The Toucanet Coffee experience combines the great taste of coffees grown from traditional methods with social and ecological responsibility.
Toucanet Coffee supports fair trade products. This promotes policies that help farmers receive the best market price for their beans and reasonable and just wages for farm workers. Additionally, we support Women Coffee Producers who have overcome difficult domestic circumstances by taking a leading role in the management of the coffee farms in which they work. Our coffees come from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Ethiopia and Sumatra.
Shade Grown Coffee
Toucanet Coffee offers only shade grown coffee that is harvested from coffee shrubs grown under an over-story of trees. Shade trees mixed with coffee shrubs support twice the number and diversity of birds than sun-grown coffee fields. Not only are there more birds, there are more insects (food for insectivores), orchids, reptiles and many other organisms inhabiting this supportive environment.
Traditional vs. High-Yield Growing Methods
Coffee grown in full sunlight provides higher yields resulting in higher profits for coffee farmers. Full-sun coffee growers use pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers to pump up those yields even further. Many coffee farmers are being pressured to switch from traditional growing methods so they can be more profitable. Full-sun coffee fields, which resemble row-planted cornfields, are fully mechanized and eliminate jobs for hundreds of indigenous workers that have relied on picking coffee for generations. Smithsonian researchers have found that 40% of Latin American coffee growers have converted to full-sun coffee. This involves the removal of trees through clear-cutting practices and has substantially decreased forest habitat that birds have depended on for thousands of years.
Harvesting By Hand
Coffee shrubs grown under shade trees have to be harvested by hand, requiring the sensitive skills of native workers taught from generation to generation, rather than the impersonal and potentially damaging process of machine harvesting. Ecologically responsible hand-harvesting can also yield various other products such as firewood, lumber and medicinal plants.
The Smithsonian Institute sets strict criteria for its coffee certification. Independent inspectors ensure that the coffee is organically grown and has the required percentage of tree cover. Coffee shrubs grown in this manner more closely imitate native tropical forest habitat, thereby protecting soil from erosion, providing soil nutrients from organic leaf and tree litter and suppressing weeds (eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers and herbicides).