Earth Warrior is a not-for-profit organisation based in Surrey, England. We work alongside conservationists, charities and volunteer groups that share our commitment to protect the natural environment. We encourage consumers and manufacturers to take positive action against the worrying levels of pollution including the 'explosion' of single-use plastic, chemical pesticides carcinogenic household detergents. We need to remember there is no Plan(et) B!
On this page, we feature CafeXpress, an eco-friendly company that supplies Organic, Fair Trade and Conservation Grade tea, coffee and herbal infusions to Cafes, Restaurants and health conscious Consumers around the World.
Did you know that over 90% of all whole bean, ground and instant coffee sold in the UK and elsewhere is contaminated with harmful chemicals? In fact, commercially grown coffee along with cotton and tobacco are among the most heavily sprayed crops on Earth! Rainforests and other natural habitats where coffee plants have traditionally been cultivated by generations of small family owned farms are being decimated by 'Big Food' coffee producers - Nestlé being one of the main culprits. The deliberate destruction of lush and fertile areas of rainforest create acres of barren waste-land, often devoid of important minerals and microbial activity, elements that enable coffee plants to resist pest attack.
After water, coffee is the World's most popular beverage and even in the UK, coffee has overtaken tea as the Nations favourite! The video documentaries featured on this page are designed to help consumers learn about the numerous benefits obtained from supporting coffee growers and producers who practice diverse and sustainable farming methods.
The following overview explains the main differences between 'Open Sun' and 'Shade Grown' coffee.
- Open-Sun coffee is grown on open land. The plants are sprayed with chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Apart from the coffee plants, there is little other vegetation to absorb water during heavy rains, so the fertilisers are leached out and pollute the water courses and rivers. This in turn erodes the soil, turning the area into a wasteland almost devoid of microbial activity that would normally benefit the coffee plants.
- Over 90 % of coffee farms [typically open-sun plantations] use pesticides to deter pests - but these toxic chemicals also harm birds, insects and other animals. Although pesticide use helps increase coffee yields, the lack of biodiversity means there is little or no food for birds to feed on, so sun grown plantations are an almost sterile habitat for wildlife.
- Coffee plants have not evolved to grow naturally in open sun, but when planted in direct sunlight, the plants grow very quickly, allowing two harvests a year which means higher annual yields. Unfortunately, the sun degrades the top-soil thereby increasing erosion. This system destroys the soil health and requires ever greater amounts of fertiliser to maintain yields ... a viscous circle. Eventually, this soil will no longer be suitable for coffee growing and the coffee farmer will move on, very possibly to virgin land.
- Increasingly, rainforest areas are being destroyed to make way for high density open planting schemes that cover huge areas of land - the ultimate industrialised agriculture system. The 'roads' in between the rows of coffee plants are used by machines to mechanically harvest the crop, thereby reducing local employment by up to 90% in some cases.
- Sun grown coffee plantations are monocultures. This is the most efficient method to maximise yield and profits - unfortunately it means there is little or no habitat for other animals, including migrating birds, to settle or feed there.
- Shade Grown, Bird Friendly Organic Plantations do not use chemical fertilisers or pesticides. This means there is no leaching of fertilisers into water courses that would otherwise discourage a rich biodiversity for animals - including birds - from breeding. Did you know that shade grown land is typically three to four times higher in biodiversity than Open Sun coffee plantations? Coffee plantsthrive in the shade of a varied variety of trees and bushes; this is how coffee has traditionally grown, in a natural and diverse environment.
- Shade Grown coffee beans develop inside the 'fruit' or cherry that grows on the trees. The majority of these sheltered trees produce Arabica coffee and they are usually found at higher altitudes compared to open sun plantations. Shade Grown coffee remains on the trees for longer than Open Sun coffee. This means more nutrients are absorbed by the fruit, which in turn produces a superior quality and more nutritious coffee beverage with a rich and complex flavour. Shade grown coffee is often awarded Organic Certification and ensures your coffee is free from pesticide residues and other synthetic chemicals.
- Shade Grown coffee plantations are the ideal environment for birds, including migrating birdlife, because there is both habitat and biodiversity for feeding. Furthermore, these plantations are secure for the long term, allowing migrating birds to flourish and return year after year.
Why should you buy Organic coffee? ... what you are paying for is peace of mind that you’re doing right not only by Mother Earth, but also by the farmers and farm labourers who might otherwise be breathing in clouds of chemicals, drinking tainted waste water, eroding the quality of their soil, and contributing to an unsustainable way of life, simply to earn a living for themselves and their families.
The following documentaries are best viewed full screen.
Click the Play icon, then click the Youtube button to obtain full screen.
Subtitles are available in English.