About 15 years ago, we established Birds and Beans on the shores of Lake Ontario in Mimico. Although at that time Mimico was rather down on its luck, battered by the loss of its industrial base and suffering from the lure of malls and big box stores, we fell in love with soul of Mimico.
We saw a diverse neighbourhood full of hard working, long term residents who shared a connection with the lake, a pride in what had come before, and vision of the future.
So we set down our roots and began working towards that future. And then around us, slowly at first, then more and more, Mimico began to thrive!
The neighbourhood feels energized by life in the new condominums, and the residents are enjoying the ever improving Mimico waterfront, new storefronts, and Mimico’s evolving character.
We are expressing our love of Mimico by introducing a coffee blended and named for our ‘hood! Perhaps the first coffee to celebrate its home neighbourhood, Mimico Joe is approachable, unpretentious, authentic, solid, and full of interest… just like Mimico.
We also offer Mimico Joe t-shirts for those of us who are proud Mimico Joes.
100% Bird Friendly, Organic Specialty Coffees with Organic Milk
We offer the best espresso, latté, cappucino and americano in the city made from the only Bird Friendly espresso in Canada! We blend our espresso to compliment the flavours the organic milk in a latté or cappucino. Our baristas are trained to pour espresso perfectly every time so it has the great great crema and aroma with flavours of chocolate and malt from the approach to the finish.
Cruelty Free Yummy Treats
We bake all of our treats from scratch daily using organic eggs from happy hens (see Chicken Out!). Our breakfast cookie is a daily favourite in the neighbourhood with rolled oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, honey and cranberries.
Our chocolate chunk cookies are absolutely without rival! We use our shade grown Plantations Chocolate. We offer a the cookie with either milk or dark chocolate. What a treat!
Cruelty Free Light Lunch
For lunch we offer simple wraps and sandwiches with hand crafted Sopa Organica soups.
All are certified organic and, so cruelty free! No factory farmed product allowed. We use Wild Planet tuna in our tuna salad, the only canned tuna in Canada getting beter than a passing sustainability grade from Greenpeace. Our egg salad is homemade from fresh certified organic cage free eggs so it is always fresh and tasty. Our sandwich slices are locally raised cruelty free from Rowe Farms. Even our cheddar cheese is certified organic from Quebec, and so produced from well treated animals.
Many of you know that Birds and Beans café has offered gift cards for 12 years, but this year they are even better! Our new gift cards have grown up from being administered manually, to an electronic debit card with great new features.
The gift card has the look and feel of gift cards from major retailers. This ensures your recipient will feel confident using the card, and you will be proud to give it.
Once activated, the card can be used at the cafe like a prepaid credit card.
The cards are reloadable, and a 10% discount applies to reloads. So your gift will extend throughout the year!
The card is secure, and transparent. The cardholder can view their current balance and historical transactions online. The cardholder simply enters their card number and their current balance is presented and a link is presented to access to the historical transactions. The link for cardholders is here.
So isn’t it a good time to introduce your friends and family to your favourite café?
This special Christmas package blends the gift of coffee with the gift of nature, by being Triple Certified – Bird Friendly, Fair Trade and Organic.
The coffee lovers in your life will be captivated by this lovely smooth coffee – and its festive label. The nature lovers in your life will appreciate that each package of coffee conserves 110 sq ft of winter habitat for our migratory songbirds. The birds returning in the spring will bring joy to all of us.
Give the coffee to your loved ones.
Give the habitat to the birds.
Give the birds to the world.
This coffee is delicious while being unpretentious. The aroma offers delightful christmas spices while chocolate and tropical fruit are in the cup. The flavours combine harmoniously from approach through the sweet lingering aftertaste.
This coffee brews well at both full or 3/4 strength.
Buy a case of twelve at a 10% discount and receive free shipping too! Great for all those on your “little gifts” list! And it’s like getting a free one for yourself too.
As we near the end of the summer, many of us will be shifting our focus towards new routines at work or school. Similarly, many species of wild birds will shift their focus away from breeding and will put all their energy into reaching their wintering habitats in Central and South America. Our migratory birds spend their winter months in the lush forests that provide the food sources and protection from predators that migratory birds need to thrive during our harsh winters.
In a recent interview available here, Dr. Robert Rice of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre (SMBC) describes the importance of forest grown coffee to migratory songbirds. Dr. Rice points out that under the pressure of unsustainable agriculture, traditional forest coffee farms are often the last viable habitats available for migratory songbirds, monkeys, butterflies, reptiles and other organisms.
