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Finca Rosa Blanca Organic
Shade Grown Coffee


Finca Rosa Blanca has 30 acres of hard bean coffee which is certified organic by the BCS OKO Garantie, an international organic agriculture certification and is certified sustainable by Rain Forest Alliance and ICAFE, the Costa Rican National Organization for Coffee.

The Coffee Plantations: We have planted over 5,000 native trees on our coffee plantations with the help of the environmental protection agency (MINAET) and local school children. These native trees produce shade and nitrogen for our organic coffee and have created biological corridors for the birds and animals of the area. The coffee is planted following the natural topography of the farm to avoid erosion and water waste and is protected by living fences planted with native shrubs and trees.

We use no agrochemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides on the farm preferring to apply the rich compost from our vermiculture (worm beds) and from the composting of organic refuse at the hotel and we apply only natural remedies for the fungus and pests which often plague coffee.

Certified organic coffee is grown by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality. Finca Rosa Blanca Organic Coffee is grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, thereby assuring the health of the soil, the forest and the farmers.

Organic coffee farming encourages sustainability, multilayered crop production and a rich array of wildlife. Farmers who practice organic coffee farming methods depend on organic matter to fertilize plants and by using these materials, mimic the natural processes of growth and decay.

We grow our coffee under the shade of tall trees so that you can enjoy your morning cup of coffee on the terrace of El Tigre Vestido Restaurant and listen to the songbirds.

Conventional, "modern" coffee plantations are replacing wildlife habitat at an alarming rate, and the population of songbirds across North and South America is in significant decline. "Shade grown" coffee, the traditional method of coffee farming, offers a promising alternative.

  • Taste. As the coffee beans mature more slowly in the shade, natural sugars increase and enhance the flavor of the coffee.
  • Healthier. Next to tobacco, coffee is sprayed with more chemicals than any other product consumed by humans. Shade grown coffee is most often organically grown, free of chemical use.
  • Promotes healthy environment. Shade grown coffee requires little or no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. The shade trees filter carbon dioxide which causes global warming, and aid in soil moisture retention which minimizes erosion.
  • Provides bird habitat and greater biodiversity. Migrating bird populations have been in rapid decline since the introduction of "sun" coffee and the consequent destruction of rainforest for more coffee plantations. As many as 150 species of birds have been identified on shade coffee farms.
  • Helps sustain rainforests. Coffee plantations which are chemically dependent suffer from soil depletion and increased erosion. Rainforest is stripped to provide fresh growing ground. Shade coffee farms are, for the most part, organic and sustainable.
  • Reverses the trend to chemicals. Shade coffee farms traditionally use little or no chemical fertilizer. Our farms are 100% chemical free and organic.

Traditionally, all coffee was shade grown. Most varieties of coffee are naturally intolerant of direct sunlight, and prefer a canopy of sun-filtering shade trees. The trees not only protect the coffee from direct sun, they also mulch the soil with their fallen leaves which helps retain soil moisture. The nitrogen-fixing shade trees enhance the soil, and also provide habitat for birds. The birds in turn provide natural insect control with their constant foraging.

We are very proud of our organic and sustainable certifications which include:

BCS ÖKO-GARANTIE GMBH is licensed as a private controlling agency since May 11th 1992 to implement the EU Regulation on organic production. Based on several accreditations and registrations, BCS is authorized to certify according to the following standards and regulations:

  • EU Regulation on organic agriculture
  • NOP (National Organic Program of the United States Department of Agriculture)
  • JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard of Organic Products)

We have been certified organic by BCS OKO for 7 years.

The Costa Rican Coffee Institute, ICAFE, is a non-governmental public entity that promotes the coffee industry in the areas of agronomy, promotion, research and the transfer of technology, and regulates the marketing of coffee. ICAFE along with the Costa Rican Department of Health has given us their seal of approval to produce and process organic coffee.

