So you’re lookin’ to get some organic coffee, after finding out how much chemicals can go into growing your beans. Organic coffee is definitely a better choice for getting caffeine than your regular beans. But what makes the best organic coffee?
My favorite pick on this list is Subtle Earth, Organic Coffee. This company has wonderful work and roasting practices that make it stand out above the others on this list of organic coffee companies.
Keep reading to learn more about organic coffee and how to find the best one!
Organic Coffees Being Reviewed
- Equal Exchange Organic Whole Bean Coffee
- Kicking Horse Coffee, Grizzly Claw
- Subtle Earth, Organic Coffee – Top Pick
- SF Bay, Coffee, Rainforest Blend
- Allegro Coffee, Café La Duena
- Jo Coffee, No Fun Jo Decaf
Knowing what you’re looking for can help make your choice in organic coffee beans a lot easier. To help you with that, I’ve put together a few things I think you should be looking at when choosing an organic brand of coffee. But first we have to understand what organic coffee is.
So What Is Organic Coffee?
To put in the simplest terms, organic coffee is coffee that is grown without synthetic fertilizers or chemicals during growth or production. This includes how coffee is grown, the roasting process, and decaffeinating coffee.
What You Should Be Looking For In Organic Coffee
There are numerous factors for you to consider, but there are a few that I think you should keep in the back of your mind while looking over this list. All of the coffees on this list are organic, so you don’t have to worry about that!
Roast Dates & Shipping
Different companies will have setups for how they roast and ship their coffee. You’ll really want coffee that has been recently roasted and quickly sent to you. This’ll give you the best chance to make great tasting coffee with your organic beans. The “optimal” range to use coffee is around 2-4 weeks after it’s been roasted. Coffee can be used after this though, it’ll have less flavor than during this time.
Roast Level & Flavor
Not everyone is going to like the same flavors in their coffee. Roast levels are going to affect how the coffee is going to taste. Lighter roasts are going to have more natural flavors and darker roasts will have more smokey ones. If you don’t really know what kind of roast you like, I would choose right in the middle, with a medium roasted organic coffee.
Ground vs. Whole Bean
You’ll almost always get more flavor by getting whole beans instead of ground coffee, with the exception of receiving stale beans. When getting whole beans, you’re to expect that flavor has not been lost while traveling to you. You’ll have more control over grind size, which really can impact your coffee’s flavor if you don’t have the right one.
I know getting pre-ground coffee is just easier, but be aware that you’ve already lost a significant amount of flavors in your coffee beans from the moment they are ground.
Now that you’re thinking about some of these things, let’s get into the list of what I think are some of the best organic coffees.
Here we have equal Exchanges Breakfast Blend of coffee. It’s a balanced coffee that has sweeter notes from the medium roasted beans, but also has some smokey, darker flavors from the french roasted beans.
Equal exchange is a company that not only prioritizes growing coffee organically, but also growing it ethically. They do their best to work directly with small farms to produce high quality beans, while treating and paying the farmers fairly.
If you wanted to support a company that has some pretty good farming ethics, while still getting a great tasting cup of organic coffee, this might be the beans for you.
The Kicking Horse Company believes in using coffee that is good and fair for both coffee drinkers and farmers. To ensure that you receive the best coffees, their coffee crops are certified by independent auditors randomly. They make sure that there aren’t any pesticides or herbicides being used to grow your coffee.
This coffee is a dark roast with chocolate and nutty flavors. It’s a great coffee for people who like drip or immersion brewed coffee. That includes pour over, french, or even cold brew. Using one of these methods you’ll draw out the aforementioned characteristics.
One thing that I do have a complaint about with this company, is how they display the roast date on their coffee. They go by a “enjoy by” date. Whatever this date is on your bag, is going to be 9 months after it has been roasted. For example if the date on the bag was “10 – 19 – 2020”, the day your coffee was actually roasted was “1 – 19 – 2020”.
Other than that, I think this coffee does taste pretty good, if you like darker and smokier flavors in your coffee.
Next on our list, we have Subtle Earth’s organic coffee. This is a low acid coffee, which is great for those of you whose stomachs are sensitive to coffee.
What you’ll be getting with this coffee is a medium-dark roast that’s 100% Arabica. If you like sweeter flavors in your coffee, this might be the one for you. Arabica beans are sweeter than Robusta beans. With it also being brought up to a medium-dark roast the sugars are allowed to caramelize more, giving you an overall sweeter cup of coffee.
The farmers grow this coffee at a very high altitude, which plays a role in making sure this coffee is organic. Being at a higher altitude, there are less pests and less of a need to use pesticides to keep them away. If they do encounter any pests, the farmers plant peppers to deter them from eating our coffee plants.
