Ethical Lounge
Our ethics matter

All of these distinctions might not matter to you, or you may care a great deal. Either way, it is important to be an informed consumer and know your facts before you buy.

Did you know...

  • Coffee is one of the most chemically treated food crops on the planet. Next to tobacco, coffee is sprayed with more chemicals than any other product consumed by humans. It is heavily sprayed with pesticides and grown with chemical fertilizers, herbicides and fungicides, all known to cause health problems, including cancer and nervous system and reproductive disorders.

  • Most coffee is imported from countries that use chemicals that are banned in this country. Some of these are benoyml, chlordane, cabrflurane, DDT, endulfan, paraquat,and zineb.

  • The coffee plant by nature loves shade and consequently the best quality beans come from coffee plants that grow slowly under the rainforest canopy.

    In order to satisfy the high demand for coffee the following higher productivity approaches were developed for coffee farming:

    Clear the native rainforest trees and undergrowth to make way for dense planting of coffee bushes.

    Get a sun-tolerant variety of coffee bush and plant it.

    Apply chemical fertilizers to keep up with the plants' faster growth and to make up for the loss of nutrients (because of soil erosion and because nitrogen-fixing trees and plants have been removed).

    Apply chemical pesticides to control insect pests, which were previously controlled by higher numbers of birds (which are now greatly diminished due to the less hospitable nature of the full-sun coffee farm).

    Your coffee doesn’t taste so good now does it?
    Is this where you want your Latte to come from? – or would you prefer...

    Taste. As the coffee beans mature more slowly in the shade, natural sugars increase and enhance the flavor of the coffee.

    Healthy environment.Shade grown coffee is most often organically grown and free of chemical use. Shade grown coffee requires little or no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. The shade trees filter carbon dioxide which causes global warming, and aid in soil moisture retention which minimizes erosion.

    Provides bird habitat and greater bio diversity. Migrating bird populations have been in rapid decline since the introduction of "sun" coffee and the consequent destruction of rainforest for more coffee plantations. As many as 150 species of birds have been identified on shade coffee farms.

    Helps sustain rainforests. Coffee plantations which are chemically dependent suffer from soil depletion and increased erosion. Rainforest is stripped to provide fresh growing ground. Shade coffee farms are, for the most part, organic and sustainable.

    Reverses the trend to chemicals. Shade coffee farms traditionally use little or no chemical fertilizer.

    Organic methods do not harm the surrounding environment and wildlife. The idea is to work in harmony with nature, using the tools that nature provides, rather than trying to dominate nature with man-made pesticides, medicines and fertilisers.


    Knowing what’s in your coffee and where it came from is a good place to start.
    Buying organic, fair trade and shade grown coffee costs a little more,
    but what you’re paying for is a better tasting,
    healthier brew…as well as peace of mind.