Organic Vs Conventional Coffee
Coffee lovers are discerning people, and theres a lot to say about its many flavors, aromas, and origins but one of the biggest differences between coffees is most striking before it even reaches your cup.
Its the difference between conventional and organic coffee. Even if you already choose organic in the produce aisle, you might wonder why it matters for your brew.
To put things in perspective, coffee is one of the most widely traded commodities in the world with over 12 billion pounds of coffee produced annually.
Meeting that demand is no easy task. So over time, farming methods have been developed to maximize production but often at the expense of human and environmental health. What results is the non organic, conventional coffee that many are used to. So whats the difference between that and organic coffee?
First, conventional coffee is among the most heavily chemically treated foods in the world. It is steeped in synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides a real mouthful with a bad taste. Not only does the environment suffer from this overload, but so do the people who live in it. Farmers are exposed to a high level of chemicals while spraying the crops and while handling them during harvest. The surrounding communities are also impacted through chemical residues in the air and water. These chemical presences are not just unpleasant many are highly toxic and detrimental to human health.
Best Organic Coffee: Purity Coffee
Purity Coffee claims that their process maximizes the health benefits naturally found in coffee. They only use 100% USDA-certified organic coffee beans for all of their coffees. These are then screened for pesticides and molds, and then roasted using a special smokeless roasting process to ensure it contains the highest-possible levels of antioxidants. Subscribers can save on each order, and prepaid subscriptions receive free shipping.
Why buy: Not only is Purity Coffee 100% organic, it’s also sustainably sourced. They offer several specialty Founders’ Roasts that are Rainforest Alliance-certified and Smithsonian Bird Friendly-certified for the grower’s commitment to biodiversity and habitat conservation.
Features Of Organic Coffee
- Fairtrade: Organic is not synonymous with fair trade. Coffee labeled fair trade means its farmers were paid a living wage and no child or unfair labor practices were employed. The use of pesticides and chemicals are limited and sustainable farming methods are used.
- Environmentally friendly packaging: Organic coffee comes in a range of packaging including bags, tins, plastic containers, and single-serve cups. Some bags and one-cup pods on the market are biodegradable, which means you can compost them and reduce landfill waste.
- Rainforest Alliance certified: Many coffee farms are grown by clear-cutting forests, which destroys local ecosystems. Coffee that is grown in the shade of other trees actually requires less pesticides. To be ultra-environmentally conscious, select organic coffee that is shade-grown and/or certified by the Rainforest Alliance.
“Coffee is one of the most widely traded global commodities, with 12 billion pounds produced annually. “
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Making Sense Of Sustainable Coffee Labels
Theyre those little rectangular icons lined up on your favorite gourmet coffee bagsa tree, a flower, a frog, a harvester, each trying to tell you something about how the coffee was grown. But what does each one mean, and how do they differ? Heres a list of common labels and their benefits for birds. For more specifics, see the list of links below.
Best Variety Of Brews: Blue Bottle Coffee
If you really want your coffee to be as fresh as can be, then we heartily recommend Blue Bottle Coffee. They ship everything within 48 hours of roasting, ensuring you get the most vibrant flavors. Another thing we’ll mention about this organic coffee subscription service is that they provide a lot of different options for espresso, decaf, single-origin, and blended coffees. There’s definitely a lot to like here, especially if you’re keen on small-batch coffee.
Why buy:For fresh flavors and plenty of variety, Blue Bottle Coffee is a great choice. The majority of their coffees are certified organic, and they pay at least Fair Trade prices to growers, often more.
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Is Starbucks Coffee Full Of Pesticides
Starbucks coffee is not free from pesticides but it is not to say that it overloads its coffee with the same. The global coffee giant is one of the biggest coffee purchasers in the world and it gets its coffee through ethical sourcing. But it does not have any control over the pesticide amounts used by the local farmers.
While the coffee is not loaded with pesticides, Starbucks does not have any control over the number of pesticides used in overseas coffee farms.
