Where Oh Where Has Shade Grown Coffee Gone?
They stopped selling it at Starbucks. It’s getting pretty tough to find in supermarkets. You have to really search for it online. Why the roll-back of such a great product?
The response he got from the barista was that there was too much demand and they had to stop selling it. (what?? does that make sense??)
So a few of us emailed letters to Starbucks and asked them to “Bring Back the Shade Grown Coffee!”
Here’s the email that one of us sent in:
I stopped by one of your Leesburg Virginia stores yesterday to pick up a bag of your Organic Shade Grown Mexico coffee and was told you would no longer carry it.
If this is so I am deeply disappointed as this is the only coffee I have been buying by the bag from you for several years.
Shade-grown coffee plantations protect many of the birds that winter in Central and South America and protecting these plantations is very important to the ability of these birds to continue to survive.
If you do discontinue this coffee you will have given up on a very important part of your responsibility to the environment and one that will disappoint bird watchers throughout the US and Canada.I hope you won’t.
Why all the fuss about wanting shade grown coffee? Well, it’s good for the birds (OUR birds…that winter in Central and South America) because it provides habitat for them. It also eliminates the need for all sorts of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that are used in the now “traditional” coffee plantations. These chemicals all end up in the water supply.
So, you’re probably wondering what the response from Starbucks was from the couple of emails sent in. Well, it was a pretty generic one — basically saying “thanks, we’ll look into it.” We did notice in the past week or so that they are offering shade grown coffee via their website, but that isn’t enough to make real change happen.
If enough of us write in, Starbucks may see that they need to fix their supply chain and get us the coffee we want at the point of purchase and that it needs to go mainstream, not be just a specialty item.
Why is Starbucks so important? Well they’re big and they buy a lot of coffee beans. Their buying power could help change the face of how coffee is grown – AND how habitat is managed and cared for. The excuse that we received of the demand being too high just means that they didn’t want to invest in fixing the problem.
Furthermore, this could be the tipping point! If there’s such demand for it then this could be the time when change will happen (or be squelched) — fix this supply chain problem and I bet more and more coffee farmers will switch over.
What if one day we didn’t even need to check our bags of beans for the shade grown, bird friendly symbol? (the image shown here is just one of a couple different ones used).
What if shade grown was the common practice instead of this post-industrial practice of slashing forests and spraying?
Well, let’s get typing and send in our comments to Starbucks. There are two departments that need to hear from us:
1) Retail Stores Department (determines what we get at the retail stores)
2) Company Information Department (handles social responsibility)
Even better – get social and vocal on the topic – make a posting to the Starbucks Ideas page: http://www.mystarbucksidea.com/ After you post your comment here, share it with your friends via facebook – let’s get Shade Grown coffee back on track!
And, if you visit any other coffee shops in our area, ask them if they offer shade grown coffee. If they say no, ask why, and let them know that you’d buy it if they offered it. The marketplace responds to the demands of the consumer. We just need to speak up.