Hey there fellow coffee fans, Java Joe here! With temperatures as high as they have been, hoping you’re all staying frosty like a cold brew. And, here to bring you some fun new studies in the world of our favorite drink.
Nature is a delicate web of synergy and connections across all walks of life, and coffee crops have a lot of little helpers to keep things growing for hard-working farmers! This is not exclusive to coffee- a staggering 75% of all global food crops are fully dependent on local animal populations to flourish!
Birds are the sharp-eyed protectors in the sky of the coffee crops, managing chemical-free pest control. Particularly, they disperse seeds and feast on the coffee berry borers, which are small beetles with a taste for coffee almost as strong as mine- yet these bugs are one of the worst pests to coffee crops and can cost farms billions!
And far from a B-lister is our little friend, the bee- responsible for pollination! Although Arabica Coffee plants can self-pollinate (must be all that extra energy from its caffeine), pollinators like bees can increase the fruit size, yield, and set- which is when a flower becomes a berry. This, of course, means more coffee!
A study was run on 30 small coffee farms in Costa Rica to compare how crops grow without their local wildlife helpers. Results showed that, when isolated with a plastic mesh, plants have 4-11% less set and weight, as well as higher broca infestation, than the uncovered plants! Removing birds and bees were determined to lead to an average yield loss of 24.7%!
Conservation is important to maintaining wildlife populations in areas with rich farmlands, and this can be helped by leaving rough natural grassland and scrub in protected spaces.
Have you heard the SCOOP on anything else wild in the world of coffee? Let us know in a comment!