If youre concerned about the number of pesticides in your cuppa joe, then avoiding Starbucks coffee would be a step in the right direction. Again, no one has the data on how much pesticide is used. But hey, it is better to safe than sorry.
Starbucks does offer its own lineup of organic coffee that are much better options. More on that later.
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The Science Of Coffee Making With Whole Bean Coffee
Getting the grind right is important with whole bean coffee. The more finely the coffee is ground, the larger the surface area exposed to water. That means it will need to brew for less time to extract the coffee. Over-brewed and over-heated coffee gets bitter quickly, and if you don’t take sugar in your coffee can be quite unpleasant to drink.
The brewing method you use dictates grind size. You’ll want extra coarse coffee for cold brew coffee, while percolators and French presses require a coarse grind. Solo and Chemex brewers do best with medium-coarse, freshly ground beans. Flat-bottomed drip coffee makers and pour over methods work well with a medium grind, but go for medium fine if your drip has a cone-shaped filter or you’re using a Moka pot or a pour-over cone. Espresso machines need finely ground coffee, and Turkish coffee is made with extra finely ground beans.
Extra coarse grinds look like small pebbles, while coarse should be the size of coarse sea salt. Medium grind has a similar texture to coarse sand, while fine feels like sugar. Extra fine feels just a little grittier than powdered sugar, while Turkish grind feels like flour.
Whole bean coffee consistently ground and brewed produces consistent flavor. The delicate oils contained within the coffee beans add flavor and aroma. Try to use your freshly ground whole coffee beans within 15 minutes of grinding, because they lose 60 percent of their aroma in that time.
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Two Volcanoes Gourmet Espresso Beans
Beans: Arabica and robustaOrigins: Guatemala
There’s a lot to love about Two Volcanoes. For starters, it’s some of the freshest coffee that you can buy. The beans are organic, “single origin” beans from Guatemala, so everything is pure and unprocessed.
The beans also come in a tight, vacuumed-sealed pouch, and Two Volcanoes even use a degassing valve to keep them at maximum freshness.
You’ll also love the sensation of swirling Two Volcanoes in your cup. It’s a smooth dark roast made from whole beans, so it’s exquisitely balanced.
It’s customizable, too. It can be used to make espressos, cappuccinos, macchiatos, lattes and many other coffee beverages from the Starbucks menu. Say goodbye to long lines and irritable baristas! You can brew your own specialty drinks at home.
As for flavor, Two Volcanoes has a strong, woodsy taste. It can be slightly bitter when over-brewed, but some people like that. If you need a bracing cup of joe to keep you awake during long days and even longer nights, this brand can provide it.
Whats the Bottom Line?
Offering an eruption of flavor, Two Volcanoes Espresso Beans will give you the caffeine that you crave with the taste and aroma that you’d expect from a high-end coffee shop.
How Much Does Instacart Delivery Or Pickup Cost
- Delivery fees start at $3.99 for same-day orders over $35. Fees vary for one-hour deliveries, club store deliveries, and deliveries under $35.
- Service fees vary and are subject to change based on factors like location and the number and types of items in your cart. Orders containing alcohol have a separate service fee.
- Tipping is optional but encouraged for delivery orders. It’s a great way to show your shopper appreciation and recognition for excellent service. 100% of your tip goes directly to the shopper who delivers your order.
- There may be a “pickup fee” on your pick up order that is typically $1.99 for non-Express members. Express membership waives this like it would a delivery fee.
- Pick up orders have no service fees, regardless of non-Express or Express membership.
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Starbucks Shade Grown Coffee
Starbucks has been a favorite morning stop for millions of people since they opened their first store in 1971. Their famous coffees, frappes, espresso and other drinks start with high-quality coffee beans and other ingredients.
Recently, beginning in 2006, Starbucks decided to buy only coffee that has been grown organically using earth-friendly farming practices. Their coffee can be bought in their stores or in the coffee section of your local supermarket.
