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There might be several reasons you are researching organically grown and pesticide free coffee.
I would suggest that in a broad sense they fall into one of two categories: concern for your health, and/or concern for the environment.
As I researched and developed this article using those two broad categories we found some fascinating facts, opinions were revealed some rather interesting questions arose that needed to be answered.
Who am I to be asking and answering these questions? I am not an environmental research scientist. I am not “completely green”. Qualities that I do have are a passion for good coffee, and the blessing (or curse) of having an insatiable curiosity.
My ability to research has served me well in the past and I hope it serves you well right now in getting some important questions answered
We will be addressing and answering questions such as these:
- Does organically grown coffee taste better?
- Why is organically grown coffee so expensive?
- What does terminology like ‘certified organically grown’ coffee mean?
- What are the differences between organically grown coffee and nine organically grown coffee?
- Is coffee that is not organically certified harmful to the environment?
- Is non-organic coffee harmful to us?
- What does terminology like certified organic & fair trade mean?
- Are there dangerous pesticides being found in coffee?
- What are the health benefits of coffee? Are there more health benefits in organic coffee?
And so on…
Exactly, What Is Certified Organic Coffee? (And What It Isn’t).
The basic idea behind certified organic coffee is to provide coffee drinkers with the knowledge and comfort that what they are drinking is real coffee, without any synthetics or additives. That is the object of the exercise
How does coffee qualify for the organic certification? Before we answer that question, a certain distinction needs to be made. Some people make the mistake of thinking that items that are organic or certified organic are not only healthy, but are good for the environment. That is not necessarily true.
The terminology organic and certified organic refers to the lack of man-made or alternative additives in a product itself. It is not a statement on whether growing that product is good for the environment. Of course, a lot of times these two objectives go hand-in-hand. What organic certification is a statement of the product not to the environment.
That being said, in the United States the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates organic certification. Look for the seal at the right
USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.
These farms are monitored by various agencies ensuring that the growing conditions are free from various herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and other chemicals that mode may be potentially harmful. Not only growing process monitored, but the preparation, storage, roasting and transport of the beans is monitored.
What Are Some Environmental Coffee Certifications?
Fair Trade Certified Coffee. The Fair Trade certification is granted by the nonprofit organization Fair Trade USA. It is not a government organization. It sets standards, certifies, and brings attention to products that promote sustainable livelihoods for workers and farmers and simultaneously protect the environment. There is a great deal of controversy about this organization because it is revising standards deviating from other fair trade organizations in the world.
In general, though, they have strived to set minimum prices and develop labor standards so that workers and farmers are given a fair shake.
UTZ Certified Coffee. UTZ Certified is a program and a label for sustainable farming. UTZ Certified is the largest program for sustainable farming of coffee and cocoa in the world.The UTZ Certified label is featured on more than 10,000 different product packages in over 116 countries. As of 2014, UTZ Certified is the largest program for sustainable farming of coffee and cocoa in the world.
Direct Trade Coffee. Direct trade is a term that does not really apply to certifications of coffee grade or production methods. Rather, it is a term that applies to the way business is conducted.
Coffee roasters simply by directly from the growers. They are cutting out the middleman and establishing relationships with the growers themselves. There are pluses and minuses to this business model. From a certification point of view if roasters are buying directly from growers they may be unable to bypass certain certifications.
Shade Grown Coffee. Shade grown coffee is coffee that has been picked and produced from coffee plants grown under the shade canopy of trees. However, there is no set definition of the term “shade grown”. Unfortunately, it can be used as a marketing gimmick because it can be labeled shade grown even if there are just a few shade trees involved.
Bird Friendly Coffee. The ‘bird friendly’ label was developed by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Coffee that is stamped bird friendly, really is shade grown coffee. The requirements of getting this label are strictly set by the ecolotgists at the Smithsonian. They clearly define the minimum percentage of shade (40%) and specifics of the tree canopy. Their concern really focused on the environmental impact of growing coffee. A coffee that is labeled bird friendly is produced in a greener, more environmentally friendly environment.
