I enjoyed an amazing cup of coffee over the weekend. It was a ginger and turmeric latte with a delicious layer of foam and an artful leaf. I don’t usually get “fancy” with my coffee and I splurged on this one. It was worth it.
It got me thinking, though, about the importance of sustainable coffee. I love coffee and because the rest of the world does too, I wondered what the environmental impact of the coffee industry could be. So, I began to do some reading.
The world’s love of coffee is promoting inappropriate and unethical farming trends. Although coffee was once primarily grown in the shade, most now is being grown in full sun, meaning that many acres of forest must be cleared to grow it. Although the full-sun method allows for more plants to be grown close together, and aids in photosynthesis, it causes numerous environmental issues. Growing coffee in cleared patches requires farmers to use more pesticides because the natural bug-eating bats and birds have no trees in which to live. Additionally, cleared land encourages climate change, erosion, and wastewater runoff.
As a coffee lover, I want coffee to exist for a long time. It only will exist sustainably if consumers support full-shade growing operations. Take a stand with your wallet and look for the Rainforest Alliance seal on the coffee you buy. I know I will be looking at the coffee aisle differently from now on!