Rainforest Alliance Certification for Sustainable Coffee is under the auspices of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), an international coalition of leading conservation groups, the Rainforest Alliance works with farmers to ensure compliance with the SAN standards for protecting wildlife, wild lands, workers’ rights and local communities. Farms that meet these rigorous standards are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.

Red Costarricence de Reservas Privadas (The Costa Rican Network of Private Reserves) is a private non-profit organization made up of tracts of land which are under conservation and protection.

Blue Ecological Flag is a certification for natural reserves: protection of the rivers and springs, protection of the soil, conservation of the flora and fauna, reforestation, recycling and control of consumption of water and electricity.



Shade-Grown Coffee is For The Birds

The coffee plant evolved in Africa under the canopy of trees and grows best in the shade. A traditional coffee farm can provide habitat to exuberantly varied birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, insects, trees and flowering plants. The amazing thing about coffee farming is that it can be done in harmony with tropical forest conservation - and for many centuries, it was.

Many of our familiar warblers, tanagers, orioles and thrushes benefit from habitat provided by shade-grown coffee plantations, as do rainforest icons including parrots, toucans, motmots, and hummingbirds. These farms also provide habitat for a multitude of organisms, from mammals and amphibians to plants, fungi, and invertebrates.


Vital Habitat for Migrants

About 200 different species of birds are known as neo tropical migrants, breeding in the habitat and backyards of North America and migrating south to Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean islands for the winter. There, the multi-layered vegetation of shade-grown coffee plantations provides abundant food and cover. In many areas, coffee farms offer the only good habitat amid deforested pastures and stark monocultures.

The migrants pack into the farms every fall, feasting on insects and fruits and often changing their feeding and flocking behavior considerably from that familiar to birders in the north. Some of them stop and stay put, often on the same farm as the year before; others linger and then move on, farther south. Both songbirds and birds of prey make the twice-yearly migration; some arrive after journeys of thousands of miles and open-ocean flights.

A list of familiar North American birds that are known to over winter or migrate through Latin American shade-grown coffee plantations is available in the "To Learn More" section below.

Click to visit Birds of Rosa Blanca

Consumers and Coffee

How can we coffee lovers know if the beans we drink come from farms that are environmentally friendly and socially responsible? How can we reward farmers that are trying to grow a great tasting coffee while protecting wildlife and the environment? The only way to know for sure is to seek out credible labels such as Rainforest Alliance Certified, which guarantees that farms are on the path toward true sustainability, and qualified organic labels, which guarantee that farms are not using harmful pesticides and fertilizers.

An estimated 25 million people grow coffee, most of them on small plots of land. Many, perhaps most, smallholders are organic farmers by tradition, in part because they could never afford to purchase agrochemicals. With the downturn of prices paid to farmers in recent years, pesticides and fertilizers are out of their reach. With organic farming techniques - some learned from their grandparents and some from modern agronomy - coffee producers can maintain production and conserve healthy soils, which are their primary inheritance and asset. A sustainable farm management system is based on a holistic view of agriculture that includes conservation of natural resources, rights and benefits for farm workers, equitable trading, and the farm's relationship with nearby natural and human communities.

Shade-grown and certified sustainable coffee is rapidly gaining popularity, because it is a product that anyone and everyone can support, and because of its excellent quality and taste.

Savoring a cup of certified sustainable coffee can improve livelihoods for farm families and conserve wildlife and tropical ecosystems - a rare "win-win" opportunity. So the next time you see a Baltimore Oriole, Sharp-shinned Hawk or other Neotropic migrant, raise a mug of shade-grown joe and celebrate the at-home contribution you've made to their survival.

Nine Top Experiences for Coffee Lovers - The Daily Meal: All Things Food and Drink

What Does a Rainforest Alliance Seal Mean?

The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. Companies, cooperatives and landowners that participate in our programs meet rigorous standards that conserve biodiversity and provide sustainable livelihoods.

Finca Rosa Blanca Organic coffee:

An excerpt from a BBC program about coffee prices and sustainable coffee
May 14, 2011
Listen here



Watch a FRB sustainability and coffee video (first two videos) 

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