One of the favorites with coffee lovers everywhere is Starbucks Breakfast Blend, a flavorful blend with a crisp taste to start the morning right. Out of all the flavors, roasts and blends, this one continues to be one of the most popular.
Starbucks features coffees from all over the world, each with its own unique flavor and aroma. Their Italian Roast, for example, is dark roasted with a slightly smoky, sweet flavor. Café Verona is a bold and rich coffee, a favorite of many people for after dinner enjoyment.
If you like more exotic flavors, you might try Starbucks Peru Chanchamayo blend with its subtle, nutty undertones. Or you may want to try some of their limited offerings of seasonal coffees such as Mexico Chiapas shade grown in the rich volcanic soil of the mountains of southern Mexico, it has a crisp and nutty taste, smooth and a bit sweet. Flavored with hints of chocolate and hazelnut, this coffee is a favorite that Starbucks customers look forward to each year.
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Instant And Ground Coffee
Nescafe is a huge multinational brand of coffee owned by Nestle.
We commend Nescafe partnering with for the Rainforest Alliance, the Sustainable Agriculture Network , and the Common Code for the Coffee Community , but they do not offer organic certified coffees. Therefore, their coffee may contain chemicals and mold.
They only offer instant coffees, ground coffee, or pods so again, freshness is a concern.
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Our Picks For The Top Coffee Subscriptions
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best for Specialty Coffees – Bean Box
- Best for Artisan Coffees – Mistobox
- Best for Home and Office – Crema Coffee
What Does It Mean To Be Organic
Organic is a real buzzword right now, but though you may hear it on TV or read it quite frequently on grocery store food labels, you might not be entirely sure of what it means. Theres organic milk, organic tampons, and even organic mattresses. It signifies food has been grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms , and other questionable, toxic methods.
Generally, organic foods are required to hit a higher level of qualifications and standards, and for coffee to be organic, 95 percent of the beans must have been grown organically, sans fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, or pesticides. Organic coffee beans must also not be genetically modified, treated with additives, or synthetic ingredients. This is why organic coffee is not only a healthier alternative, but it’s also eco-friendlier.
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Why Many Don’t Consider Starbucks ‘specialty’
To many, Starbucks doesnt meet the standards we just discussed.
- They dont publish specific roast dates on coffee bags
- They dont usually publish specific information on the coffee origins
- They tend to have more general flavor notes
Starbucks fails several important tests.
Does that definitively mean theyre not specialty coffee?
Not necessarily. Heres why.
Chocolate Cookie Crumble Crme Frappuccino
Regular Menu Drink
If you want a Starbucks chocolate drink thats beyond chocolaty but doesnt contain coffee, then meet the Chocolate CookieCrumble Crème Frappuccino.
This cream-based frappuccino gets its chocolate flavor four waysmocha sauce, chocolate chips, mocha drizzle and chocolate cookie crumble topping!
Whats not to love about that?
Ingredients: Mocha Sauce, Frappuccino Chips, Crème Frappuccino Syrup, Whole Milk, Ice, Whipped Cream, Mocha Drizzle, Chocolate Cookie Crumble Topping
Nutrition: Calories: 460 Sugars: 46gCaffeine: 15mg
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Arabica Beans Vs Robusta Beans
There are two different Coffea plant species: Coffea arabica, which produces the arabica bean, and Coffea canephora, which produces the robusta bean. 60% of the worlds coffee supply is Arabica beans, and they make for a better cup of coffee, though they are more expensive than Robusta beans. Robusta beans make up the remaining 40% of the coffee supply and have a more bitter, harsh taste these contain more caffeine than arabica beans. Both kinds of beans are available organic.
Iced White Chocolate Mocha
Regular Menu Drink
This customer-favorite, is a sweet mixture of white chocolate mocha sauce, espresso, milk and ice finished with whipped cream.
