#TheGoodSquad Interview with David Pritchard, Founder Birds and Beans Coffee Roasters

The Good Tee

Did you know that the coffee you drink could alter rainforest ecosystems? The wrong coffee choice can negatively affect plant and animal species living within them. 

This week on #TheGoodSquad, we interview David Pritchard one of the founders of Birds and Beans Coffee Roasters located in Etobicoke, Ontario.  No worries if your not close by, you can order online ! This amazing cafe, started over 20 years ago and exclusively offer coffees and teas that have positive environmental and social impacts. Their entire menu uses Bird Friendly® Certified coffee which implies, organic, maintains the biodiversity, supports bird conservation, the livelihood of small-scale farmers and much more. 

David and Madeleine's goals after starting Birds and Beans Coffee Roasters were to improve life on earth in the small ways they could by purchasing their coffees from growers who protect forest habitats on their farms and are certified Organic and certified Bird FriendlyRead on to see how they tackled the triple bottom line (profit, planet & people.)

  1. Tell us about your journey and how Birds and Beans began. 

    More than 20 years ago, we set out to create a different kind of company – one that would give consumers a way to use their purchasing power to make the world better rather than worse. We wanted to provide a product that was green at its core 

    – not something that just looked green or came out of a “green” facility with a super duper recycling program. We wanted to create a true “triple bottom line” company that produced tangible environmental and social benefits.

    Coffee was the perfect product for our experiment – In Latin America, where most of our migratory songbirds spend their winters, deforestation for agriculture is happening at an alarmingly fast rate. We learned that in contrast, Bird Friendly certified coffee preserves habitat for forest creatures in Latin America including our migratory songbirds. Coffee that is certified Bird Friendly grows in an agro-forest.  The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) certifies that these forests provide good habitats for wildlife.  

    All Bird Friendly coffee is first certified organic, and then goes much further adding standards for shade cover, plant species diversity, canopy structure, required buffer zones, leaf litter cover and much more. These are all necessary for wildlife to flourish.  

    We sold our first coffee at the Guelph Organic Show in January 2003. Now we are a Certified Organic Roaster and have 2 much larger roasters and a full line of Certified Organic, Certified Bird Friendly, Fair Trade and Direct Trade coffees. 

    The Good Tee

  2. How did you get the idea to get certified Organic and certified Bird Friendly coffees? Why is it important?

    Birds and Beans is an expression of our values.  We genuinely want to preserve and enhance the biodiverse ecosystems of our growers.  The only way to ensure this is to use credible certifications.  Credible certifications ensure products are:

    1. Produced in compliance with published criteria that demonstrably achieve the certification’s aim
    2. Traceable throughout even global supply chains
    3. Verified for compliance by accredited 3rd party auditors throughout the supply chain

    The Good TeeThe Good Tee

  3. How does the current state of the earth impact your Organic and Bird Friendly coffee blends? (e.g climate change)

    The state of the earth is extremely concerning wrt to coffee… increasing temperatures have resulted in rust plights at higher and higher altitudes.  Rainfall has become more inconsistent and in more severe weather events.  This makes pollination less consistent (flowering and bees are not in synch) lowering yields.  Severe rainfall also causes mudslides that can wipe out coffee production.  

    Certified Bird Friendly coffee helps prevent climate change by acting as a carbon store, protecting soil from erosion and hence preserving forest, and by helping maintain the water cycle by maintaining forest-like conditions.

    The Good Tee

  4. Do you ever find yourself in trouble while working with growers who are the defenders of forest habitat in Latin America? What experience have you gained while working with another country? 

    No.  Our Latin America growers want to grow their coffee ecologically and in a polycultural way.  It is better for them and it produces better quality coffee.  They need to sell it at a premium in order for the proposition.  More and more growers are realizing that “conventional” production sets off a cycle of agrochemical dependence that reduces the productivity of the land while creating the most profits for the agrochemical companies.  It also leaves them vulnerable to commodity markets because “conventional” agriculture is generally also monoculture.  

    Our growers share our conservation values.   The migratory birds connect us in a profound way.  Our ecologies are intertwined just as our economies are.

    The Good Tee

  5. What product do you find yourself enjoying most often? What is your best seller?

    We don’t need lots of words for this one!  Commit, an espresso blend.  But for me, they are all loved equally.  We have spent 20 years constantly improving our roast profiles.  If there is one I am enjoying less, we adjust the roast until it is brilliant again.

    The Good Tee

  6. What advice do you have for those who want to start their own ethical and sustainable business?

    There is tremendous pressure to cut corners and skimp on values.  There are unverified label claims that are meaningless or worse. Certifications are very important.  Find certifications that align with your values and stick to them.

    The Good Tee
  7. What are you working towards for 2023 and beyond that you want us to know about?

    We are revising our packaging so that it will be the most attractive and functional coffee package on the shelf.  

    Simultaneously we are working to refresh our online store to highlight our powerful and flexible subscription model and make online ordering even simpler.  We want everyone to enjoy the world’s most sustainable coffee as much as we do!


If you love coffee and want to help the environment while drinking it, Birds and Beans Coffee Roasters can help you with that. Check out their links below!



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published