The best coffee is grown the traditional way— slowly, under a canopy of shade from taller native hardwood trees. Shade-grown coffees are carefully tended, harvested, and processed by people who know and love coffee, and who depend on it for their livelihoods.
Traditional shade-grown coffee really is a win for everyone: amazing coffee flavors, a fair wage for the coffee farmers’ hard work, and a lush natural habitat for migratory birds. So much good comes from a just cup of coffee.
The history of shade
By 1996, the United States forests had run out of hardwoods such as oak, ash, maple, cherry, and all the wild fruit and nut trees. These are important woods used in furniture making, home building, veneers for plywood, doors, window frames and a host of other minor but important uses.
The timber industry needed another source of hardwood, so they targeted the temperate rainforests where coffee was grown. The coffee tree is a shade loving plant that withers in the sun and needs shade to be a healthy producer of coffee fruit. Mahogany, and a dozen other hardwood varieties, were there for the loggers if only they could convince coffee farmers to cut down their trees.
The destruction of these native hardwood forests is a long story of deception. Governments, in collaboration with multinational corporations, set out to convince farmers to grow their coffee in the sun, claiming that yields would increase and incomes would rise.
Without the leaf litter from the big hardwood trees to fertilize the soil every year, oil based fertilizers would be needed. This is how the petrochemical companies became involved. Now with more sunlight reaching the ground, weed killers would become essential. This is how herbicide producer Monsanto became involved. Without the forest habitat for migratory songbirds, natural pest controls were lost. This is how the need for chemical pesticides became essential.
The big chemical companies found new markets and the timber companies gained new inventories of almost unlimited, inexpensive hardwoods. The coffee farmers paid for all this with higher costs, lower quality coffee, toxins entering the water supply, and a 90% loss of biodiversity on their farms.
At least half of all coffee grown in the northern neotropics has already been converted to full sun plantations
Preserving these precious jungle forests not only protects biodiversity, it’s also our greatest asset in mitigating the effects of climate change.
Based on years of scientific research, the SMBC has developed strict criteria for evaluating shade coffee farms. An independent, third-party inspector determines whether a farm meets these criteria or not. Only those farms that also meet organic certification standards are eligible to be certified Bird Friendly®.
Thanksgiving Coffee is proud to offer these coffees which are certified Bird Friendly®:
For the month of April, enjoy $2 off every package of SongBird Coffee.
Celebrate Earth Day everyday by helping to protect the complex jungle forests, all with your morning cup of coffee.
Shade Coffee looks like this: grown under the canopy of indigenous trees. The white barked taller trees are commonly known in Central America as “Inga”. They are great for coffee because they not only provide shade for the trees, but also habitat for biodiversity and leaf litter for soil nutrients. Leaves decaying on the forest floor is natural fertilizer. An additional benefit comes from the tree being “leguminous”, meaning its roots deliver nitrogen to the soil, further reducing the need for oil based fertilizers.
This environment is perfect for the cultivation of organic coffee. This site is located in Northern Nicaragua and is typical of the Mesoamarican Rainforest that stretches from Panama thru Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, all the way up to the Yucatan Peninsula. These forests are the home of Black Panthers and the National bird of Guatemala, the famous Quetzal. The trees are full of birds and Howler Monkeys and hundreds of species of orchards. At the higher elevations, coffee trees reflect the quality of this forest in the flavor of their fruit, and finally, in your cup.
When you taste coffee from regions like this, you are experiencing a message from the forest spirits. The expression, “There is magic in this package, only you can let it out” is derived from a walk through this place that I took with my good friend Byron Coralles long ago.
We love dogs here at Thanksgiving Coffee, and we are happy to celebrate National Dog Day this Sunday, August 26. Brutus and Zoe are Thanksgiving’s reliable four legged co-workers, a joyful addition to the team, always ready for a head scratch or a treat. Sometimes the twins, Venture and Mariah, stop by for a visit. And who could forget how all our hearts melted when Palmer brought his new puppy, Mocha, in to say hello?
We celebrate National Dog Day everyday, not just with our furry co-workers, but through our coffee. With your support, we raise money through for the local humane society with our Good Dog Blend Coffee, and we champion their wild cousins with a variety of Save the Wolves coffee roasts. Even the Art Explorers, a local non profit that helps adults with developmental challenges through art therapy, chose dogs as their main subject for 3 of their 20 unique coffee labels. Clearly, the love of dogs has a profound impact on our lives.
This year, we hope you will celebrate National Dog Day with a canine that you love, and maybe a cup of coffee. Pick up a package of Good Dog Blend in your favorite roast color and help find homes for pets in need. Give a friend a bag of Save Our Wolves and you can help protect the legacy of wild dogs. Whichever you choose, together we can honor our four legged friends, just by enjoying a great cup of coffee.
