Organic Coffee to Go

You can be an organic coffee purist who buys imported green organic coffee beans and roasts just enough for a day’s consumption. Or you can be a lover of healthy organic coffee with a busy life and rarely be at home. If the latter is the case then where can you find organic coffee to go? Here are the larger coffee house chains and what we could find out about their organic coffee to go.

Caribou Coffee

Caribou carries acacia organic blend if you want strictly organic. But Caribou is also the first major coffee house chain to sell 100% Rainforest Alliance certified coffee.

Coffee Beanery

Coffee Beanery sells 100% Arabica coffees some of which are organic and Fair Trade.

Dunkin’ Donuts

These folks have evolved from a string of donut shops to a fast food chain with good coffee. They have organic coffee to go and are big on Fair Trade.

Starbucks

Starbucks carries several organic coffees to go and has for years.

McCafe

McDonald’s upgraded its coffee several years ago and added a coffee house niche in many of their restaurants. Much if not all of their coffee depending on which country you are in is Rainforest Alliance Certified, UTZ Certified or Fair Trade International. Their move to high quality certified coffee is especially important as McDonald’s serves a billion cups of coffee each year in the USA alone.

Costa Coffee

This is a British coffee house chain with outlets all over the world. They sell Rainforest Alliance certified coffees.

Tully’s Coffee

These folks used to sell 100% organic Fair Trade coffee. That stopped in 2008 but you can still get organic coffee to if you ask for it.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea

This company was started by Alfred Peet who first provided gourmet coffees to his customers. And yes you can get organic coffee to go at their establishments.

Tim Horton’s

This company does not use organic or other coffees certified by outside organizations. Rather they work directly with growers. Coffee and Conservation quotes the Tim Horton web site.

On their web site, the company explains, “we decided against buying fair trade coffee” and instead developed a program that works directly with the growers. This program, initiated in 2005, is called the Sustainable Coffee Partnership, and is implemented and managed by the outside organization EDE Consulting, of the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, Hamburg, Germany. The Partnership will focus on three-year projects. These will provide technical assistance and investment in infrastructure to improve productivity and quality, aid in crop diversification (such as bananas), address the needs of families, and emphasize “the need to respect and protect the environment.”

And there are lots of smaller coffee shops where you can get organic coffee to go but you need to ask. And if they do not have any you can ask them to buy a bag and offer it to their customers.

And if all else fails you can make your organic coffee at home and carry a thermos to keep it warm until the afternoon coffee break. Just a thought.

How Many Pounds of Coffee Do You Need to Trade for a Russian Fighter Jet?

Indonesia is the fourth largest coffee producer in the world at more than 800,000 tons a year. A fourth of their exports are high quality Arabica coffee beans and three fourths are lower quality but higher in caffeine content Robusta. As you enjoy your cup of Java remember that Java is an island in the Indonesian archipelago and was such a dominant producer in the early days that the island’s name came to mean coffee to many people. Indonesia is also a country with an army, navy and air force and recently they wanted to buy fighter jets from Russia. However, the EU and USA imposed banking sanctions on Russia because of its annexation of Crimea and meddling in Eastern Ukraine. So, how could Indonesia get the fighter jets it wanted? They resorted to barter and thereby bypassed the international banking system. Now the only question is how many pounds of coffee do you need to trade for a Russian fighter jet?

Russian Fighter Jet

Russian Fighter Jet

Green Coffee Beans

The business site Bloomberg reports that Indonesia barters coffee and palm oil for Russian fighter jets.

Indonesia said Monday that it will barter coffee, palm oil and other commodities for 11 Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets, calling U.S. and European sanctions against Russia an opportunity to boost the Southeast Asian nation’s trade.

Indonesian Ministry of Trade spokesman Marolop Nainggolan said that a memorandum of understanding for the barter was signed Aug. 4 in Moscow between Russia’s Rostec and PT. Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia, both state-owned companies.

Both sides are staying quiet about the exact details but a Russian Sukhoi Su-35 jet sells for $40 million to $65 million depending on the number of options included. Assuming that Indonesia goes with the low cost $40 million option how many pounds of coffee do you need to trade for this Russian fighter jet?

