What is Biodynamic Coffee?
Biodynamic coffee is a type of coffee that's grown using biodynamic farming techniques, which date back to the early 20th century. The founder of biodynamic agriculture, Rudolf Steiner, believed that agriculture should be viewed as a holistic system that integrates the natural environment, animals, and humans. He believed that agriculture should focus on sustainability, biodiversity, and natural cycles, rather than relying on synthetic chemicals and fertilizers.
Biodynamic agriculture gained popularity in Europe and North America in the 1980s and has since spread to coffee-producing regions in South America, Asia, and Africa. Today, biodynamic coffee is considered a niche market, with a small but growing number of farmers and roasters producing and selling biodynamic coffee.
How Biodynamic Coffee is Produced
Biodynamic coffee is produced using a range of holistic farming techniques, which include composting, crop rotation, and companion planting. Unlike conventional coffee farming, biodynamic farming does not use synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Instead, biodynamic farmers use natural inputs, such as compost, cover crops, and animal manure, to build healthy soil and promote plant growth.
One of the key features of biodynamic farming is the use of preparations, which are made from various herbs, minerals, and animal substances. These preparations are added to the soil and crops at specific times to promote growth, balance nutrients, and enhance soil health. For example, biodynamic farmers may use preparations made from chamomile, stinging nettle, and cow manure to improve soil quality and protect against pests and diseases.
Biodynamic farmers also follow strict planting and harvesting schedules based on the lunar calendar, which is believed to influence plant growth and development. This involves planting and harvesting crops during specific phases of the moon, such as the waxing or waning moon, to maximize yields and quality.
Why Biodynamic Coffee is Good
There are several reasons why biodynamic coffee is considered good for both the environment and coffee lovers. First, biodynamic farming techniques promote biodiversity and soil health, which can help to mitigate climate change, prevent erosion, and reduce water pollution. By avoiding synthetic chemicals and fertilizers, biodynamic farming also helps to reduce the carbon footprint of coffee production and protect the health of farmers and communities.
Second, biodynamic coffee is known for its high-quality taste and aroma. The use of natural inputs and planting and harvesting schedules based on the lunar calendar can result in a richer, more complex flavour profile that's unique to each farm and region. Many coffee lovers appreciate the diversity and complexity of biodynamic coffee, which can include notes of fruit, chocolate, and spices.
Finally, by supporting biodynamic coffee, consumers can help to promote sustainable and ethical farming practices. Biodynamic coffee farmers often prioritize fair labour practices, community involvement, and ecological sustainability, which can have positive impacts on the social and economic well-being of coffee-growing communities.
Watch the interview with Biodynamic Coffee Farmer, Henrique Sloper: