(Original Cafe Solar® promotional video, made by Merchants of Green Coffee team with help from some talented friends in 2013)
The First Restorative Green Coffee Supply
Cafe Solar® coffee shines a light on the existing environmental threats due to coffee production and creates a means for consumers to act on it!
This coffee supply represents an alternative, sustainable model for coffee production. Its the first to combine coffee growing, forest regeneration, and 100% off-grid, solar-powered processing. Cafe Solar® is embodies the definition of restorative coffee.
Sustainable Innovations in Coffee
The use of clean, renewable solar energy in coffee processing (pioneering solar-dried coffee) and a new system of restorative farming; called Integrated Open Canopy™ (IOC™), are the two major, sustainable innovations of the Cafe Solar® program. The program essentially reverses the effects of conventional coffee supply chains so that instead of causing deforestation and carbon emissions, the production of this coffee contributes to natural forest regeneration and sequesters carbon.
Three Pillars of the Program
- Solar-Powered Coffee Processing
Instead of being processed using wood-burning dryers (which are “the norm” in coffee-processing across Central & South America), Cafe Solar® uses an advanced, 100% off-grid coffee dryer (processor) powered by renewable solar energy, making it the world’s first solar-dried coffee! This means zero trees are cut down to fuel the processing; and, a clean energy substitute is being used to fuel the new dryer (In fact, this coffee’s entire processing facility runs off-the-grid!).
- Restorative Farming
Cafe Solar® coffee trees are grown using a system of farming that directly contributes to the protection and restoration of the natural forests surrounding the coffee farms. This system is called Integrated Open Canopy™ (IOC™) and it stops coffee production from threatening natural forests by placing forest buffer zones between the protected forests and the coffee farms. The buffer zones are left to grow wild and, as the natural forest is restored, they link up with nearby forests creating corridors that support migratory birds and other keystone species (See, Yoro Biological Corridor).
These forests and their rich biodiversity are not only essential coffee-growing habitats, they’re also vital to the region’s ecosystem, and their existence is crucial to keeping our global climate in check. Cafe Solar® is grown organically, which replenishes rather than pollutes soil, air and water. It also incorporates organic composting for fertilizer production, making use of valuable coffee by-products that often go to waste.
- Managed By Women
The Cafe Solar® program wouldn’t be possible without the leadership of female coffee producers and coop managers that have been supporting it since its inception. The goal of this coffee is to include more women management at all levels of the supply chain; from growing, to processing, to export. Women are key drivers in measuring and addressing the social and environmental issues.
Cafe Solar® Is Our Model for Coffee Addressing Climate Issues
Cafe Solar® is the product of a completely independent, transparent and simplified supply chain made up of a small group of people who genuinely care and are trying to match actions to words. We have been working directly with the women-managed producers in Honduras and the Mesoamerican Development Institute (non-profit organization that supplies the solar-dried coffee technology and technical training) for more than 25 years to develop and grow this coffee’s supply and its impact.