Is Organic Coffee Pesticide Free?

organic coffee berries grown in Indonesia

QUESTION: It’s important to me to buy coffee that’s pesticide free, but I’m not sure about whether this applies to organic coffee. Is organic coffee pesticide free? – Wilmetta O

ANSWER: You can count on organic coffee to be grown without using conventional chemical pesticides, but that doesn’t mean that absolutely no pesticides were used on the coffee beans. Organic farmers are permitted to use certified organic pesticides on their crops. 

Why Drink Organic Coffee?

A lot of coffee drinkers depend on organic coffee to deliver the aroma and taste they love without needing to worry about what was sprayed on the coffee beans before they made it to the grocery store shelf. Coffee crops are one of the ones most frequently treated with pesticides across the globe, so it makes sense for coffee drinkers to choose organic. 

And there’s a good reason to be concerned about what your coffee beans were treated with in the field. Some pesticides and fertilizers that are banned from use in the United States are still used in other countries. 

Some coffee drinkers prefer organic coffee beans simply because of the amount of coffee they drink each day. These people believe that if they’re going to be drinking a few cups a day of something, it makes sense for it to be organic so it’s as natural as possible. 

As far as whether organic coffee is healthier or not, the jury is still out. There haven’t been any studies to analyze whether organic coffee is healthier than coffee that isn’t organic. But organic coffee beans have been found to contain more healthy antioxidants than coffee beans that aren’t organic.

Other coffee drinkers choose to drink organic coffee because of the global environmental impact that chemical fertilizers and pesticides can have. These chemical treatments can also have an effect on the people around the world who work to get the coffee beans from the fields to your home. Chemical treatments can also have an effect on the local ecosystem that spreads beyond the confines of the farm where they are grown. The runoff from these farms when it rains contains any chemicals used on the plants, often reaching the water supply.

There’s a good reason to choose organic for your coffee if you’re going to choose it for anything you consume. Coffee beans are one of the crops most heavily treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers worldwide. That means you can make a real difference in how natural your diet is simply by switching to organic coffee. Some people are even able to taste a difference in flavor between organic coffee beans and those that aren’t organic. 

Another reason to choose organic coffee beans is the effect on climate change. Farms using organic practices give off less carbon than other coffee farms. And most organic coffee farms use natural farming methods, which means that usually organic coffee companies don’t engage in harmful practices like clearing forests to make room to grow coffee in the sun. 

It’s also often the case that chemical pesticides don’t target problem insects. Instead, these pesticides can be harmful to the population of beneficial insects like pollinators. With bee populations in decline, many people believe it’s important to protect these pollinating insects by doing things like choosing organic coffee.

As you can see, there’s more than one reason for a person to choose organic coffee. While natural pesticides may have been used at organic coffee bean farms, artificial chemical treatments will not have been used. When you choose organic coffee, that’s one more thing to love about the coffee in your cup.

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