Is drinking shade-grown coffee good for birds?

Birds like the Wood Thrush winter in areas that have been deforested and turned into coffee plantations. Is drinking "shade-grown" coffee enough to protect their habitat? Photo by Enola-Gay via Birdshare.
Birds like the Wood Thrush winter in areas that have been deforested and turned into coffee plantations. Is drinking “shade-grown” coffee enough to protect their habitat? Photo by Enola-Gay via Birdshare.

“Shade-grown” labels often appear on coffee, but these words are not regulated and they don’t tell you much about the actual growing conditions at the farm. Unfortunately, unless it is accompanied by a third-party certification stamp such as the Smithsonian’s “Bird Friendly” on the package, “shade-grown” is often just a marketing buzzword. Some farms grow shade coffee among sparse, heavily pruned trees or under banana crops. These farms often lack diverse forest structure, offer little habitat for songbirds, and require fertilizers and pesticides to keep the coffee growing.

Learn More

All About Birds is a free resource

Available for everyone,
funded by donors like you

Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin

Experience the Joy of Birdwatching online course for yourself, and we'll give you one free to send to a friend!

Just purchase the course for yourself, then look for an email from us with instructions to redeem your free gift course.