A fiery-billed aracari looks through the canopy

What is Bird-friendly Coffee

Coffee can protect biodiversity and prevents mono-cropping with the Smithsonian Bird-friendly coffee program. To understand what bird-friendly coffee is we need to talk about how coffee is grown. The cheapest agriculture practice for growing coffee involves tearing down (or burning) lush jungles in critical biological zones for both birds and wildlife. Once all the native vegetation is removed, farmers plant as many coffee bushes as possible in full sun. This style of farming requires many pesticides because coffee is a plant that naturally grows in the dense understory of a forest. It's an unnatural process for growing coffee quickly and cheaply.

Fortunately, Smithsonian bird-friendly coffee is a guarantee that your coffee is grown without harmful pesticides, mono-cropping practices, and is shade grown. So, how does a farm qualify for bird-friendly status? They work with scientists to retain native trees that cultivate biodiversity, typically by creating a canopy cover over coffee. This allows for a diverse collection of native plants to remain intact. These native trees and plants create a habitat where birds can flourish and the coffee tastes better too. It takes longer to mature, allowing the bean to be denser and the sugars and oils to be better developed. You can taste the difference.

We support:

  • 1,786 Bird Species
  • 5,018 Coffee Growers
  • 14,866 Ha of Land across 12 countries

Our goal at Big Year Coffee is to change the agricultural business to protect birds and wildlife from humans while providing delicious, high-quality coffee. We have perfected our roasting practices to specialize in only bird-friendly beans, meaning you are getting the highest quality coffee from a trusted roasting process. 

Not only is our coffee bird-friendly, but it is also all certified USDA organic, we just can't afford the certificate at this moment due to our small operating budget. We also use completely compostable packaging and are shifting to compostable labels and stickers next. We are always working to to make our business as sustainable as possible.