Everything You Need to Know About Vegan Coffee

Aug 31, 2020 Most Recent

Article Written by a Vegan Liftz Staff Member

Veganism is a growing trend in times when long-lasting health and fitness is of paramount importance. To turn vegan is not just a social statement, it is a comprehensive lifestyle change. The food you eat, the products you use, the clothing and makeup you wear as well as the beverages you drink - all undergo a transformation when you choose to live a vegan life.

Sometimes it becomes tough to implement veganism when it comes to enjoying smaller things in life, like your favorite cup of coffee. Shunning dairy products as a vegan begs to ask the question:

Can Coffee Be Vegan?

The answer to this is yes! Coffee beans are derived from genus Coffea, so they're already vegan. The coffee plant is easily grown, doesn’t massively disturb the environment, and no animals are harmed in its production.

However, some of the ways coffee is grown and procured may not hold fast to the vegan philosophy. It is important to know how your coffee remains vegan so that you can contribute to saving the environment without having to sacrifice your favorite beverage.

Sun Grown Coffee and Shade Grown Coffee

Sun-grown coffee beans aren’t very favorable to the environment but they grow more quickly and are more profitable to produce for the farmers. However, the catch is that the plants have to be replaced every 15 years. On the other hand, coffee beans that are grown in shade last as long as 30 years. Shade-grown coffee uses different types and heights of trees to create a responsible and diverse environment.

Conversely, sun-grown coffee does not have the natural protective barrier of trees and a higher number of chemicals and pesticides are used to prevent pests and diseases to the plants. Farmers tend to produce sun-grown coffee in more bulk as compared to shade-grown coffee.

The high demand from the coffee market forces coffee planters to take the sun-gown method which in-turn disrupts the adjoining ecosystem at the plantation. The fertilizers used also risk the neighbouring wildlife due to toxic water spill. Shade-grown coffee provides a safer sanctuary for wildlife. Taller trees are planted to make natural shade for the crops and the biodiversity helps create a natural forest kind of environment. Luckily for J.L. Hufford customers, J.L. Hufford coffee is sourced from shade-grown environments! 

Vegan Coffee and the Environment

A shade-grown coffee farm effectively imitates a native forest which makes it an ideal green habitat for varieties of birds, plants, and insects. The more the number of birds in a coffee forest, the better. This is due to the fact that birds prey on the insects that grow on the coffee crops. Beetles and caterpillars are common insects that harm and infest the coffee plant and birds ensure that the plants are protected.

Shade-coffee farming improves the quality of soil and reduces soil erosion whereas pesticides used in the sun-grown coffee can seep into the soil and disrupt soil quality. In a shaded farm, the leaves that fall from the tall trees aid coffee plants to get the right nutrients, curbing the need for fertilizers.

Keeping your coffee vegan

Now that you’ve separated your vegan coffee, it’s imperative that you keep the extra ingredients vegan too. Start by choosing your milk wisely. As a substitute to cow’s milk, you can go for almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk that has less fat than cow’s milk and no cholesterol.

Go for  coffee creamers that are vegan-friendly and identify them by their stamp as there are quite a few options in the market. Depending on your taste, you can opt for almond flavored coffee creamer or coconut flavored creamer.

While searching for the vegan coffee label, look for The Rainforest Alliance seal that will tell you that the forests and wildlife were preserved in the production of this coffee. Be mindful that you choose a vegan sweetener as honey isn’t vegan and certain types of sugars aren’t vegan too. When you’re craving for your favorite coffee drink, go for vegan-friendly options with soy or coconut milk.

Don’t let your choice of coffee stop you from following a vegan lifestyle, opt for shade grown coffee and add it to your list of  nutrition-packed vegan food items. 

For more information, follow Vegan Liftz and J.L. Hufford on instagram!

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