By Bob Fish

Shade-Grown Coffee simply refers to a method of farming coffee. Interplanting coffee with taller, shade producing trees provides a canopy from direct sunlight onto the coffee crop. Expectable percentages of shade range from 30% to 60%.

Shade-grown coffee is considered higher quality than non-shade grown. It also has a massive ecological upside, can be healthier, and is considered sustainable for the planet.

Higher quality because it slows the ripening of the green coffee cherry (the cherry gets picked when red) resulting in increased levels of natural sugars that enhance the flavor of the coffee beans.

Ecological upside because it creates a diverse habitat for the plants themselves, insects (especially bees), birds, mammals, and the soil micro-biome. That diversity reduces the need for chemicals, reduces erosion, and creates a carbon sink on the canopy floor.

Healthier because there is little or no need for the use of chemical pesticides or fertilization.

So put a little shade in your cup! It’s good for you and good for the planet.

Shade-Grown coffee at the El Recreo Coffee Farm in Jinotega, Nicaragua

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