4. It Guarantees Fair, Stable Prices for Even the Smallest of Coffee Producers
Yes, bird-friendly coffee costs more than your run of the mill canister of Chock Full O’ Nuts or Folgers. There’s a reason for that.
Coffee that’s grown in the shade ripens more slowly than sun-grown coffee. Obviously, that means if a farmer cuts down his trees and commits to growing in the sun, he’ll wind up with more beans to sell in a shorter period of time than his shade-grown competitor.
To encourage coffee growers not to cut down forests to increase their yields, they need an economic incentive. Getting a premium price for their independently certified shade-grown coffee keeps growers happy and trees in place.
The promise of a premium price also provides the motivation for a farmer to jump through the difficult hoops leading to certification.
Bird-friendly certification ensures access to markets for all coffee growers, no matter how large or small their farm may be. In addition, says the SMBC, certification paves the way for access to credit for those using sustainable technologies. It also enables adequate wages, housing and health care for workers.
5. It‘s Getting Easier to Find
Until recently, it was a real challenge to find bird-friendly coffee. Ordering it online was often the only option available. Good online sources still abound, of course, but these days you can often find what you’re looking for a lot closer to home.
For those near a Whole Foods, look no further. Whole Foods has over 300 stores nationwide, and as of June 2013 they all carry “Early Bird Blend” from Allegro Coffee. This coffee comes from “Bird-Friendly” certified farms in Mexico and Nicaragua.
If there’s no Whole Foods near you, check out the SMBC’s web site. It has a search tool to locate retailers, roasters and importers near you.
6. It Costs Less Than You Might Think
‘[P]er pound we’re about the same as Starbucks or other specialty coffees,” Bill Wilson, co-founder of Canada’s Birds and Beans coffee roaster, told the Wheaton Patch. “Compared to Folgers or Maxwell House, we’re more expensive.”
Bird-friendly coffee is also a less expensive choice than Keurig K-cups, according to Wilson. He says a single serving K-Cup ends up costing about a dollar, while bird-friendly coffee costs about 30 cents per cup.
Most of the specialty coffee that is reviewed [on Coffee and Conservation] costs in the range of $9.95 to $14.95 for a 12-ounce bag. That works out to $0.32 to $0.48 a cup. A pound of coffee from Caribou or Starbucks runs about $13 a pound, or $0.32 a cup. This is at least six times cheaper than a couple of shots of decent scotch or a glass of wine from a $15 bottle, not to mention less than the cost of a cup of (unsustainable) coffee at McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts.
Convinced? Those birds you love to watch flitting about your yard certainly hope so. Their future may depend on the choices you make, including your coffee.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.