Was the notion in the 1980s that "mountain grown" coffee was a way to sell deforestation-causing coffee B.S.?
There was a story in the '80s that small growers were moving higher & higher into the (forested) mountains of Central & South America because steep, remote land was cheap (or free because no one wanted it) and "mountain grown" was a whitewash of this ecological calamity.
I've read that C. arabica "needs" high altitudes, but the only cites seem to lead back to one non-peer-reviewed paper by one of the Illys.
"Mountain Grown" dates
to at least the 60s. [warning: YouTube of sexist TV ad, previously
I've read about the shade- vs. sun-grown coffee and biodiversity and the land degradation
[PDF] caused by poor cultivation techniques, but I can't find anything rebutting the idea that "good" (arabica instead of robusta) coffee needs high altitudes.
I was reminded of this idea in a recent New Yorker article
: "It is possible to grow coffee near sea level, just not just very good coffee. The rigors of elevation..." but this is from a grower who is bucking convention: "she was coddling a crop that has, for centuries, been subjected to rough treatment."