The Price of Coffee

As of this writing, Arabica coffee trades at about $3.30 a pound. Robusta trades at about $2.31 a pound.  How does that translate into Russian fighter jets? If the Russians only want lots of caffeine and less flavor they will barter for Robusta. $40 million divided by $2.31 a pound for Robusta comes to 17.3 million pounds of Robusta coffee which is almost 9,000 tons. If the Russians go for the better tasting Arabica, this comes to $40 million divided by $3.30 or 12.1 million pounds of Arabica which is 6,000 tons. Indonesia produces 200,000 tons of Arabica a year and 600,000 tons of Robusta. If the country decided to trade all of its Robusta coffee for fighter jets they could trade for 600,000 tons/9,000 tons = 66 Russian fighter jets. If they traded all of their Arabica coffee for jets that would work out to 200,000 tons/6,000 tons = 33 Russian fighter jets. Of course there is palm oil in the bargain but our calculations only concern themselves with how many pounds of coffee they need to trade for Russian fighter jets of which they are buying 11.

Organic Coffee Creamer without Carrageenan

The other day we received a question from a reader. There were looking for an organic coffee creamer without carrageenan. First of all what is carrageenan?

Edible Seaweed Extract

Carrageenan was used as long ago as 600 BC in China and 400 BC in Ireland as a thickener, gelling agent and to stabilize certain foods, especially dairy products. Most of the seaweed used for industrial scale production of this product today comes from the Philippines. Today carrageenan is used with meat and dairy products because of its strong binding to food proteins. One of the products that might contain carrageenan is your coffee creamer. If you are drinking heathy organic coffee you probably want organic creamer and perhaps organic coffee creamer without carrageenan would be a good idea.

Organic Coffee Creamer without Carrageenan

The Cornucopia Institute published an informative article listing organic dairy products with and without carrageenan. They note that when this ingredient is used as a “processing aid” it will not be listed as an ingredient. The organic coffee creamer without carrageenan they list is Organic Valley.

What’s Wrong with Carrageenan?

The current concern about carrageenan started with a scholarly article published in 2001. A review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments by Dr. J K Tobakman reported intestinal ulcerations and malignancies in animals that consumed carrageenan.

Because of the acknowledged carcinogenic properties of degraded carrageenan in animal models and the cancer-promoting effects of undegraded carrageenan in experimental models, the widespread use of carrageenan in the Western diet should be reconsidered.

Subsequently this subject has been reviewed by various researchers. The bottom line is that it will probably be removed from organic products but not until 2018 as noted by Dr. Axe, Food is Medicine.

Carrageenan is literally everywhere. It is virtually impossible to find a grocery store that doesn’t sell products that include it as an additive. Even the natural food stores are full of it. You can find it in organic yogurt, tofu, coconut milk, baby formula and even in your nitrite-free turkey cold cuts. It has a long and controversial reputation as an emulsifier that damages the digestive system.

Luckily, though, the National Organics Standards Board voted in November 2016 to remove carrageenan from the list of substances allowed in organic food. However, the United States Department of Agriculture has the final say and is scheduled to publish its final rule on this in November 2018, according to Food Safety News.

In the meantime your best bet to find organic coffee creamer without carrageenan is to buy Organic Valley.

Although this product has been around for a long time and has been used extensively in the food industry since the 1930s it has been found to be associated with the following conditions.

  • Large bowel ulceration
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Fetal toxicity & birth defects
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Glucose intolerance and insulin resistance
  • Inflammation
  • Liver cancer
  • Immune suppression
  • Promoting the growth of abnormal colon glands, which are precursors to polyps

All in all this is probably a good thing to avoid. Read the labels on what you buy and if you think it might have been used as a processing aid contact the manufacturer.

Organic Coffee vs Folgers

If you want organic coffee you need to look for organic certification on the label. If you buy Arabica coffee you are getting the highest quality coffee. Organic is virtually always Arabica. But the best-selling American coffee brand is Folgers. How can you compare organic coffee vs Folgers?

Organic Coffee

Healthy organic coffee is Arabica coffee grown using sustainable agricultural practices. It is more expensive than regular and is free of many potentially harmful impurities that can be found in regular coffee.

Healthy organic coffee has been around for a long, long time. Unfortunately in the modern era the use of pesticides and herbicides has entered the picture in growing many crops, including otherwise healthy organic coffee. Although non-organic contaminants do not necessarily reduce the beneficial health effects of a healthy cup of organic coffee the non-organic contaminants cause problems of their own.

If you buy organic coffee you are supporting sustainable agriculture and helping protect the environment. What about regular Folgers?

Folgers

Leaf TV discusses the ingredients of Folgers classic roast coffee. This product is all coffee without other additives. And this coffee is described by the company as mountain grown without specifics as to altitude but it is sourced throughout the coffee growing world.

