Sun Grown vs Shade Grown Coffee - Spot The Difference
Sun Grown Coffee
Use chemical fertilisers ✔
Apart from coffee, there is little other plants and trees to absorb water during heavy rains, so the fertilisers are leached out and pollute the water courses. This in turn erodes the soil.
Use chemical pesticides ✔
Pesticides protect the coffee from pests including birds, insects and other animals. This helps increase coffee yields due to a reduction in wastage. Unfortunately, the lack of biodiversity means there’s no food for birds to feed on, so sun grown plantations have almost no biodiversity whatsoever.
Sun grown coffee ✔
The clue is in the name – coffee does not naturally grow in the sun, but when planted in direct sunlight, it grows very fast allowing two harvests a year and higher yields. Unfortunately, the sun burns the soil that is now out into the open and rapidly degrades the soil and increases erosion. Unfortunately, this system destroys the soil health and requires ever greater fertilisers to maintain yields. A viscous circle. Eventually, this soil will no longer be suitable for coffee growing and the coffee farmer will move on – very possibly to virgin land.
Mechanised system with “roads” in between coffee plant rows ✔
Very often rainforest is deforested for high density open planting over huge areas of land – the ultimate industrialised agriculture sytem. The “roads” in between the coffee plant rows are used for machine to mechanically harvest, thereby reducing local employment by up to 90% in some cases.
No other plants ✔
Sun grown coffee plantations are monocultures. This is the most efficient method to maximise yield and profits. This means there is no or little habitat for other animals, including migrating birds, to settle or feed there.
Shade Grown & Bird Friendly Organic Plantations
There are no chemical fertilisers or pesticides used on shade grown bird friendly coffee plantations.
This prevents leaching of fertilisers into water courses and allows a rich biodiversity for animals, including birds, to feed on.
Shade grown land is typically three to four times higher in biodiversity than sun grown coffee plantations!
Shade Grown ✔
Coffee is grown in the shade of various trees and bushes. Coffee grows naturally in the shade and this is essentially how coffee grows in the wild.
This helps protect the land from the burning sun and allows the plantation to flourish for generations without soil degradation or erosion.
Likewise, drainage is improved due to the increased tree cover, which protects leaching of the soil.
Bird Friendly ✔
Shade Grown Bird Friendly coffee plantations are the ideal environment for birds, including migrating birdlife, because there is both habitat and biodiversity for feeding.
Furthermore, these plantations are here for the long term allowing migrating birds to flourish and return year after year.