Have you had a coffee today?

We’re willing to bet the majority of you have or will at some point today. As a follow-up question; do you know where that coffee came from?

This is a question that far too many of us have been unable to answer for far too long. With the rise in fair trade practices in the coffee industry, conditions have improved dramatically for those in coffee producing countries. While this is fantastic news and is terribly important to us as humans, we also must be mindful of the environment in these tropical locales as well.

Traditionally produced in extremely shaded areas, sheltered by the canopy of trees above, coffee plants have been engineered to not only be more productive but to no longer require such conditions. The advent of high yielding, sun-tolerant coffee bushes was great for the business folks in the industry but negatively affected the wildlife and natural environments that were once coffee plant havens.


As these shady areas were removed and the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides was introduced, it was the wildlife – including our over-wintering birds – that were affected the most.

With bird populations already in peril, a solution was needed and it was the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre that stepped up and created the only 100% organic and shade-grown coffee certification available, aptly named Bird Friendly. 

The Gilligallou Brew

As the certification and practice of returning to shade-grown coffee gained popularity, we were quick to climb aboard and began offering our customers these Bird Friendly blends of coffee back in 2015.

The popularity of these coffees – boasting names such as Oriole French Roast Blend, Chickadee Dee Caffeinated Blend and Bird Lover’s Medium Roast (among others)- began to grow in our two Ottawa-area stores. As such, we began the planning process of offering this coffee in on a cup-by-cup basis.

As we continue to grow as a force in the local nature and birding community, we are proud to announce the Gilligallou Brew. Located in our Preston Street location in the heart of Ottawa, our coffee bar aims to put shade-grown coffee in the hands of more people and create a whole new appreciation for this method of harvesting coffee.

We hope you will join us as we flick the switch on our first pot this Saturday, February 17, 2018 on Preston Street and do your part to preserve vital habitat for the birds we love so much.

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