The Rain Forest Alliance. Since 1995, the Rainforest Alliance has strengthened the position of coffee farmers by training them in methods that boost yields and safeguard the health of the land for future generations. In order to earn the rainforest alliance seal farms must be certified to meet their criteria. The three main focuses of certification criteria are bio diversity conservation, conserving natural resources, and improvement of wife quality.
How Can You Be A ‘Greener’ Or More Environmentally Conscious Coffee Consumer?
There are a few different ways can support environmental consciousness in purchasing your coffee. You can support coffee growers were actively trying to be eco-friendly.
In the previous section we looked at several different terms, certifications and their meetings. It is time to take the education and put it to good use.
Here’s what you can do:
- Buy certified organic coffee – Look for the USDA certified organic seal. This will give you the peace of mind in knowing that the coffee itself it’s processing and growing conditions are under constant state of inspection and monitoring by both governmental and independent agencies for compliance. They conduct routine inspections making sure that no unauthorized chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides are being used. You will be paying more for organic coffee than other coffees. This is because the costs of producing coffees in compliance with various regulations is far higher. Just don’t go into sticker shock. However, most people who buy organic are aware of the fact that organic produce and vegetables cost more at the supermarket anyway.
- Buy ‘old school’ grown coffee. There are certain areas of the world that pride themselves on growing coffee in an old school fashion. They refuse modern technology and want to adhere to the old, tried and true methods. It will take a little bit of research on your part to identify these coffees since there is no certification for old school methods. A couple of examples of the areas of the world were modern technology is burned in lieu of traditional methods are coffees of Indonesia, particularly my favorite Sumatra Mandheling, and coffees of Ethiopia.
- Employ your new found knowledge. Don’t stop at just an organic certification. Other valuable certifications to look for are the UTZ certification, the Audubon bird friendly certification (which insures shade grown, force protected) coffee growing methods, and endorsement by the Rain Forest Alliance.
Any of the above-mentioned certifications almost certainly mean that your purchasing sustainable coffee. The whole production chain from farmers, to roasters, to transporters, are ecologically conscious and producing a product in concert with their beliefs.
Are There Dangerous Pesticides Being Found In Coffee?
There have been no real health scares that I could research involving pesticides and coffee. Although there have been studies that have shown their presence in coffee. I would like to say they are never found, but in the words of James Bond “never say never”.
But if you understand how coffee is actually processed some basics about food sanitation, it will go a long way to alleviating your concerns.
The coffee bean itself is the seed of the fruit produced by the coffee tree. It resides internally within the fruit itself. When green coffee beans are processed, they are subjected to a fermenting process, was soaking process, and a drying process.
Finally, the beans are roasted to an internal temperature of 400°F. Given all these factors, it is highly unlikely that there would be any pesticide, herbicide, or fungicide residue left.
In basic food sanitation safe minimum cooking temperatures for most meat and produce ranges from 140°F to 165°F. These temperatures will prevent and/or kill bacterial growth. Remember, coffee is roasted to over 400°F.
Is Organic Coffee A Higher-Quality Coffee Then Nonorganic Coffee?
‘Quality’ can largely be as subjective evaluation. A coffees quality is determined by many things, not the least of which is how much love is given to the coffee itself. Are the growers, roasters, and people involved in the processing passionate about producing a quality coffee?
These are the important considerations and are not necessarily relegated to organic versus nonorganic coffee.
Let’s ask a more specific question. What contributes to the quality of coffee? Coffee quality is determined by several different factors most notably the bean and how it was grown.
Factors include soil, the elevation it which was grown, the processing technique, the harvest, in the roasting process. All that is to just get it to your home. Additional considerations when you actually make the coffee are the quality of your water the type of brewing process you are using, the condition of the equipment, and the temperature which you serve the coffee.
It would be difficult if not impossible to replicate all these factors to produce a true side-by-side taste comparison of organic and inorganic we grown coffee.
The Bean Box is a Seattle-based roaster with whom I’ve chosen to align myself. They are passionate about coffee which initially attracted me they offer a membership program and monthly delivery of different beans.
