No question. You may be one among billions who rely on a wonderfully rich brew to wake you in the morning. With over 1.4 billion cups of coffee taken worldwide, there’s no doubt that coffee is one of the most popular drinks. One of the major reasons for this escalation is the massive accessibility of different beans, blended in different ways, all in a bid to create a perfect unique Cup of Joe for every coffee drinker.
Even with all those available options, one of the major questions among coffee drinkers is what makes organic coffee special. The question takes many forms; is organic coffee any better than non-organic; is it healthier, tastier? All in all, what any coffee drinker ultimately wants to know is how organic coffee stands in comparison to traditional coffee and how it benefits them.
Let’s delve into it.
Organic vs. non-organic coffee
First, let’s compare how organic and non-organic coffee differ.
Organic food is food grown and processed without contact with antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and chemically formulated fertilizers or growth stimulants. This definition is derived from the USDA NOP and is similar for all other organic foods, whether plants or animals. In their focus to grow organic foods, farmers also use renewable resources and conserve water and soil to better enhance the environment for long-term use.
Organic coffee—or coffee certified as organic—is grown and processed without synthetic chemicals. It’s coffee farmed at farms that uphold sustainability by using organic resources to preserve the land, air, and groundwater. All these elements are thoroughly analyzed and verified by USDA NOP officials before being certified as organic. Further, an organic coffee processing firm will use no chemicals when processing coffee beans.
Also called regular or traditional coffee, non-organic coffee is the most common coffee available to most coffee drinkers. It differs from organic coffee as it’s grown and processed using synthetic chemicals. It may be fair trade (which favors environmental sustainability by limiting agrochemicals) or direct coffee where these sustainable measures may not be taken.
Health benefits of organic coffee
Organic coffee has a pool of benefits not only for your health but for the environment, the communities, and the farmers growing it.
Free from synthetic chemicals
Producing high-quality coffee beans requires high maintenance and care. In non-organic coffee, this care is achieved through the use of synthetically made chemicals. From studies, these pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, and fungicides are known to harm the body, where most are associated with causing cancers and damage to the central nervous and reproductive systems. Taking traditional coffee exposes you to such risks, which can only get worse especially if you’re a heavy coffee drinker. With organic coffee, you don’t have to worry about any of these risks.
Pesticides and chemicals also expose the farmers to even more danger as they handle the poisonous chemicals as part of their job. Organic coffee has the workers and customers in mind.
To grow coffee organically, the farmer ensures the plants have shade to prevent the organic chemicals from being burned in the sun. This means more benefits to the ecosystem since the farmer will not have to cut down trees to grow coffee; in fact, they’ll plan more trees for organic coffee to thrive. By drinking organic coffee, you’re supporting and actively aiding the conservation of the environment, animals, and birds and preventing soil erosion.
Benefits to the farmers and communities
Being certified as an organic coffee producer doesn’t come easy. It takes three years of no synthetic use for a farm to be certified as producing organic coffee. Beyond that, it takes three times of a firm’s products to guarantee high-quality organic coffee. Besides, organic elements used to farm organic coffee cost more than the easily affordable synthetic chemicals. As such, organic coffee is relatively pricier than traditional coffee, and rightfully so. But it comes with a benefit for the certified organic farmers who can afford a higher pay for their employees.
Healthy organic components benefits to the body
Organic coffee has a pool of benefits added on to the benefits of coffee. Organic components boost health benefits such as enhanced metabolism and immune system and protection against cell damage.
Regular coffee has its share of benefits, which coffee drinkers globally appreciate.
Non-organic coffee is healthy too
Coffee, regardless of whether organic or not, has a pool of benefits. Apart from boosting energy, productivity, and focus, coffee has been reported to reduce the risk of various diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, hepatitis, and certain cancers like liver and colorectal cancers. It also has the potential to reduce depression and suicidal thoughts.
Regular coffee requires less management as a result of using chemicals to care for the plants and beans. As such, a great majority of non-organic coffee is more affordable than organic coffee and can be enjoyed easily by most people in the world.
An organic farmer pays to get organic certifications, which may cause organic prices to be higher. But chances are, if you’re a moderate coffee drinker who’s passionate about organic, you’ll not mind the extra squeeze into your budget to buy organic coffee.
Variety of options
Although the uptake of organic coffee is booming by day with the growing health-conscious society, it still lags in its brew variety. Fewer organic farms only mean limited options in organic coffee varieties and types. Non-organic, on the other hand, is diverse with just about any coffee type, flavor, and blend.
FAOs about organic coffee
Here are additional questions you may have about organic vs. conventional coffee.
Is all fair trade coffee organic?
Certainly not, and neither is all organic coffee fair trade. While it may be easier for organic coffee producers to receive organic certification through fair trade organizations, it may still be possible to attain it as a direct producer. Of course, being a producer of fair trade coffee will mean stricter, sustainable, and fair operations on the farm, which may not be the case for an individual organic producer.
Is organic coffee healthier than regular coffee?
You would be quick to think that organic coffee is inherently healthier than regular coffee (as most people would think). Further from the truth, the nutritional value of a food doesn’t change just because it’s organic. Although organic coffee is grown and produced with organic products, their nutritional value (the amounts and levels of minerals and antioxidants) is the same as those grown and produced with synthetic components.
What differs is the amount of chemicals one will take by consuming coffee grown with chemicals. Ultimately, the effects of this are felt in the body, and the potential health risks one will be exposed to increase with contemporary coffee. If you care about consuming synthetic chemicals into your body, organic coffee is your brew.
Does organic coffee have caffeine?
Definitely! Organic coffee is just coffee grown using organic compounds. It has the same caffeine as regular coffee (about 95 mg in an 8-oz cup of coffee). Unless you decide to have decaf organic coffee, which, similar to non-organic decaf coffee contains 0-7 mg of caffeine in an 8-oz cup.
Is organic coffee tastier than non-organic coffee?
As someone who deeply cares about the richness of flavor and taste in your cup, it’s only best to know this before digging deep into your pockets to buy organic coffee. Any coffee enthusiast would genuinely care about how different organic coffee is in taste from regular coffee.
Unfortunately, this is a tricky one. Coffee simply tastes differently to different people regardless of the coffee bean, blend, brew. Whether coffee is delicious or not depends on a unique preference for taste. To one coffee drinker, the same cup of organic coffee will be different and better than regular coffee, while to another drinker it’ll not.
Besides, the taste will vary depending on the coffee bean type (Arabica or Robusta), brew method (cold, French press, etc.), and many other factors that alter the final taste. To know whether organic coffee tastes better for you, experiment with an organic bean on your favorite brew. It’s the only way to settle the personal debate.
Should you drink organic coffee?
Whether to drink organic coffee or not is really a personal decision that depends on your personal preference. Ask yourself—do I prefer a diet with limited synthetic chemicals or organic chemicals? Or, do I like the taste of organic coffee or traditional coffee? Or, can I afford an extra budget to buy organic coffee?
The answers to these three questions will guide you as to whether to drink organic coffee or not.
Regardless of how you like your coffee, cold-brewed, pure black, French pressed, it’s essential that what you’re drinking is not causing you more harm than good. By buying organic trademarked coffee brands, you become a part of the global movement campaigning against the use of synthetic chemicals while supporting better living standards for farmers in impoverished countries and doing good for the planet.