The world’s coffee beans are divided into two major varieties. Arabica plants produce coffee, with deep, complex flavors and aromas. Robusta coffees are higher in caffeine, but have simpler flavors with harsh and bitter tones. Arabica plants are more demanding and harder to grow, while the accurately named robustas can be cultivated in a much wider range of areas. This makes robusta beans cheaper, and therefore popular in mass-market brands. Folger’s Classic Roast is a blend of robusta and arabica beans, with the arabicas used to moderate the roughness of the robustas.

Robusta has more caffeine and is easier to grow while Arabica is a better coffee but much more fussy about growing conditions.

Robusta coffee is properly named Coffea robusta, or Coffea canephora. This variety of coffee is a more hardy plant than the Arabica variety. It is less prone to infestations of insects or plant disease so it is also cheaper to grow. Originating from plants in the western and central sub-Sahara Robusta yields more coffee beans than an Arabica plant and Robusta coffee beans contain about 2.7% caffeine as opposed to 1.5% for Arabica. The Robusta plant can grow as high as thirty feet. It is the primary coffee grown across most of Africa from Ethiopia on the Indian Ocean to Liberia on the Atlantic and South to Angola. The species has also been exported to Borneo, French Polynesia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Jamaica and the Lesser Antilles. The most recent export of Robusta coffee beans has been to Vietnam where coffee farmers produce the second largest volume of coffee in the world after Brazil. About a third of world coffee production is Robusta coffee beans of which the largest part come from the Highland of Vietnam.

Thus the difference between organic coffee and Folgers is twofold.  The best-selling Folgers brand is not organic and it contains a substantial amount of caffeine rich but not as good tasting Robusta coffee beans.

Is Third Wave Coffee Really Better?

For generations Brazil exported its finest coffee and sold coffee mixed with things like corn meal locally. Now Brazil has coffee shops for the coffee connoisseur. The same thing, it turns out, is happening in Guatemala the Central American producer of Arabica coffees. Although Guatemala started planting some Robusta at lower altitudes due to leaf rust the country is still primarily a high quality Arabica coffee producer. And now locals are enjoying coffee house scene with their own high quality coffees. The New York Times reports that the hot new thing in Guatemala is coffee.

Guatemala is no longer just exporting coffee. It is also home to an expanding community of coffee shops where baristas point out the peach and raisin notes in the daily special and tasting classes (“cupping,” to the initiated) are scheduled each Saturday.

“The community will grow,” predicted Raúl Rodas, the 2012 world barista champion, who has his own coffee shop and distributor, Paradigma, in the city’s trendy Zone 4.

“We need more producers, more consumers, more coffee houses,” Mr. Rodas said over coffee at a competitor, El Injerto, where he greeted the baristas by name and explained how to identify the hint of a cocoa powder flavor with the finish of each sip.

This is third wave coffee where baristas can tell their clients which farm in which coffee growing area their coffee came from, if it is regular or healthy organic coffee and provide classes in coffee roasting, tasting and sourcing. But is third wave coffee really better and if it is does it justify the price? A college friend of mine said that when he got his first job he moved on from $3 a bottle wine to $10 a bottle of wine because he could afford it and because he could taste the difference. When he had gotten a couple of promotions he said that he considered moving up to $20 a bottle of wine because he could afford it but noted that he could not really tell the difference. Another Times article, Do I Detect a Hint of Joe, discusses third wave coffee.

THOUGH wine tastings seem to have become less pretentious in recent years, it’s still rare to hear a top varietal compared to Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. But at coffee tastings – known to aficionados as cuppings – there is no prescribed lexicon, and a lot more room for whimsy.

Although most folks at a cupping can detect slight changes in flavor not everyone can.

Kurt Cavanaugh, a first-time cupper who had never tasted coffee before 2006, broke the silence. “Sadly, to me, the Guatemalan tasted like an overdone Starbucks,” said Mr. Cavanaugh, 26, the director of marketing at the Riverside Park Fund.

This is probably a guy who goes for the $10 bottle of wine instead of the $20 bottle. Taste is subjective. If you like a very specific taste you may need to search far and wide to find it and then pay to get it. But, on the other hand if you add a lot of cream and sugar to your coffee you are masking the “hints of curry and cheddar” or the “basil and jasmine” so there is little point in going with third wave coffee.

