Birds & Beans is a coffee brand that focuses on the environmentally friendly and fair production of coffee in response to the issues of habitat and species loss that results from most industrially produced coffee brands. The brand has addressed both the human and environmental factors of the coffee industry and is extremely transparent with how it is working to counteract unsustainable practices. Bird & Beans is triple certified, and its slightly higher cost per coffee bag (around $14 per 12 oz bag) ensures that farmers are paid fairly and coffee is grown without negative impact to the surrounding forest.
The product is made of sustainably produced coffee beans from Nicaragua and Guatemala, which means that the beans are grown ethically by Latin American farmers who practice traditional shade-grown coffee bean farming practices that encourage the growth of the local habitat. No harmful pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers are used in the production of the coffee beans, and the coffee bag is made of paper rather than plastic.
For reference, many coffee bean farms choose to remove local forestry in favor of no-shade production that promotes a higher crop yield, therefore negatively affecting the livelihoods of local animal species and the larger forest ecosystem. Further, intensive production is harmful to the soil as it is no longer able to grow plants after decades of industrial coffee bean farming. On the other hand, Birds & Beans focuses on true-shade, organic production that favors the environment with family farms rather than conform to the practices of large corporations.
This bag of coffee beans is triple certified, shade-grown Smithsonian Bird Friendly/Fair-Trade/USDA Organic. On the website, Birds & Beans claims that the Smithsonian Bird Friendly certification is independently considered the best guarantee of sustainably produced coffee. The main issue with most industrially produced coffee is that it poses a large threat to the migratory songbird species in terms of habitat loss, largely due to its demand for thousands of acres of land, which further results in the loss of tropical biodiversity in Latin America. Moreso, Bird & Beans’ Fair-Trade certification ensures safe and sustainable agricultural practices such as maintaining soil fertility and minimizing agrochemical use, and bans child labor, and guarantees farmers a fair price for coffee regardless of market conditions. USDA Organic certifies that the company is meeting certain environmental standards such as protecting natural resources and conserving habitat biodiversity.
Latin American farmers who grow coffee beans the old-fashioned way supply Bird & Beans coffee through democratically run cooperatives. Farmers are paid fairly, as the company claims to pay “top price” for their sustainable shade-grown production, where full and partial shade refers to the traditional production of coffee that maintains forest habitat. Over sixty percent of industrially produced coffee is grown with no shade (which, consequently, results in a higher crop yield and profit) that leads to massive habitat loss. Further, in the midst of unsustainable coffee production, workers must relocate for employment and fair compensation, whereas Bird & Beans supports the traditional method of growing coffee that allows for workers to be paid fairly and maintain their jobs.