Coffee is an agricultural crop and like any other crop, when it is grown for commercial production at any large scale, farmers seek a way to maximize output. Often this means via the use of chemicals. These can be categorized into three broad groups: non-organic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. This is the introduction a three-part series on pesticides in coffee.
Testing of green coffee beans contracted by the Natural Resources Defense Council detected traces of many agricultural chemicals. The high temperature of roasting reduces or eliminates many of these chemicals, but the primary concern regarding these toxins is how they effect the health of the coffee farmers who apply them, the surrounding communities, and their often severe impact on wildlife and ecosystems.
In this series, I will cover common pests and pathogens of coffee, the most common chemicals used on coffee crops for pest control and their effect on people and the environment, and finally information and resources on organic coffee and pesticides and birds.