September 18, 2018
Home < About Kona Coffee < Kona Coffee – Shade Grown, Bird Friendly, and always Fairly Traded

Kona Coffee – Shade Grown, Bird Friendly, and always Fairly Traded

The above terms are used in the coffee trade to describe coffees from third-world growing areas where farmers have changed from the old techniques of ” slash and burn”  in order to plant coffee, and  they are now planting coffee in a more environmentally-aware way, and receiving a fair farm-gate price for their crop.

Kona coffee, however, is grown in the United States and our growing methods have no need to change to be described as shade grown, bird friendly, and always fairly traded.

  1. Shade Grown in third-world terms, means shade trees have been planted to protect the coffee from the Equatorial sun and to increase yields with an added benefit of protecting the soil.  In Kona, it happens naturally. Our coffee is grown under natural afternoon cloud cover, often interplanted with a mix of fruit, nut, and avocado trees.  Many Kona Coffee orchards have been in production for 100 years or more and continue to be vigorous.
  2. Bird Friendly in third-world terms means that farmers have restored the forest canopy and understory as a habitat for migrating birds. In Kona, we have no migratory birds that inhabit coffee growing areas.  Our Kona coffee orchards support large numbers of endemic birds which control insects and provide natural fertilizer. And no pesticides to poison them!
  3. Fair Trade in third-world terms means that farmers have been guaranteed a fair price for their crop. In Kona, most of our coffee is grown on family farms, 2-10 acres; we pay and treat our workers in full accordance with U.S. labor laws. Our farmers can sell their coffee to processors, or sell their green and roasted coffee directly to customers all over the world.


  1. Really? So you telling me the coffee fields in production today were NOT “clear Cut” 100 years ago so they could be put into production?

    • That is correct. Hawaiians had been farming the same land for a long time, planting taro etc. in the same fields as we have coffee. Many of our Kona typica coffee trees on established farms are over 100 years old and still producing.

    • Although I replied before, I was thinking of only my personal farm and it was not “clear cut”. I decided that I don’t know about all farms and you should pursue the question with the farmer whose coffee you want to buy.(I am just one farmer and the KCFA web person)

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