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company Certified B Corporation 2017 Roaster of the Year
This Saturday is National Honey Bee Day! Take time in the garden and around your neighborhood to thank the pollinators around you this weekend. These little black and yellow insects play a vital role in keeping all of us alive on this planet, and they are worth taking the time to appreciate.
In addition to simply appreciating these creatures, it’s also important to learn more. Why do we need pollinators? What would happen if bees went extinct? What action do we need to take to make sure communities are protecting our bees? Take a look at the Bee Action Friends of the Earth page to get a better idea of what you can be doing for your community
Thanksgiving Coffee on Honey Bee Day
In 2016, Fort Bragg became the first Bee-Friendly City in California. This was due to the efforts of local beekeepers, the Fort Bragg Garden Club, and Thanksgiving Coffee. We were proud to lead the movement in California toward ridding our state of harmful pesticides and neonicotinoids that are killing our pollinators.
Over the course of the past two years, Thanksgiving Coffee Company has partnered with two organizations to save our pollinators: our local Noyo Food Forest in Mendocino County and the international group, Friends of the Earth. We have raised over $17,000 for these non-profits, thanks to YOUR support of Bee Bold Coffee.
Pick up a bag of Bee Bold Coffee at your local grocery store, or grab a bag online through our webstore. Let’s celebrate National Honey Bee Day together, and save our pollinators!
This week we are celebrating pollinators, and the important work they do for our earth. Happy Pollinator Week, everyone! Thanksgiving Coffee created Bee Bold Coffee in 2015, raising money for legislative action and worldwide awareness for bees through Friends of the Earth, as well as local pollinator awareness through the Noyo Food Forest here on the Mendocino Coast.
Thanks to your generous support of this project, we’ve donated over $17,000 to these two organizations!
Pollinator Week is June 18 – June 24, and it’s an excellent opportunity to spread the word about the importance of our bees 🐝
Order an extra bag of Bee Bold Coffee this month to share with your friends, family and coworkers! Let’s work together to make sure these vital pollinators continue to thrive on our planet.
Thanks to our generous group of customers and supporters of wild horses everywhere, we’ve been able to donate almost $4,000 to the AWHC, helping fund their efforts to protect these majestic creatures. We are excited to look forward to another 365 days with the American Wild Horse Campaign, and will continue to support them for as long as our wild horses need us!
Coffee Club Subscription
Have you joined the cause yet? You can sign up for a monthly Cause Coffee subscription right here on our website. For every purchase you make of Wild Grounds Coffee, we donate 25% to the AWHC.
Already a Wild Grounds Coffee Club member? Thank you for being a part of the solution! Grab an extra couple of bags this month to pass out to friends and family, to help raise awareness for these majestic creatures. Let’s spread the word about the plight of our wild horses, and work together toward protecting them.
Not sure what roast color is your style? Take a look at our Roast Color page to learn more about the differences between light, medium, dark and French roasts.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company Certified B Corporation Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
Last week we had the incredible opportunity to connect with a group of people that are making a huge difference in the Bay Area community. This was the B Corp Leadership Development Conference, a gathering of like-minded people that are actively using their businesses as a force for good right here in the Northern California community. As a certified B Corp (with a rating of 108!), we were invited to attend and serve our coffee.
BLD Conference for B Corporations
The conference was just a one day event, but it was packed with all the important things: great speakers, inspiring discussions, open dialogue and a LOT of coffee. With just under two hundred attendees from B Corps scattered across North and Central California, there was an unlimited amount of inspiration and insight to be gained all around.
From keynote presentations to intimate discussions, the BLD Bay Area event did not disappoint in quantity and quality. We kept everyone caffeinated, and everyone kept us inspired. At the end of the day as we parted ways with our new friends and collaborators, we all had nothing but wonderful things to say about the people we’d met and the time we’d spent.
Thank you to the B Lab, and all the amazing volunteers that made this event happen! We were honored to play a part over the day, and we can’t wait until the next time this inspiring group of people gets together again.
Be sure to visit www.blocalbayarea.com to learn more about this awesome group, and support our local Northern California B Corporations!
Thanksgiving Coffee Company 2017 Roaster of the Year Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
May 18 was Endangered Species Day. Over 16,000 species of plants and animals are endangered, and threatened with extinction. While extinction is a natural part of our world’s process, the rate at which animals and plants are disappearing from our ecosystem is alarming.
Thanksgiving Coffee has partnered with animal and environmental conservation groups all over the world to combat extinction. We believe in preserving the entities that make our world vibrant and whole. We want to make sure that future generations have the same opportunity to live among the creatures that we have.
Just this year, our planet lost the very last male Northern White Rhino. Sudan was 45 years old, and living at a conservancy in Kenya. This devastating loss was inevitable, after Northern White Rhinos had been maliciously poached for years. Even just sixty years ago, there were several thousand Northern White Rhinos. Today there are just two females left, at the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy.
Below is a picture from Baby Rhino Rescue, one of our Cause Coffee partners who is raising money for orphaned rhino conservation groups in Africa.
