Posts Tagged ‘shade-grown coffee’

NewmansOwnCoffee2Once vilified as being a troublemaker to your health, coffee has been getting a whole new appraisal as of late. Its health benefits are now being recognized. An article in Prevention magazine wrote up how coffee can help lower your risk for Type-2 diabetes.

Researchers at Harvard University looked at 28 studies with more than a million combined participants and found that people who drank six 8-ounce cups of coffee daily had a 33% lower risk of diabetes. The good news is that each cup lowered your risk by 9%, so you don’t have to go crazy with coffee consumption, but just be aware of the possibilities.

What’s even more exciting is that it’s not the caffeine responsible for the effect, so if you drink decaf, this still applies to you. Researchers suspect that it’s a naturally occurring chemical in coffee called chlorogenic acid that reduces the rate at which the intestines absorb glucose.

So that’s how you can change your personal world, but how about expanding your vision and changing the world at large?

The coffee you drink can make an actual difference to the rainforest and to saving the lives of migratory and resident birds. With the advent of agri-technology, sun-grown coffee became the new big thing, but is not without a goodly number of drawbacks. Here are a few differences between your typical coffees and shade-grown coffees in their benefits to wildlife and the environment.

Poco-Coffee2* Migratory birds and many resident birds, (such as Poco, a rescued macaw, right), find sanctuary in the forest canopy of traditional coffee plantations, while in sun-grown coffee areas, there are 90% fewer bird species.

* Shade trees protect the coffee plants from rain and sun, help maintain soil quality, and aid in natural pest control, thanks to the birds. These traditional coffee plantations also help to conserve watersheds, leading to higher water quality and quantity for local populations. Sun grown coffee requires chemical fertilizers and pesticides and year-round labor, placing financial demands on the growers. It also leads to greater soil erosion and higher amounts of toxic runoff endangering both wildlife and people.

* Shade coffee plants can produce crops of beans for up to 50 years, while sun grown plants produce for only 10 – 15.

* The higher quality beans produced by shade grown methods produce a better tasting coffee!

FairTradeLogoWhere do you find shade-grown coffee? Most coffees marked “Organic Fair Trade” will also be shade-grown. Read the labels and check out the producers’ literature and/or web sites for details. Smaller merchants, health-oriented food stores, and, increasingly, your local supermarket now carry shade grown coffee. There is one more bonus – when you see the “Fair Trade” logo on your bag of coffee, or elsewhere, it assures you that the farmers and their families who grow the coffee are being paid a sustainable living wage for their work.

While it may be a bit more expensive than sun grown coffee, it preserves the biodiversity of our planet, the rainforest, and a multitude of bird species, plus it helps humanity. A pretty good deal all in one cup of coffee.

So you can change your personal world, and spread your wings and change a whole lot more of it.

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