The Case For Going Organic With Your Morning Cup Of Coffee
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When we’re grocery shopping or waiting in line at our local cafe, we find it impossible not to check out the bags of coffee beans for sale. They come from a diverse collection of regions across the globe, they offer a variety of flavor notes and they smell incredible. But it’s become increasingly clear to us that some bags are labeled “organic,” while others are not. So we asked: Is there a clear benefit of drinking organic coffee exclusively?
As we conducted our research, it’s clear that the answer has two components — how organic coffee impacts your personal health and how organic coffee impacts the environment and farm workers who produce it.
The label “organic” on a bag of coffee confirms for consumers that no synthetic chemical pesticides were used in the farming of the beans. That’s not to say that natural fertilizers weren’t used, but those aren’t what cause the health problems we’re concerned about.
If you’re well-versed in the world of coffee, then you know that the coffee bean is actually the seed of the plant — we remove the plant and fruit exterior before drying these seeds, roasting them via heat processing, grinding them up, pouring boiling hot water over them and then, ultimately, drinking that water. So generally speaking, the pesticide exposure isn’t super high even if you aren’t buying organic beans. But that doesn’t mean you want to take your chances, either.
The roasting process also impacts the amount of pesticide residue left on conventionally-grown beans. A 2012 Japanese study found that while the heat treatment does break down and eliminate the bulk of pesticide accumulation in coffee beans, it does not rid them entirely of the synthetic chemicals. So if you aren’t going organic, you do risk ingesting things like chlordane in your morning cup of joe on a daily basis. And consuming pesticides like this can cause skin irritation, headaches, feelings of lethargy and allergic reactions, and the long-term risks aren’t pretty.
The World Around You
Some would say the most impactful reason to go organic with your coffee is related to what it means for the environment and the farmers producing those coffee beans for you. By avoiding the use of chemical pesticides, you prevent farming communities from breathing in harmful compounds and those compounds reaching drinking water sources, which ultimately contaminate what keeps the local people alive. By prioritizing natural methods, those farms also end up using more environmentally friendly practices and rely a lot less on non-renewable resources like petroleum to produce their product.
Best Organic Buys
The final element of going organic with your coffee is the potentially steep price tag. When you’re already watching out for the Dirty Dozen and sourcing your foods carefully, the remaining budget for a bag of beans can be pretty minimal. But you don’t have to drop tons of cash for organic coffee so long as you know where to look. Here are a few options we found on Amazon that’ll give you the caffeine buzz and flavor kick you want for less than $10 per pound. (Don’t worry, we picked ground coffee options so you don’t need a grinder at home.)
This medium roast is USDA certified, kosher and full of the flavor you need to kick off your day. Blended and roasted by the company’s Brazil-born CEO and master roaster, the coffee is well-balanced with just the right amount of acidity and a smooth finish.
For those looking to make an upgrade from the Folgers can, Cafe Altura’s Regular Roast makes a great brew, both hot and iced. Roasted in Ventura, California, this medium roast coffee has bright, clean and mellow flavor notes that are ideal for any time of day.
For the fans of the dark roasts out there, this brew from Mt. Whitney Coffee Roasters checks all the boxes. The single-origin coffee produced in Latin America has notes of dark chocolate, smoke and brown sugar with a heavy, powerful body. It’s bound to wake you up!
What are you waiting for? Pick your favorite organic beans and get brewing, worry-free.