How Can Coffee Beans Be Organic?

Coffee is good for your and organic coffee is better. There are many health benefits to drinking coffee so that it has tongue-in-cheek been called a wonder drug. Organic coffee is better because it contains virtually none of the impurities that can be found in regular coffee. But just how can coffee beans be organic? Healthy organic coffee is grown using sustainable agricultural practices and is processed, stored and shipped separately in order to avoid contamination with 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.

A study by the Australian Food Standards Authority revealed that as many as 133 contaminants may be in a cup of commercially available coffee. These contaminants include metals such as aluminum and zinc, pesticide residues, ochratoxin A, acrylamide, furan, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are found to cause cancer. Furans have been associated with skin disorders, liver problems, certain kinds of cancers, impairment to the reproductive, endocrine, and immune system, as well as effects on embryonic development.

So you really want organic coffee when you can get it. The best way to make sure that your coffee is organic is to look for certification on the bag. The three most reliable certifications are USDA, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance.

USDA Certified Coffee

USDA organic coffee is certified by the United States Department of Agriculture. Many consider this the gold standard in organic coffee certification.

According to the USDA, the following applies to USDA organic coffee as well as to all organic food production. “… Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.” Organic coffee certification reliably gives you a safe and flavorful coffee.

Because the only state in the USA that produces coffee is Hawaii most USDA certification is “farmed out” to designees of the USDA, such as Bio Latina.

UTZ Organic Coffee Certification

UTZ certified coffee meets the same standards as USDA certification but in addition UTZ works to teach coffee farmers good practices and helps to market their product.

Rainforest Alliance Organic Coffee Certification

Rainforest Alliance certified coffee also meets USDA standards and, like UTZ, this group helps small farmers develop their operations and market their product.

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