Shade grown coffee is grown, as you might have guessed, under the shade of larger native trees, as opposed to out in the open in expansive plantations. The benefit of this, besides better taste, is that it allows for larger biodiversity, improved habitat for insect and bird species in particular, and fewer fertilizers and pesticides due to a more complete ecosystem. It also decreases the amount of product that can be planted, which is why it tends to be more expensive.
There is currently no labeling standard for shade grown, so try to do some research on your favorite coffee brands to see if you can learn more. The website below explains a wide range of different systems that are used today.
Shade-grown coffee is literally coffee that is grown in the shade. Coffee beans grow well in indirect sunlight. The shade trees also help mulch the soil with fallen leaves and provide a habitat for birds. It’s a sustainable method that doesn’t use many, if any, fertilizers or pesticides. Coffee grown this way is healthier and said to be better tasting.
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