With coffee's growing popularity, the demand for coffee beans has increased. Most of the coffee consumed worldwide is grown on large farms, otherwise known as plantations, where the land has been cleared for rows and rows of coffee plants. These plants, like other crops, are grown and ripened under the warmth of the sun. However, for those who prefer the bold flavor of espresso and other gourmet coffee drinks, the sun ripened beans are just not suitable.
Shade grown espresso coffee beans which take longer to mature seem to be the answer to this problem. Coffees grown in different parts of the world have different flavors, and there are about 800 different components to coffee that has an effect on the taste of the finished product, plus sun ripened coffee beans or cherries tend to be bitterer than shade ripened cherries. Espresso shade grown coffee has a flavor that is both full and dark but smooth. Also, this type of coffee blends better with other ingredients, making it the perfect base for lattes and cappuccinos. Not only does shade grown coffee have a better flavor, but it is also a more ecologically sound choice.
Since most of the land used for the large coffee growers is tropical forest, clearing these lands takes away a vital component in maintaining earth's perfect atmospheric balance. The tropical forests take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen needed to sustain life on this planet. Many argue that by depleting this resource we are contributing to the rise of global warming. Since there is no need to clear the land when growing shade ripened coffee plants, they become part of the forest. They provide shelter for smaller animals, such as birds and other tiny creatures.
Not to mention, since larger plantations do not find this type of coffee crop economically viable, shade grown plants are normally raised on smaller family owned farms. These farmers are able to sell their crops to companies through Fair Trade sources, thus obtaining proper pricing so that they are able to provide proper support for their families. This helps to boost the economy of an underdeveloped area. Another thing to consider is that shade ripened cherries are organically grown, which means that no chemicals were used during the farming process.
This is important because fertilizers and pesticides like DDT, which is banned in the US, are still being used on most of the larger plantations located outside this country. Fertilizer and pesticides like DDT have been linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems. So the next time you select coffee for your espresso, or even morning cup of regular Joe, try to remember to look for shade grown espresso coffee beans. You are guaranteed to get a better cup of coffee every time. Also, you are making a healthier choice, one without toxic chemicals that can have lasting effects for years to come.
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about this as well as coffee beverage at http://www.gourmetespressoandcoffee.com