Coffee is an evergreen. It does not lose its leaves and replace them, as do most broad-leafed trees. It is very sensitive to sunlight. Farmers use the forest canopy to provide filtered light for the coffee trees planted beneath the taller tress. The shade softens the sunshine light that reaches the coffee trees. In direct sunlight, the coffee trees’ leaves would dry out, turn brown, and die. The tree will then die. So shade is essential for the proper cultivation of coffee.
Environmentally, this is good for the forests and its inhabitants. Shade grown coffee provides an annual forest crop. In shade a coffee tree can live 50-80 years and produce for 90% of its life span. The preservation of the forest canopy in order to grow coffee conserves forest habitat for migratory and indigenous songbirds, monkeys, ants and spiders, and everything in between.
The leaf litter from the forest canopy provides a forest floor mulch, which in turn provides bionutrients for the forest soil to use. The coffee trees benefit as well. Over 90% of all organic coffees are grown in the shade.
Buy shade grown and help save our subtropical forests where coffee is a sustainable forest product.