Bird Friendly Coffee FAQs

A yellow and gray bird perched on a tree branch. The image is surrounded by a yellow border with the Bird Friendly Coffee logo in the bottom, right-hand corner
Below, find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Bird Friendly® coffee.

Simply put, Bird Friendly coffee comes from farms that provide good, forest-like habitat for birds. Bird Friendly coffees are shade-grown, meaning the coffee is planted under a canopy of trees, rather than land that has been cleared of all other vegetation.

Bird Friendly coffees are also certified organic, meaning they are grown without the use of chemical pesticides that are harmful to the environment. And all bags of Bird Friendly coffee are 100 percent pure.

Bird Friendly coffees are the world’s only shade-grown, organic coffees certified by third-party inspectors using criteria established by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. These criteria are based on years of research and are scientifically proven to provide bird habitat second only to undisturbed forest.

Bird Friendly certified coffees also promise 100 percent product purity. Some other certifications allow a portion of non-certified product or permit product dilution, allowing as little as 30 percent of their product to meet their standards while still sporting their certification label.

Look for the Smithsonian Bird Friendly® logo:

Bird Friendly Habitat logo

Like much of the world's coffee, most Bird Friendly coffees are grown in the highlands of Latin American countries from Mexico to Peru. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is working to expand habitat protected by Bird Friendly standards beyond this area, and certified farms in Ethiopia, India and Thailand show that these gold standards can protect birds in habitats across the globe.

Sometimes Bird Friendly coffees cost a few cents more per cup than conventional coffees. This is a small price to pay for the benefits to birds and other wildlife, coffee farmers, your health and the health of the planet.

Coffee experts say shade-grown coffees taste better, because the beans ripen slower than coffee grown in the full sun, resulting in a richer, more complex flavor.

Bird Friendly coffees can be found around the world and at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Learn more.

If your neighborhood grocery or café does not carry Smithsonian Bird Friendly® coffee, let the manager know why it matters to you that they support the gold standard in conservation. Send them this prepared letter.