Organic Coffee is a coffee that is grown without using any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, on a land that was given sufficient time to detoxify itself, without the aid of any genetically modified organisms and finally processed and packed without the involvement of any chemical.
Health Benefits: Organic Coffee is good for health (except for the caffeine in it) in the sense as it does not contain any toxic residues of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, artificial flavors or colors, or preservatives. Therefore, these harmful substances cannot enter your body, unlike the case of non-organic coffee wherein these toxic chemicals are present. That does not mean that Organic Coffee can be drunk in excessive quantities.
Other Benefits: The other benefits of Organic Coffee relate to the environment. Since no chemicals are used in its production, processing and packaging; it does not pollute the environment. There is also no risk of smaller animals like birds, rodents, or squirrels, etc. being poisoned and killed due to these toxic chemicals. Therefore, this coffee helps a lot to preserve the biotic environment and its healthy balance.
Processing: Organic Coffee is processed using dry milling or wet milling. Dry milling basically means separating beans from dried coffee berries. This drying, again, is done by machine drying or sun drying. Wet Milling is costly, lengthy and not environmentally friendly (uses a lot of fresh water to wash) unless it is applied to coffee beans, where no chemicals are involved. However, it is one of the surest ways of producing high-quality gourmet beans and big firms often use this method.
Roasting: Organic coffee roasters are used for sorting, roasting, cooling, stabilizing, and packing. Roasting of coffee can be done by drum roasting or hot air roasting. Organic coffee roasters take care that no chemical salts, gases, flavors or additives are added in this stage to influence the taste and flavor. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Dean’s Beans Coffee Roasters are two trusted names who roast coffee.
Organic Coffee is available in many varieties, based on the method of farming and its contribution towards the environment. Here are some of them:
Organic Shade-Grown Coffee: This variety is grown in the natural shade of tropical forests without clearing land for farming. Growth is slow, but the coffee is tastier and more flavored. The biggest benefit of this coffee is that no forests are cut down for this and, of course, no chemicals are used. It is richer in taste than its regular counterpart. There are a few varieties of Organic Shade-Grown Coffee, mainly named after their various styles of farming. They include organic rustic, organic traditional polyculture and organic specialized or reduced shade. It has less availability and hence priced higher than the other types of coffee.
Organic Bird-Friendly Coffee: This is almost same as Organic Shade-Grown Coffee, with the difference that this is particularly concerned with preserving the natural habitat of birds.
Organic Kona Coffee: This Organic Kona Coffee is grown on fertile volcanic soil of the Kona region in Hawaii. Organic Kona Coffee is produced in farms that do not use chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. They are absolutely dependent on the fertility of the soil (enriched by volcanic ash and lava), organic fertilizers, and biotic pest control methods. It has a distinct taste and flavor due to the climate and soil in that region. While Organic Kona Coffee itself is a delicacy, the Pea-Berry variety is the best. Always look for the certificate for authenticity and “100% Organic Kona Coffee” on the packets. Many fraudsters will be trying to sell normal coffee under the Kona tag.
Organic Decaffeinated Coffee: The Organic Coffee which has the caffeine removed.
Organic Green Coffee: Organic Green Coffee is the Green Coffee that is obtained from coffee plants that are grown organically. This coffee is obtained from raw coffee beans which are not roasted. No chemicals are used in processing (fermentation/washing etc.). Taste of organic green coffee depends on good soil, right altitude, climate and processing.It is a rich source of antioxidants and contains Chlorogenic Acid, which is believed to be far more effective in neutralizing free radicals than the antioxidants in green tea. It boosts metabolism and the presence of caffeic acid helps energize the body after fatigue. Some varieties include Blue Mountain Cenaproc, Colonial Caranavi, Peaberry, Kenya AA, Tarrazu, Yirgacheffe, Antigua, and Altura.
Species of Coffee
The varieties discussed above also belong to certain species of coffee. The following are the two main cultivars of coffee, grown in different regions.
Coffea Arabica: This is the most widely used species. Almost all the coffee beans that come from Arabia, Eastern Africa, Asia, and Latin America belong to varieties that fall under this species categorization. People have their own opinions, but Arabica is considered far superior in quality to Robusta.
Coffea Canephora (Robusta): Varieties of this species are spread over the Central and Western Africa.
All the varieties of Organic Coffee mentioned above can be used in making Organic Espresso Coffee. Furthermore, when these varieties are purchased through a Fair Trade Organization, they are called Organic Fair Trade Coffee.
