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What is shade grown coffee and how does it compare to regular coffee?

 

Shade grown coffee refers to coffee that is grown under either a canopy of trees or the shade of other natural objects or plant life. Coffee has historically been grown in this manner, and only recently have advancements in science allowed for coffee to be grown in the sun without being damaged or burned.

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What is shade grown coffee and how does it compare to regular coffee?

 

Shade grown coffee refers to coffee that is grown under either a canopy of trees or the shade of other natural objects or plant life. Coffee has historically been grown in this manner, and only recently have advancements in science allowed for coffee to be grown in the sun without being damaged or burned. Today’s shade grown coffee is made to be environmentally friendly and fits the criteria for organic coffee as well.

 

Still, there are other advantages to shade grown coffee, specifically the better taste many people it provides. The slow growth and maturity process of shade grown coffee causes the sugar in the coffee bean to develop differently. Many coffee drinkers feel that this development, which results in an overall higher sugar content, provides for a better tasting coffee. The absence of any potentially taste altering chemicals is also considered to be an attribute that positively contributes to the taste of the coffee.

Another significant factor to many consumers is the fact that shade grown coffee is very environmentally friendly. Due to the fact that it requires no chemicals for the growth process, shade grown coffee is much easier on the environment than normal coffee growing methods. Additionally, shade grown coffee relies on a rich forest canopy, and thus does not require the clear cutting of forests that traditional coffee farms often resort to in developing their farm land. This not only helps with global warming issues, it preserves a habitat for many diverse forms of birds and other forest dwelling creatures.

 

One of the few drawbacks in this coffee growing process is that the market is relatively new and people are typically unwilling to pay a premium for the product due to a lack of information about the advantages the product offers. This is changing as information spreads and more people understand exactly what shade grown coffee is, but the market has not seen as much growth as fair trade and organic have enjoyed over the last few years. Many farmers are concerned that they may soon have to give up producing shade grown coffee if they cannot recoup the extra costs that go with farming it. Until the market becomes more stable and defined, some of the farmers will be forced to make some tough decisions in regards to the future of their shade grown coffee crops.

 

While the advantages in shade grown coffee seem plentiful and clear, the challenges farmers are forced to overcome to produce the crop remain stiff. Hopefully, with time, a middle ground can be found that provides consumers with shade grown coffee options, and farmers with a justification to continue producing their crop.



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This article was written by Jefferson Spooner on behalf of Larry’s Beans. He recommends you try Larry’s Beans coffee if you are interested in organic coffee and/or fair trade coffee.


 


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