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Guest Post from Paul Webster: Bird Friendly Coffee in Colombia

Coffee! We all know how we like it, with milk, sugar or cream. But what do we know about how it is grown and what’s it got to do with birds?

 Last year we were fortunate to spend two weeks with Andres and Paola, a couple passionate about the environment who run a small coffee plantation near Cali in Colombia.

Andres and Paola welcomed us into their home and were delighted to show us all about their environmentally friendly activities as well as how they grow their coffee. It’s called Café de los Suenos, Coffee of dreams.

 They grow their coffee under the shade of native trees, these trees attract birds which feed on insect pests so they don’t need to use pesticides. The trees also help prevent erosion.

They told us coffee production uses a great deal of water in the washing processes and so they devote a lot of effort in treating the waste water to avoid contamination of nearby water sources.  They even use the husks from the beans as compost.  

Birds like the Canada Warbler are grateful to find shelter and food on their land, many other coffee plantations are bare of trees. It’s an essential refuge for the many birds that come down from North America to escape the harsh winters there.

We were in Colombia to make some films for Calidris, the Birdlife partner there. We had all our film-making kit with us so we made a short film about Café de los Suenos to say thank you to Andres and Paola for looking after us so well. Have a look at it here: 

See for yourself how they make their Shade Grown Coffee! When we got home the first thing we did was seek out Shade Grown Coffee and, whenever we drink our Bird and Wild coffee, we think of those warblers.


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