But, if you would like your own source of unique coffee from the hills of Colombia contact us today. We can arrange for shipment of small quantities or roasted or green coffee as well as shipping containers full of green beans from the Colombian coffee growing axis, the Eje Cafetero.

Organic Ways to Fight the Coffee Borer Beetle

An old pest is back and posing a major threat to Brazil’s coffee crop. According to Reuters the coffee borer beetle is causing major damage to coffee crops in the world’s leading producer.

Coffee growers in parts of Brazil are grappling with the worst beetle infestation in recent memory as a ban on a pesticide used for 40 years has helped the destructive insect flourish, threatening bean quality and yields.

The damage from the beetle – until 2013 controlled by the pesticide endosulfan – is compounding a smaller biennial production year for Brazil’s producers, who are already struggling with the impact of poor weather in some areas as well as plant fatigue after a big harvest. The government expected the annual crop to be down 11 percent on the year even before the beetle problem emerged.

The beetle known in Latin America as la broca is especially prevalent in Brazil’s largest growing area where 40% of its coffee is produced. Crop damage will be has high as 30% infestation of coffee beans. How did this happen?

It is not just the restriction of the pesticide endosulfan that has caused this infestation. Last year Brazil had a bumper crop of coffee which meant hiring more workers than usual and many unskilled coffee pickers left lots of bad beans on the ground. These beans became infected by the coffee borer beetle and became the seed that grew into this year’s major infestation. And heavy rains and high humidity contributed to the coffee borer beetle thriving.

Endosulfan

From India The Hindu calls endosulfan the spray of death. It is an off patent organochlorine insecticide and acaricide that is widely banned due to its toxic effects on humans and tendency to accumulate in the environment. It is effective in controlling the coffee borer beetle but only if sprayed before the beetle enters the coffee bean. And it can be carried over large distances on the wind and by water thus threatening adjacent organic coffee crops. How can the coffee borer beetle be controlled without the use of this dangerous chemical?

Organic Ways to Fight the Coffee Borer Beetle

Several years ago we wrote about the coffee borer beetle and how organic growers deal with it without resorting to chemicals like endosulfan.

The coffee borer beetle is a threat to coffee crops wherever it is found. In the Latin American regions where the pest is found it goes by the names barrenador del café, gorgojo del café and broca del café. Infestation is spread via the inadvertent transport of infected beans. The primary way to continue to produce healthy organic coffee when there is an infestation is to hand sort the bean and dry promptly after picking. Various organic approaches can be used to deter and destroy the pest while maintaining an organic crop and organic coffee certification.

Protecting habitat for birds is useful in fighting the coffee borer beetle.

When young beetles come out of a coffee bean, various birds such as the Yellow and Rufous-capped Warbler feast on these insects. In Costa Rica the presence of these birds by itself reduces infestation by half.

And you can fight bugs with bugs.

There are wasps native to Africa that are useful in controlling the coffee borer beetle. The wasp lays her eggs and the offspring eat the beetles. The downside is that the coffee plantation then has lots of stinging wasps flying around. Nevertheless this is a totally organic means of controlling a beetle than can destroy an entire crop. Another wasp found in Togo attacks adult beetles and tends to remain with the crop for a long time. It is widely used on the Arabica coffee plantations of Colombia.

Ants, nematodes, and fungi can be used to help control the coffee borer beetle. All of these approaches allow the grower to control the pest without using chemicals.

And cleaning up after the coffee harvest is important. Coffee farmers who leave a lot of unpicked beans on the ground are inviting an infestation of la broca.

Organic Coffee Versus Green Tea

Coffee is good for you and the health benefits of organic coffee come primarily from the antioxidants. But green tea also has antioxidants. How does coffee versus green tea stack up regarding antioxidants and health benefits?

Comparing Green Tea and Coffee

Medical Daily writes about the health benefits of coffee vs. tea.

Both coffee and tea have their benefits, though it’s always hard to pinpoint exactly what those are due to the large amount of contradictory studies. Researchers have focused on specific potential benefits of coffee, with some studies finding that coffee might have the ability to reduce the incidence of dementia or Alzheimer’s or even type 2 diabetes, for example. Coffee has a higher caffeine content than tea, meaning its levels of the stimulant might help people with asthma by relaxing the lung’s airways. Caffeine also helps in constricting blood vessels in the brain and reducing migraines, and often alleviates hangovers because of this. So if you’ve got a bad headache, taking some Advil with coffee and food (and water) might help you out.