The SMBC has characterized healthy functioning forest environments and they offer the Bird Friendly® coffee certification to coffee grown within them. Dr. Rice notes the small proportion of world coffee that bears the Bird Friendly seal. He humbly recognizes that as scientists the SMBC has created the certification, but do not have the marketing skills and channels to increase demand. He asks that we, individually and collectively, notice the opportunity to preserve and restore forest ecosystems in Central and South America by asking for coffee Bird Friendly® seal.
Or you can just buy it from us 😉 All our coffees are certified Bird Friendly.
The question that always comes up when we describe Birds and Beans is: “What exactly is Bird Friendly® coffee?”
Bird Friendly coffee preserves habitat for forest creatures including our migratory songbirds. Coffee that is certified Bird Friendly grows in an agro-forest that has been deemed to be good wildlife habitat by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC). All Bird Friendly coffee must first be 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. Read more on Bird Friendly criteria here.
In Latin America, where most of our migratory songbirds spend their winters, deforestation for agriculture is happening at an alarmingly fast rate. The impact on wildlife is devastating. Huge declines in our migratory songbirds are noticeable to those of us old enough to remember the plentiful songbirds here in Southern Ontario 20 years ago versus now. You can help slow the rate of deforestation by purchasing Certified Bird Friendly coffee from the growers who are on the front-lines of the resistance to this overwhelming destruction.
By choosing Bird Friendly certified coffee, we support the growers who steward forest ecosystems. Beyond preservation of ecosystems and diversity of species, Bird Friendly stewardship also results in soil conservation, pest control, pollination, water storage, carbon storage and climate change mitigation. Read more on ecological benefits here.
Sometimes the phrase “Shade Grown” is used on coffee labels as if it were equivalent to Bird Friendly. Unfortunately, this is like accepting “natural” as equivalent to “organic”. While Bird Friendly coffee is indeed “shade grown”, we need to go a bit deeper if we want to ensure our good will hits the target. It isn’t the shade that provides the habitat but the fact that Bird Friendly farms are functioning, biodiverse, forest ecosystems. The SMBC developed the Bird Friendly coffee certification so we can confidently choose to support produces who grow their coffee in harmony with forest dwellers… Forest dwellers like this troupe of howler monkeys David saw on a Bird Friendly coffee farm in Nicaragua.
Sales of Certified Bird Friendly coffee also help to fund the research performed by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This research advances the understanding of migratory birds that we need in order to preserve them for future generations. Look for the seal on the bags when you buy your coffee. You will find this seal on all of our bags.
At Birds and Beans we are forever expanding and deepening our commitment to sustainability. As we learn about issues and find solutions, we weave them into the fabric of what we do. Some years ago, we were struck by a beautiful impactful art project by Chris Jordan that beautifully exposed some consequences of thoughtless plastic waste. We posted this and never ordered water in plastic bottles again.
Birds and Beans is proud to be free from plastic bottles since May 2012. The life cycle of a plastic bottle has harmful effects to the environment throughout every step of the chain: from formation to disposal. For more information on the life cycle of a plastic water bottle, check out this Ted-Ed video.
We are an official Quench Water Re-fill Location. Bring your reusable water bottle and we are happy to fill it up with filtered tap water. We offer a pitcher of iced water with glasses for customers to enjoy in the cafe. We also offer a bowl of water for the four-legged bunch.
Despite all of these options, people still want to buy water to go. We want to make you happy, so we investigated options to provide a take-out water option without contributing to the Garbage Patch, harming animals who mistake micro plastics for food or degrading the quality of the soil that supports us.
The Boxed Water folks in Michigan came up with the great idea of offering water in boxes. Boxes are made from trees, which is a renewable resource. Conservation is important to them, so the trees being used come from well-managed forests. The cartons are 100% recyclable. Less resources are used when shipping the boxed packaging to the locations where water is filled compared to plastic bottles because boxes can be shipped flat. The water inside is purified with UV, carbon and reverse osmosis filtration. As a bonus, know that 1% of Boxed Water revenue is being donated to reforestation and world water relief.
Please enjoy our free filtered water. If you need to, enjoy Boxed Water knowing that it is a more sustainable option than anything packaged in a plastic bottle.
Last week, news surfaced that a Toronto Restaurant was misleading its customers by claiming that dishes and certain ingredients were special in terms of being premium, organic or local when they weren’t.
Factory farmed eggs were sold as “Free Range Eggs”, Farmed Atlantic Salmon was claimed to be “BC Organic Salmon” and Quaker Harvest Crunch was sold as “organic granola”. For more details, see the article from the Toronto Star
Many people are willing to pay a premium for special products such as these and so for the unscrupulous vendor, there’s an opportunity to increase price without increasing their costs by engaging in a little creative menu writing. We find this to be very disappointing and it raises the question of how can you be sure that the claims on a menu or a package are true?
