QUESTION: What are the cleanest coffee brands? I am looking for coffee that’s free of pesticides, but also free of mycotoxins. – Jules F
ANSWER: People choose clean and/or organic coffee brands for many different reasons. Perhaps they want to know that their money is going towards a sustainable and environmentally friendly product. Maybe they just enjoy the taste of organic coffees more than big corporate coffee. Or maybe it’s all about getting a clean, unadulterated product that you can trust. In your case we know you’re looking for organic and mycotoxin free.
But what does clean mean in general, when it comes to coffee? Just to be clear, we’re not talking about dirty coffee beans, as in, covered in actual dirt. Clean coffee is coffee that was grown without chemical pesticides. Getting pesticide free coffee is one of the main reasons why people buy organic. If you purchase organic coffee, you can be sure that you are getting a product free from a long list of chemical pesticides, which includes Endosulfan, Paraquat dichloride, Permethrin, and more.
Now, the coffee bean itself is protected by the cherry, so even though the coffee bushes are getting sprayed down with pesticides, very little, if any of these chemicals are getting on your coffee beans. However, they are getting sprayed all over the plants themselves, which are being grown in exotic locations around the world, in mountainous rainforests, and very important ecological places. The use of pesticides for coffee growing in the rainforests are environmentally disastrous. So, buying organic is less about avoiding ingesting chemically treated products, and more about discouraging the use of environmentally disastrous chemicals.
While the coffee beans buried deep inside the protective cherry may not be directly affected by the pesticides, they were still produced by a plant that was practically steeped in chemicals throughout its growth and development. Buying organic coffee gives you peace of mind in three ways. You know that you are not ingesting a product that has been tainted by synthetic pesticides, you know that the use of pesticides aren’t destroying farmland with environmentally dangerous chemicals, and you know that the workers that are farming the coffee you are buying weren’t exposed to hazardous chemicals while growing your coffee beans.
Buying organic coffee will ensure that you are getting a product that is free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, and will give you a much better chance of getting a product that is free from fungus and mycotoxins. Look for the USDA Organic label on the package or on the company’s website. The USDA Organic label ensures that the coffee beans that bear its seal are in accordance with the standards outlined by the USDA’s National Organic Program.
However, buying organic isn’t the only thing to look for on the package of potential coffee bean purchases. In order to ensure that the coffee beans that you buy are grown and sourced in a sustainable way, look for Fair Trade, and Rainforest Alliance certifications on the product’s label. These labels will let you know that the coffee you are buying is in line with the protocols suggested by the Fair Trade Organization and the leading rainforest advocacy group.
Another seal to look for is the Bird-Friendly label from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This seal ensures that your coffee was grown in accordance with the Smithsonian’s suggested outlines on using shade for coffee growing habitats, which requires 40% shade coverage even after pruning of the growing area.
There are many coffee companies who claim to provide clean, mold and mycotoxin free coffee on the market today. Many of these companies test their coffee beans for mold and make the test results available to the public, while others keep test results private. The companies who choose not to share the test results with the public, though probably well intentioned, seem to have something to hide, as otherwise, why wouldn’t the test results be made available for public view?
To help you get a better idea of which of these brands are conducting tests, and which choose to be transparent with the test results, we compiled a list of the top brands, and listed off what each company does to insure their coffee beans are amongst the cleanest on the market, and what some of these companies fail to do, as well. Here are the top clean coffee brands, and what we know about their practices.
Though Lifeboost Organic coffee is amongst the more expensive coffee on the market, it comes with a lot of peace of mind, paired with an exceptionally smooth taste with low acidity. Lifeboost coffee is single origin grown by small family farms in Nicaragua. Lifeboost coffee is certified Kosher, fair trade compliant, grown in shade dominant environments which are at least one mile high above sea level. Lifeboost coffees are pesticide free, Non-GMO, low in acidity, and well below the FDA standards for fungus and mycotoxin presence.
Subtle Earth Organic
Cafe Don Pablo’s Subtle Earth Organic is grown in the mountains of Honduras, at such an elevation that no pesticides are needed to keep the coffee bushes safe from insect problems. The coffee itself is sublime, with a rich, dark flavor to help jumpstart even the foggiest of mornings. Subtle Earth coffee bears the USDA Organic seal of approval. Don Pablo coffee is roasted in small batches, right when you order it, in order to guarantee the best possible freshness. Though Subtle Earth coffee is organic, they do not seem to be testing for fungi or mycotoxins, nor are they fair trade certified. Still, Don Pablo’s Subtle Earth Organic coffee is a quality product at an affordable price.
Mindful Coffee uses a subscription-based system in which you receive a new batch of coffee every two weeks. They prepare beans from across the globe in their Salt Lake City micro-roastery. Their coffee is available in several blends and single-origin options, with lots of roast levels to choose from.
At this time, Kion’s offerings are limited to medium roast. However, this medium roast is 100 percent Arabica, “specialty grade” coffee. It’s also lab-tested as free from mold, pesticides, and mycotoxins. Kion’s coffee is a blend of beans from Colombia, and Kion has received the Smithsonian Bird Friendly Certification in addition to being certified organic.
The organic coffee from Bulletproof comes in many flavors, from light to medium and medium-dark to dark roasts. There are lots of both whole bean and ground coffee options, too. The beans Bulletproof uses come from Guatemala and Colombia. Bulletproof’s coffee is available in a 12-ounce or five-pound bag or in pods.
Purity’s Whole Bean Coffee is organic and lab-tested as free of mold and other contaminants. It contains 60 percent more antioxidants than other organic coffee brands. It’s available in a 12-ounce or five-pound bag of whole beans or in pods. They use single-origin coffee from Colombia that’s grown at high altitudes.
Natural Force’s organic Clean Coffee is available as a regular or dark roast. Natural Force’s coffee is lab tested as free of mold, mycotoxins, and pesticides. It also has low acidity, so it’s especially gentle on the stomach. Natural Force coffee is single-origin from Colombia and is grown at high altitudes.
Peak Performance Organic
Peak Performance sells extremely affordable fair trade, high altitude, single origin organic coffee. The high altitude environment results in dense coffee beans known as “strictly hard beans” or “SHBs.” These beans are known for high quality taste and also pack a punch of antioxidants.
Isagenix offers lots of other snacks and beverages, and their coffee is quite affordable for its quality. Isagenix Coffee uses a blend of fair trade, 100 percent Arabica beans. The flavor is described as smooth and clean. The slow-roasted beans contain coconut oil, green tea extract, and trace minerals.
These are some of the top organic brands that claim to have coffee that is clean, sustainably sourced, and organically grown. Let us know if you would like to read more about how to find the cleanest, and most eco-friendly coffees on the market today.