Shade-Grown Coffee: Noting the Coffee Bean’s Original Ecosystem
Few products in your local grocery store have as many “labels” as coffee. Pick up almost any bag of coffee and you will see words like “organic,” “fair trade,” “hand-picked,” and others. Another common term you might come across is “shade-grown.”
While it might be easy to tell what the previous listed adjectives might mean for the coffee contained inside the bag, shade-grown can be a little more confusing to the average coffee drinker. What is shade-grown coffee, what does the distinction actually mean, and is it preferable over other types of coffee?
What Is Shade-Grown Coffee?
When a bag says “shade-grown coffee,” it is simply the brand’s way of notifying you of the kind of ecosystem the beans were grown in. For casual coffee drinkers, this ecosystem might not be important, but to coffee enthusiasts and eco-warriors, it is very important.
Growers of shade-grown coffee grow their coffee plants in the environment they traditionally came from, under a canopy of assorted shade trees. This means the plants live and grow side by side and root by root with other complimentary plants. The shade provides benefits for not only the coffee, but also for the ecosystem.
How Shade-Grown Coffee Benefits the Environment
Shade-grown coffee farms grow their coffee plants under a variety of different types and heights of trees to imitate a natural forest. This is done on purpose to create an ecologically diverse environment that naturally protects the coffee plants from pests and disease while at the same time allowing birds, insects, and other plants to thrive. Shade-grown coffee farms also help prevent soil erosion and help remove carbon from the atmosphere.
By comparison, when coffee is grown in the full sun, chemical pesticides are used to help prevent pests and disease from affecting the crop. Also, when coffee is grown in full sun, the crops tend to be planted in such a way that they grow at a higher density. This places the crop and the surrounding ecosystem under unnecessary stress and further incentivizes deforestation.
What’s the Difference Between Shade-Grown and Sun-Grown Coffee?
Besides the environment they are grown in, there is a significant difference in quality between coffee that’s been grown in the shade and coffee that has been grown in the sun. Most shade-grown coffee is what is known as Coffea arabica (Arabica coffee), while most sun-grown coffee is known as Coffea canephora (Robusta coffee).
Robusta beans are considered by coffee enthusiasts to be of lower quality than Arabica for the simple reason that it has inferior taste. The fact that Arabica coffee tastes better and benefits the environment makes it a no-brainer pick for anyone who appreciates a full-flavored cup of coffee.
Stock Up on Shade-Grown Coffee From Some of the World’s Best Growers
The Exotic Bean is your source for premium shade-grown coffee from some of the world’s best growers. Shop our incredible selection and treat yourself or someone you care deeply about to a bag of the world’s finest coffee. Order yourself a bag of this premium coffee today and enjoy the tastiest and most environmentally responsible coffee available.