Something I really like about this company is that they roast when an order comes in. It ensures that you’ll be getting some pretty fresh beans on your doorstep.
The Rainforest Blend by SF Bay Coffee is medium-dark roasted coffee. This is another great coffee if you like those darker roast flavors, while still getting some of those sweeter notes in your cup.
SF Bay Coffee company runs on 4 pillars for growing their coffee. They are: paying farmers above the cost of production, improving the quality and quantity of coffee, improving social conditions for the farms, and improving conditions of the farmers communities.
They’ve built schools, medical centers, and housing complexes for the farmers and their families, which I really like.
Like some of the other companies, this one has a “best used by date” instead of a “roasted date”, which I don’t really like. How their “best used by date” works is, the coffee is roasted 1 year before that date. Example: If that date is “01 – 01 – 2021” then your coffee was roasted on “01 – 01 – 2020”.
Beware that not all of their coffee is certified organic. If you’re looking at some of the other selections they have, remember to double check if they have an organic symbol somewhere on the bag!
Here we have a medium roast, with notes of chocolate by Allegro Coffee. To start off, this is an already ground coffee. I will always push for whole beans for you all, because they’re almost always likely to taste better. But, not all of us have grinders or the time to grind our own beans.
Like almost all of these other organically grown coffee companies, this company also prides itself on it’s ethical farming practices. They like to work directly with small farmers and even send their own small teams out to the farms.
Getting into the roast date, Allegro Coffee does have a closer “best used by date” than some of the others. The date printed on your coffee bag is 90 days after it has been roasted. This tells you that at the least it was roasted not too long ago.
If you prefer pretty fresh pre-ground coffee, this is a great choice.
This ones for those of you who wanted organic decaf coffee. Jo Coffee company roasts a delicious medium-dark decaf.
I couldn’t find too much information about this company’s practices for farming, but they are USDA and Fair Trade certified.
The process they use to remove natural caffeine from the bean is by using the swiss water process. To simply put the process, they soak your coffee in water, and the water dissolves the caffeine, instead of the traditional way of using chemicals. If you want to know a little bit in depth about this process I explain it in the section below.
Lastly, they go by the “best used by date”. It’s 1 year after your coffee has been roasted. Remember, the further away the current date is to the “best used by date” the better your coffee should taste.
Now that you’ve read about some of the organic coffees, lets talk about why it’s a better choice than other coffees. I’m going to cover just the general benefits that I think you’ll care about the most.
What that means for you, is a coffee that is richer in health benefits, like an increase in antioxidants.
Another benefit that organic coffee has is an increase in sweetness. Most organic coffees are grown under trees and in the shade. Growing coffee in the shade slows down the ripening process, allowing them to produce more sugar and that ends up being a better tasting coffee for you.
Not only can organic help your cup of coffee, but can also help the environment. Conventional coffee requires clearing of trees to make room for open fields. This ruins ecosystems for naturally occurring plants and animals. Organic coffee is typically grown under the trees, so there’s no need to cut them down.
Organic coffee also makes use of natural pesticides, like birds and lizards. Conventional coffee farms would use chemicals. These chemicals get washed off into the soil and water supplies, which could be very harmful to the environment.
How Organic Decaf Coffee Is Made
Coffee naturally has caffeine in it. The traditional method of removing caffeine from coffee is through the use of chemicals. It wouldn’t be organic if this method was used.
The most common method used to get organic decaf coffee is with the Swiss Water Process. It begins by taking green, unroasted coffee beans, and soaking them in hot water. The water dissolves the caffeine in the beans, but can also dissolve sugars and aroma components that we love in coffee also.
Our green beans are then removed from the water. The water that was used to soak the beans is put through a filter. This filter stops the caffeine, while allowing all the sugars, oils, and natural chemicals to pass through, which is good for us. It is then used to soak the next batch of beans.
This is the key to removing the caffeine. Reusing that water with all the bits of stuff we like in coffee, only the caffeine will be taken out from this batch of coffee beans. The process just repeats itself and that’s how we get decaffeinated organic coffee.
One thing to note is that this process draws out 99.9% of the caffeine out of the coffee. A miniscule amount is still left in the coffee beans.
Subtle Earth’s organic coffee is going to be my pick for the best organic coffee out of my list. The company does a great job at growing your coffee beans in an organic way, that’s free of chemicals and pesticides. This company also roasts when they get an order in. You’ll be able to enjoy your organic coffee and know that you’re getting the most flavor out of them. I’m sure that this coffee won’t disappoint you!