The Bean Box brings up an interesting point as to why organically grown coffee may be inferior to non-organically grown coffee:
“From an economic standpoint, farms and roasters who can afford to become organic certified are also generally operating at much higher scale. In our experience, factory farming and roasting are generally associated with a drop in quality.
What we’ve discovered is that coffee quality is tied to the amount of love a coffee receives, from the farm to the roaster to the cafe to your cup. This is why we work with roasters who are meticulous about their bean sources and roasting.”
Reasons Not To Produce Organic Coffee: A Growers Point Of View
Gary, a coffee farmer who gave up his job as a computer programmer to move his family to Hawaii to develop Kona Earth, a small farm raising Kona coffee beans. He is NOT an organic farmer but lends some fascinating insights about the topic from a farmer’s point of view.
He makes several interesting points. The first of which seems to verify what the people at The Bean Box have asserted in the previous section. He states that in growing organic coffee costs escalate in the yields go down.
“The only people that can realistically grow organically certified coffee are either very small farms that are content with inferior beans and low production or very large farms that grow one tiny organic plot so they can advertise “organic coffee” even though 99% of their production is not. You have to check carefully to see which products are organic certified and which are not.”
From the growers point of view he acknowledges that he might be able to charge more for organically certified coffee. In reality, though, that surcharge does not come close to covering the increased costs of organic production.
In order to become organically certified there is extremely close monitoring of both fertilizers and pesticides. Obviously, they can hurt the environment and may be a health hazard if used indiscriminately.
Coffee may be a bit different from other agricultural products in that coffee trees are not very susceptible to diseases and insect damage. They grow perfectly well without pesticides.
The problem is that they need massive amounts of fertilizer in order to be productive. Use of fertilizer is carefully monitored in organic certification. Even organic farmers realize the need to use lots of fertilizer. They use “natural fertilizer” such as chicken manure and other fertilizers on the organic “okay to use” list.
The problem is that these fertilizers cannot compete with modern, balanced, manufactured fertilizer. Quite simply coffee trees that aren’t fertilized properly will produce sickly fruit in the trees will not be healthy.
The last point I will discuss this is made by the good folks from Kona Earth is this:
In order to get organically certified, besides all the bureaucratic red tape and inspections, the coffee has to be grown without pesticides (not a problem since that’s already true), without any manufactured fertilizers (a big problem if you want healthy trees and enough production to actually make a profit) and without any herbicides for at least three years. That last one is another show stopper.
Most coffee is produced in tropical climates and rain forests. These are perfect habitats for wild plants. To maintain a proper coffee plantation some means of control must be used for weeds and competing plant growth. To not use any for three years would put the coffee trees in peril. Chances are they would die or become so intimate they would never fully produce for quite some time.
Check Out The Video Below
Are There Health Benefits Of Daily Moderate Drinking Of Coffee?
Absolutely. There are tons of health benefits from drinking coffee.
Who says coffee is healthy? Me? Your uncle Phil? Where can we get good information, which is not hearsay, or people simply parroting what others have said?
How about doctors who have conducted peer-reviewed research. Authoritative sources such as Web M.D., the World Health Organization, or the United States Public health service?
When examining matters and doing research on the Internet or anywhere it is extremely important to look at credibility of your sources. I am blessed, (or cursed), with an insatiable curiosity and desire to learn new things. This quality evidenced itself in my attending a few universities and acquiring a couple of degrees. I learned to ask questions.
In this section we will discuss the health benefits of drinking regular coffee. In the next section we will discuss the benefits and differences, if any of drinking organic coffee.
When I first started researching the health benefits of coffee I feared a dark cloud on the horizon. Anything that tastes so good, probably had to be bad for you. I was extremely grateful that the exact opposite is true.
There are numerous health benefits to drinking coffee that had been widely documented by doctors, researchers, and clinical trials. We will reveal some of the health benefits of drinking coffee.
Get ready for surprise. Here are the health benefits of drinking coffee moderately on a daily basis that I unearthed.
1. #1 source of antioxidants.
2. Protection against liver Cirrhosis.
3. Reduced risk of liver cancer.
4. Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Decreased risk of Dementia.