There are two major ways to protect yourself from being a victim of false labels:
1) Look and ask for Certifications
While it is possible to claim that a product is certified when it is not, there are checks and balances in legitimate certification systems that help you determine that product claims have been verified.
In our case, we are a certified Organic Coffee Roaster and we publish our Organic certificate annually. Our certifier, Ecocert Canada, verifies each organic claim we make. We are required to maintain meticulous records. We are inspected and our records are checked every year to ensure we are compliant with Canadian Organic regulations. In the case of many certifications such Fair Trade and Bird Friendly, you can look up if the supplier is registered with the Certifier.
2) Ask about the Origins of the items
If a restaurant claims a product to be Organic or local or heirloom or special in any way, they should be prepared to explain the basis of the claim. So ask your server, if it is local, what farm did it come from? When? if it is organic, is it certified or how do they know it is really organic? The more people ask for details, the more difficult it will be for restaurants to mislead their customers.
Choosing sustainable, local, or artisanal foods can be rewarding in terms of tastes and the food experience and are often well worth the premium price, as long as we are getting the products that are being advertised.
“It is my deep conviction that we have come up with an ambitious and balanced agreement. Today it is a moment of truth.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius spoke these words as he declared that the Paris Climate Change conference known as COP21 had reached an historic multilateral agreement. It is our sincere hope that he is right and that people of all countries see this as a call to action — It is the beginning of a process, and not the end.
The agreement is significant – nearly 200 countries have committed to a goal of limiting temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, rather than the 2 degrees that appeared to be the target just two weeks ago. The agreement is the product of a lot of hard work by many people. From where I sit it seems that much credit is due to French President Hollande and UN Climate Chief Christiana Figures. As Canadians, we are delighted to see a change in the position of the Canadian delegation from obstructionist to constructive.
As important as this agreement is, it is just the beginning. The work lies ahead and we will face many obstacles and difficult choices in pursuing it. To achieve the goals set in Paris, we will need to use the agreement as a framework to help us maintain our collective resolve as we face the challenges of necessary change together. As consumers, we have a big impact on carbon emissions – we make choices with far reaching consequences when we spend our dollars. Consumers reward the behaviors of everyone in the supply chain with every purchase we make: Participants in the supply chain do what the monetary rewards incent them to do. To curb extreme climate change, we will have to change deeply embedded common practices by changing the influence of monetary rewards. Taxing carbon will help with this and it can work more quickly and more effectively if we understand it and if we consciously support behaviors we want to encourage in supply chains.
At Birds and Beans our founding mission to preserve biodiversity directly supports climate objectives: preserving habitat is preserving forests. And preserving forests has been identified in Paris as a critical component to achieving climate objectives.
Sadly, during the decade and a half that we have offered this climate and habitat friendly coffee, we have seen an explosion in demand for unrecyclable plastic single serve pods containing unsustainable sun grown coffee. Single use coffee pods are the source of a great deal of profit (coffee offered in pods nets out to about $50 per pound!) while convenience brands ignore adverse environmental impact of their coffee and other unsustainable food offerings.
We maintain that using a grinder, a kettle and a drip filter holder is just as convenient a method of brewing a single cup of coffee, but has the merit of supporting an entirely sustainable supply chain. And the superior flavour in the cup is incomparable! This is one example of the kind of change that we as citizens can make as climate objectives are pursued.
Our government reached an agreement because they believed it to be an expression of ourcollective will. As policy changes result in choosing sustainability over convenience, waste and unchecked growth, we will have to demonstrate our support. Let us make sure that our commitment runs deep and that no future government will be tempted to break the agreement for their own short term political gain.
We are the citizens of the world at a the moment of truth. Collectively, the future is in our hands.
We’re delighted to introduce our second Special Edition coffee: The Messenger Blend, produced in association with The Messenger Documentary – a film by Su Rynard. While the full length documentary explores the impact of our activities on birds around the world, it also offers solutions and inspires its audience to become more “Bird Friendly”. The Messenger Blend is an important part of that program.
Coffee drinkers can make one simple and easy change that will help both birds and coffee farmers – choose to drink Certified Bird Friendly coffee. This will guarantee that vital winter habitat is preserved for our migratory songbirds and the other creatures inhabiting those forests. It does so by paying a premium to the farmers who steward the forests for the coffee grown within them. You can support them just by changing the brand of coffee that you drink, and, if you already purchase specialty coffee, it won’t cost more.
The Messenger Blend is sourced exclusively from Certified Bird Friendly Organic farms. Every bag you buy helps to preserve vital forest habitat for future generations. Since we here in Canada share these migratory birds with the people of Latin America, we’ve increased the impact of the Messenger Blend by donating 10% of all sales to Bird Studies Canada – Canada’s leading science-based bird conservation organization. Every bag you purchase will also be helping to promote conservation here at home.