Organic Fair Trade Coffee
Organic Fair Trade Coffee is a movement or way of selling or marketing organic coffee to ensure that a justified portion of money from the sales of organic coffee should go to the farmers that actually produce it. There are various fair trade organizations and bodies through which, if purchases are made, then farmers get paid appropriately. They are also paid a premium against a price rise of coffee around the world. The farmers are given an indirect share in the international business this way by bypassing the brokers. To achieve this target, the sale of Organic Fair Trade Coffee is guided by certain principles laid down by various fair trade organizations and bodies. FINE is the most widely recognized Fair Trade Governing/Promoting body, which is mainly operational in Europe. Besides governing, monitoring and promoting fair trade, these bodies also do the certification of fair trade articles. Therefore, all the Organic Fair Trade Coffee that is selling in the market needs to be certified by one of these certifying bodies, as well as by an agency that certifies Organic products.
Organic Gourmet Coffee
Organic Gourmet Coffee is premium quality coffee (predominantly some of the best varieties of Coffea Arabica) that is grown organically, meaning without using any artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or weedicides and are flavored with different organic flavors like vanilla, mint, almond, mocha, caramel, and amaretto to suit different tastes.
Organic Gourmet Coffee is classified depending upon flavour, content of caffeine, processing or milling. Flavoring can be done by spraying organicflavors or soak the beans in them. It can also be done while brewing or adding flavours to ground coffee. Based on content of caffeine it can be divided into two types, namely caffeinated and decaffeinated. From the point of view of health, the decaffeinated one will be the best, but you may have to compromise with the taste and flavor slightly. You should choose a good variety like Blue Mountain, Kona, Columbia Supremo, Pea Berry, Sidamo, or Tarrazu. That will give you a good taste as well as good flavour.
Organic Espresso Coffee
An Organic Espresso Coffee is the espresso coffee made with organic coffee. Therefore, any organic coffee can be made into Organic Espresso Coffee, provided that it is perfectly roasted, suitably ground, you have an espresso machine, and the temperature of the hot water used is just right. Make sure to use organic cream and milk. Use light roasted beans as very dark roasted beans lose their aroma and taste. Preferably, fresh ground Organic Coffee should be used for Organic Espresso Coffee. It’s easily available at outlets such as Starbucks however, if you need it more frequently at your home, you will need a good Espresso Machine, a bag of good organic coffee beans.
Organic Coffee Pods
Organic Coffee Pods are small packets containing ground organic coffee, somewhat like tea bags, packed in filter paper or cloth pods, each containing a sufficient quantity of Organic Coffee to prepare one serving for an average coffee drinker. They are targeted to reach those office dwellers that just have enough time to drop a pod into hot water and sip their cup without stopping their work.
How to select and store Organic Coffee?
Here are some tips that you need to follow after you buy Organic Coffee:
1) If you bought whole beans, try to grind them just before you want to brew it to get the best flavor and aroma out of them. Buy only the fresh beans and if possible roast them at home.
2) Always buy “100% Organic Coffee” beans. Do not compromise with “Organic” or “Contains Organic” types.
3) Look for the uniformity in size, shape, and color of the beans. The presence of discolored, wrinkled, and smaller beans in the lot indicates poor quality.
4) Do check the date of manufacturing, packaging and date of expiry.
5) Never store your coffee, ground or whole beans, in your fridge.
Availability of Organic Coffee
The availability of Organic Coffee is pretty good, but it is nowhere near that of non-organic regular coffee. The basic reason behind this is low production. As no artificial fertilizers are used on it, the production is quite low. However, awareness is growing, the demand is increasing, and so is production as more and more farmers are taking up organic farming. If it is not available in your locality, you can use the phone or Internet to order a dealer to ship some for you.
Consumption and price
Availability affects consumption! Naturally, the consumption of Organic Coffee is far less than that of regular coffee. The good news is that it is increasing with the awareness. The production of Organic Coffee is less and its demand is growing. So, it is obvious that it is costlier than regular coffee.
Like any other organic product, certification is an important aspect to be considered while buying Organic Coffee. When you buy it, you must ensure that the pack is accompanied with a valid certificate from a recognized certifying agency. There may be many such agencies operating in different regions, but some recognized ones are as follow:
Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS)
USDA National Organic Program (NOP)
European Organic Regulations (EU 2092/91)
Export Certificates for Japan (JAS Equivalent)
Indian National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)
Quebec Organic Reference Standard (CAAQ)
Bio Suisse Standards
IOFAM Basic Standards
Market Share: Organic Coffee has a long way to go to reach the market share of regular coffee, but it is rising steadily. Presently, it is around 0.5% of the total market share of coffee.
When you have to make choice between Regular Coffee and Organic Coffee, it is always better to go for Organic Coffee since it good for your health as well as for the environment. A few bucks more for this goodness is worth it, so keep up the pace and promote Organic Coffee! Cheers!