Haste Makes Waste: Sun-Grown Coffee
We get asked often to explain the difference between sun-grown coffee and shade-grown coffee? What’s the big deal?! Well as it turns out: A LOT! We only buy and roast shade-grown coffee at Dean’s Beans and today we wanted to share some important differences in coffee production and highlight why we make that choice.
From a mass production level, sun-grown coffee is faster growing and more prolific. It is the metaphorical rabbit of coffee (if you think of good ole Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and The Hare.) It boasts high production levels which meets the bottom line of more, more, more. While production is significantly higher in sun-grown coffee, so is the waste. Sun-grown coffee requires a LOT more water, fertilizer, pesticides and degrades ecosystems. For example, sun-grown coffee trees are typically productive for less than 15 years, while shade-grown coffee trees may yield fruit for 30 years or more.Toxic water runoff is the aftermath of treating new sun tolerant coffee bushes since they often require chemical fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. Finally, farmers have been encouraged to replace their traditional and supposedly inefficient farming methods with the higher yielding technique of sun cultivation, which has resulted in over 2.5 million acres of forest being cleared in Central America alone to make way for coffee farming in this way.
So, while shade-grown coffee (the tortoise in our tale of coffee production) may be slower it also requires less water, supports greater biodiversity, sustains healthy eco-systems and allows farmers economic diversification. Plus it tastes great!