pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This creates a number of environmental issues, such as pollution, destruction of ecosystems, deforestation, and soil degradation. However, up to 40% of the plantations in Latin America have begun to use sun farming techniques, which may soon replace the shade grown style of coffee cultivation. This will cause a negative impact on the environment, with detrimental effects from this coffee growing practice that include the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and harmful chemicals to help the coffee beans thrive under the harsh rays of the sun.
One thing to keep in mind is that it is also important to choose fair trade coffee that is shade grown, which guarantees a set wage to the farmer. Shade grown coffee calls for more labor than sun grown coffee cultivation, making it important for the farmer to be protected through fair trade practices.
When you begin to make educated choices as American coffee drinker, this is your opportunity to still enjoy a delicious cup of Joe while also benefiting the environment! There is no reason to turn a blind eye to the coffee practices being utilized worldwide that may or may not affect the environment for the worse. The choice is up to you!