Tea, on the other hand, is filled with antioxidants and potential cancer-fighting properties. According to the National Cancer Institute at the NIH, tea contains polyphenol compounds, which are antioxidants that might aid in cancer prevention. Though not enough has been studied to conclude whether tea does in fact reduce the risk of cancer, tea has often been considered a therapeutic or medicinal drink that has both soothing and rejuvenating qualities. All types of tea are made from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis, which wilt and oxidize after harvesting; oxidation results in the breaking down of chemicals. The amount of oxidation that occurs in the leaves is what defines different types of teas, from black tea to white tea, and of course green tea. Polyphenols in particular are a group of plant chemicals that are believed to be involved in health benefits – especially in green tea. Teas with the highest levels of polyphenols are usually brewed hot teas rather than cold (and sugary) bottled teas. Polyphenols in green tea, and theaflavins and thearubigins in black tea, contain free radicals that might protect cells from DNA damage.

It turns out that both coffee and green tea are rich in the sort of antioxidants that prevent disease. The article is three years old so several of the newly discovered health benefits are drinking coffee are not included. Although they mention that caffeine in coffee helps asthma (by stimulating adrenaline secretion) the theobromine in tea also helps dilate airways and thus help relieve asthma.

Better Drink Organic

Whether you choose tea or coffee as your beverage of choice we suggest that you go organic. Certified organic coffee is free of the more than 100 impurities that can show up in a regular cup of coffee. Drink organic and avoid residues of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and more in your favorite drink. And when you drink only organic you are supporting sustainable agriculture which protects the land on which the coffee is grown and the water table beneath it. When you drink shade grown organic coffee you also protect habitat for wildlife.

Organic Coffee with Butter

A new craze in the coffee world is to add butter to your cup of java. What is the point of organic coffee with butter? Is this something you should try or are there drawbacks? Natural Living Ideas writes that there are 7 good reasons to start adding butter to your coffee.

Although coffee alone possesses a number of scientifically backed benefits, adding butter is said to lend a creamy texture and some important nutrients to your morning brew.

In fact, despite the recent publicity, the practice of adding butter and other fats to coffee for its health benefits is not a new one! This drink has been enjoyed for centuries by people from the Himalayas, Ethiopia, Nepal, Vietnam, and Singapore, while yak-butter tea drinks are consumed in Tibet by mountain trekking locals.

The reasons they cite for adding butter to your coffee are these:

Butter is a better idea than whipped cream and sugar

  • Grass fed butter contains omega 3 fatty acids which are good for you
  • Butter contains vitamin K, the “forgotten vitamin”
  • Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid which has been touted as helping in weight loss
  • Butter, unlike, sugar lasts in your systems and makes you feel full longer
  • Butter lines the stomach and reduces the irritant effects of coffee
  • Butter provides a longer lasting energy boost than sugar

But what are the drawbacks? If you have a problem with your cholesterol you should probably ask your doctor before adding more dairy fats to your diet. And if you have a milk/dairy allergy or are lactose intolerant avoiding dairy products in your coffee is important.

Why Grass Fed?

Those who promote putting butter in your coffee say that it should be grass fed butter. Apparently butter from cows that only eat grass and not grains contains higher amounts of linoleic acid.

How Do You Make Organic Coffee with Butter?

There are all sorts of variations on the theme but basically you make a cup of organic coffee and add one or two tablespoonsful of butter. The health benefits of coffee come from the antioxidants and the caffeine and both are preserved in this concoction.

Are There Any Side Effects?

It turns out that butter coffee is an acquired taste. Some folks get nausea when they first drink butter coffee and some experience diarrhea. Make sure that if you have lactose intolerance that you avoid butter in your coffee unless it is also lactose free. If this drink makes you nauseous it is best to avoid it. That having been said many drink and enjoy organic coffee with butter. Whether it results in weight loss is questionable as the best way to lose weight is to reduce calories and increase physical activity.

Which Organic Coffee?

Our first and best choice for organic coffee is coffee from Colombia. If you would like your coffee sent directly from the Colombian eje Cafetero (coffee growing axis) contact us and we can arrange for small batches or shipping containers full of Colombian coffee for you.

Coffee and Marijuana in Your K Cup

Now there is a new product that you can make with your single serve coffee maker from Keurig. A California company named Brewbuds is putting marijuana and coffee in k cups and selling them in Nevada where recreational pot is legal. Business Insider discusses the marijuana-infused coffee pod.

This week, Brewbudz debuted a line of coffees and teas spiked with marijuana flower and encased in single-serve, fully compostable containers. Each pod costs about $7 and is available at select dispensaries in Nevada.