The majestic wolves of North America may soon see a similar story unfold. Less than a decade ago, Congress stripped gray wolves of their protections. Wolves went straight from protected (under the Endangered Species Act) to being hunted in a single day, and their populations have plummeted in the years since.
Below is a photo from Defenders of Wildlife, one of our Cause Coffee partners that is protecting the rights of wild animals through legislation.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the largest ape in the world is critically endangered, with few of its kind in captivity. If we were to see a large decline in these Grauer’s Gorillas numbers, there is a possibility that this animal could be lost to us forever. Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda are also critically endangered, but thanks to the conservation efforts of programs like the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, we are seeing their numbers rise instead of fall. With the DFGFI’s expansion into Congolese mountains, we hope to see the same happen for the Grauer’s Gorillas populations.
Perhaps the most terrifying addition to the Endangered Species list in recent years is the Rusty Patched Bumblebee. When Northern White Rhinos disappear and Grauer’s Gorillas numbers drop, it’s easier for humanity to turn a blind eye. When our food supply is endangered by lack of pollinators, the world takes more notice. Pollinators are responsible for a third of everything we eat, and the decline of bees due to colony collapse and pesticide poisoning is a very serious problem for our global ecosystem.
Below is a photo from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens of our very important pollinators! Thanksgiving Coffee partners with the Noyo Food Forest to protect Mendocino’s bee populations.
Our earth needs balance. Every creature is important in keeping the world’s biodiversity stable and growing. Humanity has dealt a harsh blow to the earth, but we have an opportunity to give back by taking care of the natural wonders we have around us. Whether it’s spending time at a beach cleanup day, signing up for a monthly donation to a conservation group or swearing off plastics, we each have a part to play in protecting our environment.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company has been a part of the Mendocino Coast community for over 46 years. We are lucky enough to work a stone’s throw away from the Pacific Ocean, and enjoy all the unique things that come with living in a small coastal town.
One of the most unique things would have to be the presence of a working lighthouse right here in our community. Less than ten minutes south of the Thanksgiving Coffee roastery on Hwy 1 is the turnoff to Point Cabrillo Drive, the road that leads past Caspar Beach to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.
This lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation, and is one of the few lighthouses that is still utilizing its original lens to light up the night sky. The Point Cabrillo Lighthouse has a third-order Fresnel lens that sparkles on a blue sky day, and is even more glorious to watch after dark.
Mendocino Coast Lighthouse Tours
In order to protect the priceless lens, tours at Point Cabrillo are rare, so anytime there’s a chance to visit the lantern room, it’s an opportunity you simply cannot miss. On May 5, volunteers will be offering lens tours to the top of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, from 10am-4pm. This event raises money for the lighthouse and the educational programs it puts on every year for Mendocino schoolkids. The tours are 45 minutes, and take you through the history of Mendocino and the lighthouse itself.
We created a Cause Coffee to support the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association, and we call it our Lightkeepers Blend. For every purchase, 25% of the proceeds are donated right back to preserving this historic piece of our coastline.
Help us keep the light shining at Point Cabrillo!
Thanksgiving Coffee Company Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup 2017 Roaster of the Year
For the twelfth year in a row, the Noyo Food Forest is having their Earth Day celebration next Saturday at the Learning Garden. This four hour event is a fundraiser for the Farm-to-School and Youth Intern programs that the Noyo Food Forest operates year-round. We partner with the Noyo Food Forest throughout the year, and we especially love being a part of this annual event in Fort Bragg.
12th Annual Earth Day Event
Saturday, April 21, 12-5PM
At the Learning Garden behind the Fort Bragg High School on Dana Street.
This Earth Day event is free and geared toward everyone in the family. There will be live music, and you can participate by putting down a bid for the silent auction, paying entry to bouncy houses, and tasting goodies from local chefs. This is one of the most fun events that happens in the city of Fort Bragg every year, and we are looking forward to it once again in 2018. Local organizations and nonprofits are a big part of this event, and you’ll see booths and representatives from the Noyo Marine Science Center, the Mendocino Land Trust, our Mendocino County state parks and many more important parts of the coastal community.
Thanksgiving Coffee will be serving up samples of our Bee Bold Coffee, and the Noyo Food Forest will be selling 12oz bags, as well. All the proceeds benefit the Noyo Food Forest and their important work here in our community. We are very happy to be a part of this awesome event. For more information, visit the Noyo Food Forest Earth Day page on their website, and RSVP on Facebook to share with your friends. Join us on April 21 – see you at the Learning Garden.
Thanksgiving Coffee and the Noyo Food Forest Partnership
For every bag of Thanksgiving Coffee’s Bee Bold Coffee sold online, 25% is donated to the Noyo Food Forest. You can purchase these online, or stop by the Earth Day event this Saturday to pick one up in person.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup 2017 Roaster of the Year