I've mentioned shade-grown coffee in here before. It's beneficial for many birds you see in your backyard in North America in the summer birds by giving them wintering habitat--like the above Baltimore oriole. There are some challenges with shade-grown coffee: some taste nasty, it tends to be higher priced, it's not always easy and convenient to find at your local store or coffee shop and sometimes the bag can read "shade-grown" and the coffee plantation only has one tree.
There are some brands like Birds and Beans which has some very tasty versions of shade-grown coffee--I'm a big fan of the Chestnut-sided Warbler Blend--it's worth every penny. It is also certified shade-grown by Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and Rainforest Alliance--both very trusted seals to know that the coffee was indeed grown in the shade, in a sustainable way and the workers were treated fairly. Even so, I have to order that by mail and none of my local coffee shops or grocery stores carry that brand. If I'm out, I can't just bike down the street and pick some up.
Well, over the next year, my options are going to improve. In my neck of the woods we have Caribou Coffee shops and yesterday they announced that they want to be the first major U.S. coffeehouse committing to 100% Rainforest Alliance certification for all of its coffees -- a goal the company has set to achieve by the end of 2011!
If you are in one of the 21 states that has a Caribou Coffee, make sure you stop in with your binoculars and let them know that you support their changes and how their changes benefit birds. I've visited shade-grown plantations in Guatemala and I've seen some our breeding species there: painted buntings, Baltimore orioles, Wilson's warblers, and indigo buntings just to name a few.