What Is Shade Grown Coffee?
Shade-grown coffee is an organic coffee grown under a canopy of taller trees. Conventionally, coffee grown under such conditions has a wide array of benefits. Nonetheless, the race of making extra bucks has resulted in cultivation under limited or no shade and the use of pesticides and fertilizers to boost yields.
Types of Shade Grown Coffee
The amount of shade provided distinguishes the types of shade-grown coffee as discussed below:
- Rustic: This type requires less removal of the native plants. It is the less interfering method that requires minimal management and no pest control especially using non-natural techniques.
- Traditional polyculture: In this type, coffee is grown with other internationally planted crops below natural ecosystems. It is more invasive than the rustic method as there is more removal of the native plants. Farmers harvest coffee as well as other additional crops such as fruits, vegetables, or medicinal crops.
- Commercial polyculture: It mimics traditional polyculture in that coffee is planted with other crop species. The only variation is the eradication of foliage to expand space to grow coffee plants. Trees and canopies are pruned to create more room and incorporate some fertilizers and pesticides.
- Shaded monoculture: It involves dense planting of coffee plants that are monitored under close management. Shaded monoculture requires one or two types of trees that are periodically pruned. In addition, there is massive removal of the native plant to provide extra space for coffee plants.
- Unshaded monoculture: There are only a few isolated trees that exposes coffee plants to direct sunlight. This means that it requires a limited canopy, and the method utilizes a high level of pest control. In unshaded monoculture, the native trees are extremely eradicated.
Benefits of Shaded Grown Coffee
Shaded grown coffee has demonstrated higher benefits than typical coffee types. Such benefits have been articulated below:
- Remarkable taste. Shade-grown coffee takes time to ripen, which results in a more complex taste. Additionally, it has more flavor than typical coffee types.
- Conserves natural ecosystem. It is grown in a natural ecosystem that contributes and benefits from the system. A shaded environment provides numerous nutrients to the coffee plants and also the soil. A natural ecosystem has natural predators that help in pest control.
- Preservation of water resources. Coffee plants help trap runoff water which conserves and purifies water supplies. It also curbs erosion, and coffee plants require minimal or no irrigation.
- Maintaining an atmospheric balance. Shaded grown coffee promotes atmospheric balance and helps minimize deforestation, which negatively impacts the environment.
Is shade-grown coffee better?
This coffee type is better for the environment and usage as it requires little or no chemical usage. It also has a superior taste and flavor.
How do I know if my coffee is shade-grown?
You can identify whether coffee is shade-grown by checking phrases such as fair trade, certified organic, bird-friendly, among others, on the label.
What are the benefits of shade-grown coffee?
Shade-grown coffee has a great taste and has numerous advantages to the environment, such as combating deforestation, preserving water resources, and maintaining an atmospheric balance.
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