And if youre looking for a Starbucks decaf iced coffee, you can get a decaf Iced White Mocha. Simply order this drink with decaf espresso for a completely caffeine-free, chocolate drink.
Ingredients: White Chocolate Mocha Sauce, Espresso, 2% Milk, Ice, Whipped Cream
Nutrition: Calories: 420 Sugars: 48gCaffeine: 150mg
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The Few Tests Starbucks Does Pass
Starbucks still has some attributes that make people wonder if they still fall within the specialty coffee umbrella.
For example, Starbucks is still considered by many a leader in ethical sourcing.
- 99% of their coffee is labeled ethical according to Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices, a system established by sustainability organization SCS Global Services.
- Their sourcings impact on the environment and local economy can be measured, graded, and quantified.
Though there are definitely legitimate concerns about the effectiveness of this approach, its at least a system that encourages some measure of accountability.
Starbucks rides the fence in a few other areas:
- Starbucks follows the specialty coffee trends. Their cafes are filled with drinks and brewers that are beloved by the specialty coffee community, such as cold brew coffee, french presses, and pour over brewers.
- Starbucks is a community participant in the specialty coffee industry. Their scientists speak at coffee events, their baristas compete in high-level competitions, and they even sponsor the big SCAA trade show every year.
Where Can I Buy Organic Coffee
The good news is, if youre looking to buy organic coffee, its pretty accessible. Most grocery stores carry organic coffee Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, to name a few. Most coffee shops even carry their own organic coffee beans. Places like Starbucks or even smaller coffee shop retailers will generally have organic coffee beans available in their stores.
You can also buy organic coffee online. Amazon has tons of retailers that sell organic coffee beans, including all of the highest-rated organic coffee beans above. More niche online retailers like Thrive Market, Misfit Market, and Brandless may carry organic coffee as well.
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Use Of Hormones In The Dairy Industry
In response to consumer concerns, many dairies have cut down on the use of growth hormones, like rBGH, but they are still commonly used. This is cause for concern as the use of hormones has serious implications for the health of cows and unknown implications for consumers.
Recombinant bovine growth hormone ) rBGH) is a synthetic hormones owned by Monsanto and used widely in US dairy production. This hormone is used to increase cows’ milk production. Use of rBGH is documented to cause adverse effects in cows such as increased infections like mastitis, foot problems, and injection site infections.23 The rise in mastitis infections has resulted in the increased use of antibiotics both to treat animals and as a preventative measure. Overuse of antibiotics is responsible for the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is relevant to note that Bayer, which is in the process of purchasing Monsanto, owns antibiotics to treat mastitis. Once merged, Bayer will benefit financially from increased infection rates.24
Java Planet Colombian Organic
Beans: ArabicaOrigins: Colombia
There’s more to growing organic coffee than just slapping a USDA sticker on the label. A good organic coffee company will also certify their fair trade practices, guarantee their non-GMO products and advertise their connections with environmental groups. Thankfully, Java Planet does all of this and then some.
They work with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center to provide shade cover for their coffee beans and biodiversity for the local animals. They’re certified by the Rainforest Alliance because of their eco-friendly harvesting practices.
They also make a fine cup of coffee! Their medium roast is rich and smooth, and it will smell heavenly as it fills your kitchen with the aroma of an authentic Colombian blend.
When it comes to organic coffee, it doesn’t get much better than Java Planet. They provide a sinful coffee experience without any of the actual sin. You’ll be able to enjoy a decadent cup while still knowing that you’re doing your part for the environment.
Whats the Bottom Line?
Rich, flavorful and entirely organic, Java Planet is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to enjoy their coffee without guilt. It’s grown and harvested with completely eco-friendly practices.
Beans: ArabicaOrigins: Africa, Central and South America
They offer many different flavors, but one of their most popular is the Smart Ass brand.
Whats the Bottom Line?
Beans: Arabica and robustaOrigins: India and Peru
Whats the Bottom Line?
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