The word organic may bring many pictures to mind. Organic fruits, vegetables, coffee, and even organically fed poultry may seem like a fad. The truth is that it really isn’t, organics are quickly taking their places as the healthier choice, and they’re better for the environment to boot!
The same is true when it comes to organic coffee beans. As the market grows, more and more people are beginning to see real benefits in going green. It isn’t just for the health of the environment; it’s also for a healthier diet, and a much better taste.
To gain a better understanding of what the term “organic coffee bean” really means, we have put together this guide to how it relates to your health, and that of our planet!
What Does Organic Coffee Really Mean?
Before we talk about the benefits of organics, let’s first discuss what it takes to earn the organic seal. According to the USDA to become certified a coffee farm must meet the following requirements:
- No synthetic pesticides or prohibited substances used in the past three years.
- Have a sustainable crop rotation plan to prevent erosion and the loss of nutrients in the soil.
- If any pest prevention is required, the farm must have a plan to do so naturally.
- The coffee bean must pass an inspection and testing before being allowed into the country and sold as organic.
Another label you often see on organic coffee beans is the bird-friendly label. A farmer, who has been certified as an organic grower, may apply for this label if they use natural shade when growing their crops. In other words, the beans are shaded by trees and not by screens or buildings that most coffee growers use. The bird friendly option is beginning to gain popularity among organic coffee farmers.
Organic Coffee and the Environment
Obviously with the absence of chemicals, and in the case of bird-friendly coffee beans growing in a natural environment, there are many benefits to the planet by growing this way. There are fewer chemicals put into the soil, deforestation is reduced since the organic grower wants the shade trees, and of course that leads to less impact on the natural wildlife in the area.
Choosing to go organic is the environmentally responsible thing to do. However, it isn’t the only benefit.
Organic Coffee as The Healthier Choice
Along with being healthier for the planet, organic coffees are healthier for you. The USDA has different rules for imported coffee beans that are certified organic, and that which are not. Both types are inspected for pests, disease, and other problems. If a problem is found, the coffee must either be destroyed or chemically treated, hence losing its organic certification. Certified organic beans are never fumigated.
There are also different rules for the way the coffee beans are processed afterwards. For example if you enjoy decaf, that regular coffee may be chemically decaffeinated with chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic. To remain organic though, a natural process must be used (Swiss water decaffeination for example).
Basically, by choosing organic coffee beans, you are ingesting fewer chemicals. There is an absence of synthetics that grow into the beans themselves (such as fertilizers, pesticides, etc.), and the coffee is chemically laden when it arrives in the country. It really isn’t just the environment that you’re taking care of by choosing organic coffees. It’s also the health of you and your family that benefits.