6. Decreased risk of Diabetes Type 2.
7. Protection against Parkinson’s disease.
8. Decreased risk of heart attack.
9. Lower risk of clogged arteries.
10. Decrease workout muscle pain.
11. Increased physical performance and energy levels.
12. Reduced risk of Gout.
13. Reduced risk of some cancers.
14. Lower risk of Multiple Sclerosis.
15. Helps you burn fat by increasing your metabolism.
16. Coffee provides essential vitamins and nutrients.
17. Coffee provides stronger DNA.
18. Coffee can help you live longer in general.
19. Coffee can prevent retinal damage.
20. Decreases risk of depression.
21. Coffee may prevent cavities and periodontal disease.
22. USDA recommends it for inclusion in the diet.
23. Decreases suicide risk and ideation.
Not long ago, my curiosity was aroused concerning the question of the health benefits of coffee. I extensively researched each of the above 23 claim’s looking for documentation and proof.
If you want more extensive look at any of the claims above please check out the results of my research. The result was an extensive article “revealed: 23 reasons drinking coffee daily is healthy ”
Check Out The Video Below
Is Drinking Organic Coffee Even Healthier Than Regular Coffee For You?
I hesitate to say all, because there might be an exception, of the studies proclaiming the health benefits of moderate drinking of coffee were done with coffee produced that was non-organic certified.
I would think that in order to prove that organic coffee was even healthier a whole set of controlled studies would have to be done making a side-by-side comparison of inner organically grown coffee and in organically grown coffee.
Therefore, I don’t believe anybody can produce factual evidence based data that proves that organic coffee produces more health benefits for you than regular coffee.
Intuitively, we would like to say that it is true. But the scientific streak in me hesitates to make that statement. I believe that it is very safe to say that organically grown coffee has at least the same health benefits as regular coffee.
Perhaps we need to ask a better question. Are there fewer potential contaminants in detrimental health aspects in drinking organic coffee versus non-organic coffee? The answer to that is probably yes.
Chemicals commonly used on a farm such as pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides are not used in organically grown products. Therefore the risk of ingestion is negligible.
There are numerous studies that support the fact that certain pesticides and herbicides certainly are not good for you. What are the potential culprits in terms of farm chemicals you may be exposed to through coffee growing methods. Most coffee trees do not need pesticides.
What is in an extremely common use in coffee growing our herbicides. Basically, weed killers such as Round up. The primary active ingredient in this herbicide is glyphosate. Several large organizations such as the EPA have concluded it is not a carcinogenic. It has been approved for use with coffee.
Check out The Video Below
Does Organically Grown Coffee Taste Better? I Don’t Know: Are Democrats Good Or Bad?
The tongue-in-cheek reference to the Democrats is simply this. I don’t know what the right answer is but ask enough people in you’ll get lots of different opinions.
I think ecologically conscious people will swear that organically grown coffee taste better. I think there will be a large number of people who have no opinion. And there’ll be a large number of people who will believe that being labeled “organic” is simply a marketing gimmick and does not affect taster flavor.
As we have seen previously, the large farms and mega grow operations that can afford to produce organic coffee only devote a very small percentage of their land to organic growing and production methods.
To them it is largely a marketing gimmick. There is great value in being able to produce the organic seal on a bag of coffee. At the other end of the extreme are the very small farmers and producers who cannot afford the lower yields and increase costs of organic certification.
What does this have to do with the taste of coffee? Simply this, the certification of organic or not has very little to do with the actual flavor and taste of the coffee. There are tremendous number of variables that affect the coffee from the time it is picked from the tree until the time you’re drinking it in the cup.
I believe that the reality is that if you were to pick two coffees from one of those large growing estates one that was organically grown and one that was not AND they were the same variety of coffee being grown on the same estate, in the same region, picked according to the same standards processed according to the same method dried in a similar fashion, roasted to a similar degree, ground in the same way, brewed by the same method, time, quality of water, and served at the same temperature – no one could tell the difference in a blind taste test.
