Smithsonian Bird Friendly Habitat Vs Rainforest Alliance Certified

Waking up to coffee in your cup is a wonderful way to start the day! But, as you will soon find out, all coffee is not the same. Today, we are going to take a look at two different types of coffee that you may have never heard of before.

We will compare and contrast the differences between Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee and Smithsonian Bird Friendly Habitat coffee.

Killing The Rainforest In The Name Of Coffee

While coffee is a wonderful drink, the damage done to the environment by unethical farming practices has taken its toll on the rainforest. In many Central and South American countries, farmers have clear-cut the rainforest, destroying plants and animals along the way.

In other parts of the world, including Africa and Asia, rainforests are being destroyed and replaced with coffee fields. This practice has gone on for many years, and is thought to play a part in global warming.

Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee

To combat this growing problem, an organization was put together called the Rainforest Alliance. This group, along with many government agencies and coffee importers, have worked hard to teach farmers how to grow coffee without destroying the rainforest.

In order for a coffee importer to be able to put the Rainforest Alliance seal of approval on their products, certain guidelines have to be met.

First, the coffee has to be shade grown to allow rainforest trees to thrive. Second, the water used in the production of coffee has to be clean, and attempts have to be made not to destroy the natural environment.

Smithsonian Bird Friendly Habitat Coffee

Another certification that is very similar to the Rainforest Alliance is Smithsonian Bird Friendly Habitat coffee. This certification is given to coffee products that meet certain requirements.

Regulated by the Smithsonian Institute, this seal of approval works to help protect not only the rainforest, but more specifically, birds.

In order to meet the certification requirements, farmers have to plant shade-grown coffee. This planting method has to also use clean water, and be 100% organically grown.

What Are The Differences?

While these two certifications are very similar, there are some differences in them. Smithsonian Bird Friendly Habitat coffee growers have to follow a much stricter set of rules than those growing Rainforest Alliance coffee.

First, bird-friendly coffee growers have to be 100% organic. This is a set-in-stone rule that is carefully monitored. Also, these growers have a certain tree canopy height that is also closely watched by the institute, all for the safety of the birds.

Finally, these two certifications differ, because one is not as well known. Smithsonian Bird Friendly Habitat coffee is becoming more popular, but you won’t find it as widely distributed as Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee that is sold in most grocery stores.


As you can see, both certifications help to protect the rainforest and the environment by changing coffee farming practices. So the next time you go to the store to purchase some fresh coffee, why not do your part and look for one of these labels?