Kevin Love, director of product for Brewbudz parent company Cannabiniers, said the company wanted to crack the marijuana edibles market with a low-calorie product that uses a socially accepted delivery mechanism. When they read the stats on coffee consumption, Cannabiniers (whose name combines “cannabinoids” – chemical compounds found in marijuana – and “pioneers”) knew they found a match. Nearly two-thirds of Americans drink coffee every day.

These folks are not the first to come up with a pot and coffee k cup but what makes them unique is their totally biodegradable packaging.

The pods are made from bio-based mesh, skins of roasted coffee beans, and other organic materials. When disposed of correctly, the pod breaks down in as little as five weeks, according to the website. By comparison, Keurig generates billions of pieces of plastics every year.

Perhaps other k cup makers, of just coffee, will follow this example and come up with totally biodegradable packaging. Perhaps that would forestall the death of the k cup.

We wrote recently about k cups in our article, Does Organic Coffee in a K Cup Make Sense? There is a basic contradiction in the equation of selling organic coffee in plastic containers that will fill up landfills and not decompose for thousands of years! However, the more likely case is that single serving coffee is a fad and fads run their course. So, is this the death of the k cup or simply a retrenchment into a smaller market?

Where Do K Cups Make Sense?

This writer loves it when he travels and there is a coffee maker in his hotel room. Here is a case where k cups make sense although we would like to see biodegradable cups. Single adults do not make large or need large quantities of coffee so biodegradable k cups make sense there also. For the family that makes coffee for several people at once give me a pot of boiling water, a cloth filter and freshly ground healthy organic coffee in the right quantity.

But how do marijuana and coffee work together? Live Science says this.

The combination of the two will likely make the user feel wired and tired at the same time, he said. But taking caffeine with marijuana would not cancel out the high induced by the drug, he noted. And it would be a mistake to think that someone could get high and then sober up, thanks to the caffeine, Krakower said.

The best approach to this product is to consider it a way to take marijuana and not a way to enhance your coffee experience.

Organic Coffee versus Regular

Why should you choose organic coffee versus regular? After all regular coffee is cheaper, has caffeine and is easy to find at the grocery store. There are two good reasons for drinking organic coffee versus regular, your health and the environment.

Coffee, Organic and Health

Coffee is good for you. There are lots and lots of studies showing that coffee consumption reduces your risk of getting various types of cancer.

Prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, and colon cancer may all occur less often in long term coffee drinkers. To avoid cancer by drinking coffee it appears as though one needs to drink as much as four cups a day although some research studies show benefits in individuals with lower levels of coffee consumption. In general the benefits of coffee in the case of reducing the incidence of cancer have to do with chemicals called antioxidants found in roasted coffee.

In addition coffee improves athletic performance and even your sex life. Coffee drinkers are less depressed and less likely to come down with diseases of aging like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. But how does organic coffee differ from regular coffee in regards to health?

Coffee Impurities and Certification

The way to know that you are buying organic coffee is to look for proof of organic coffee certification on the bag.

The soil in which organic coffee is grown must have been verified as free from prohibited substances for at least three years. In addition there must be distinct boundaries between land on which organic coffee is grown and land where pesticides, herbicides, and prohibited chemical fertilizers are used. This guarantees that drift of substances sprayed or otherwise applied on adjacent land will not contaminate the organic plot of land. Organic coffee certification includes the adherence to a specific and verifiable plan for all practices and procedures from planting to crop maintenance, to harvest, de-husking, bagging, transport, roasting, packaging, and final transport. Along the way procedures must be in place at every step to insure that there is no contamination of the healthy organic coffee produced in pristine soil with regular coffee produced on soil exposed to herbicides, pesticides, and organic fertilizers.

The Australian health authority tested regular coffee some years back and found up to 130 unwanted impurities. Why you want to drink organic coffee versus regular is to avoid unwanted herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and residue of synthetic fertilizers in your cup of Java.

Organic Coffee and the Environment

Organic coffee is grown using sustainable agricultural techniques. The soil and the water table are protected and their quality preserved. When coffee farmers grow coffee in the shade they also preserve habitat for songbirds. In fact there is a certification specifically for coffee for the birds. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center has a Bird Friendly Coffee certification. Other certifications to look for are Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and the gold standard, USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Drink organic coffee and support coffee farmers who work to preserve the environment for future generations as well as produce a high quality and healthy organic coffee.