Yet there are tons of people who are biased toward organically produced products will swear up and down it tastes better.I was unable to locate the results of professional blind taste tests pitting two coffees matching the criteria I listed above side-by-side. You have to combine apples with apples and basic scientific method says you can only test for one variable at a time.
I did find blind tastings that involved, for instance, tasting 10 organic coffees compared to each other. I found other studies that were striving to find “best buy” and least expensive organic coffees commonly available.
In the next section we will share some of these results and recommendations.
What Are The Best Tasting Organic Brands Of Coffees?
In order to make some recommendations I decided to consult with one of the largest retail sellers of coffee in the world, Amazon. These coffees of all face the trial of high sales and extensive reviews by the most important people in the world the actual buyers and drinkers of the coffee.
A part of me rebels about looking for “experts” opinion when all’s we have to do is take a look at the most popular coffees to find out who’s drinking it. This is capitalism at its best. If it wasn’t any good people would not be buying it. If they bought it in didn’t like it they would leave a scathing review. So with that in mind…
Here are selections I have made
Happy Belly House Blend Organic Fairtrade Coffee, Medium Dark Roast, Ground, 12 ounceCamano Island Coffee Roasters, Organic Sumatra Dark Roast, Ground, 1 LbThe Organic Coffee Co., Chocolate Almond- Whole Bean, 12 Ounce, Flavored, USDA OrganicPeak Performance High Altitude Organic Coffee. No Pesticides, Fair Trade, GMO Free, And Beans Full Of Antioxidants! USDA Certified Organic Ground CoffeeGreen Maya Palto Peru Amazonas Association 100% Certified Organic Peruvian Coffee2LB Cafe Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic Gourmet Coffee – Medium-Dark Roast – Whole Bean Coffee USDA Certified Organic, 2 Pound
What is the best organic ground coffee at Whole Foods?
Testing that was done by Consumer Reports a few years ago in 2014. I have always been partial to that publications rigorous testing procedures.
They found the best ground coffee of all just happened to be an organic. It is Allegro Organic Continental Blend from Whole Foods, for $12 per pound. Tasters found it to be complex, with chocolate and smoky flavors.
As a result of researching this article and I discovered a lot of interesting facts about organic coffee. People have strong opinions 1 way or another
So many coffees, so little time.
Here’s wishing you success in good taste in your coffee endeavors.
Coffee Lover’s Accessories:
Here are some gift ideas to help make your coffee experiences richer. We selected these gifts based on practicality and usefulness any coffee lover would appreciate.
Zevro Indispensable Coffee Dispenser, Silver – 1/2 PoundOzeri Pronto Digital Kitchen and Food Scale, Elegant BlackZoku Grey Iced Coffee Maker, Travel Mug – Hot Coffee In – Iced Coffee OutCup Holder Desk Clip Silver – Durable, Portable, and Foldable!
1. Ground Coffee Dispenser. No need to measure every time.Designed to measure one tablespoon at a time, the dispenser can be used to place ground coffee directly into coffee makers or espresso machines. It is constructed to keep ground coffee fresh for maximum flavor, and the included base keeps counter tops clean of ground coffee spills. Holds up to half a pound of ground coffee. Click & Check it out here.
2. Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale An accurate scale is a must for precision coffee making and coffee bean roasting. This is a top seller. Precision Tare Button calculates the net weight of your ingredients by automatically subtracting the weight of any bowl or container.Runs on 2 AAA batteries (included) that automatically power-off after 2-minutes to preserve battery life. Click & Check it out here.
3. Grey Iced Coffee Maker – Travel Mug Pour hot coffee in – get iced coffee out. Make chilled iced coffee or tea in as little as 5 minutes, no ice needed and it works with any brewing method, including single cup machines, drip, and pour over methods 4 designer colors to choose from. Click & Check it out here.
4. Portable Cup Holder With Clamp – Durable, Portable, and Foldable! This is not cheap plastic – it is aluminum with great clamping power. It fits many sizes of cups and appears safe and secure when holding a 32oz filled cup, a mug (up to 3″ in diameter), a thermos, a water bottle, or a soda can. Click & Check it out here.