Coffee lovers, rejoice! There's no better time to be a caffeine fiend than the present day. With access to so many different beans from farms around the world, passionate brewers from all walks of life are experimenting with different blends in hopes of creating the perfect cup for every coffee drinker.
There are so many options, however, one of the biggest choices is also one of the broadest — do you pick traditional coffee or organic beans? Many coffee drinkers face this dilemma as they purchase their next bag of beans. When it comes to the organic coffee vs. regular coffee debate, people want to know if organic coffee is healthier or tastes better. Let's look at the organic coffee benefits and how those compare to the benefits of coffee grown and processed through standard methods.
What Is Organic Coffee?
Walk through any grocery store and you'll surely find plenty of foods and drinks that are labeled organic, including coffee. What is organic coffee? The dictionary definition states that organic food products are those which have not had any contact with antibiotics, pesticides, growth stimulants or chemically formulated fertilizers during its growth or processing. This includes foods that are derived from plants and animals. However, a food product may very well meet this definition of organic yet fail to meet the qualifications for a certified organic label.
The United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program sets the definition and standards for all food products to be certified organic. The USDA NOP lists the following requirements for a food product to receive their organic certification:
Farmers must proactively use renewable resources and attempt to conserve water and soil to maintain or strengthen the environment's long-term quality.
- Any foods produced from animals must not have come in contact with growth hormones or antibiotics.
- All food must be produced without coming in contact with most conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, bio-engineered substances or ionizing radiation.
- Each organic farm must be thoroughly inspected by a government-approved official to ensure the most current qualifications for organic certification are met.
- Any organic food derived from plants or animals that undergo additional handling or processing after leaving the farm but before being made available to the public may only be sold at establishments that are certified organic providers.
What is coffee that's been certified organic? It's coffee that was grown and processed without the use of most synthetic chemicals. This coffee comes from a farm that prioritizes sustainability, renewable resources and preserving the quality of the land, groundwater, and air — all verified by official USDA NOP representatives. If you're purchasing coffee from a bean distributor, their roasting and preserving processes do not use any chemicals. If you're purchasing coffee that's freshly brewed, no synthetic chemicals were used during the brewing process.
Benefits of Organic Coffee vs. Regular Coffee
No matter if you take your cup with milk, sugar, cold-brewed or French pressed, you've got a choice to make when choosing your coffee beans — traditional or organic. This decision is harder for some than for others. Plenty of questions enter the mind of the coffee drinker — which is more affordable, better for the body or better for the environment? Let's look at some benefits of organic coffee and compare them to the benefits of regular coffee.
Benefits of Organic Coffee
A cup of coffee is a great way to start the day, and the benefits of organic coffee make it all the more enjoyable. As with many other organic products, you won't be surprised to learn that there are numerous reasons why organic coffee has become a popular choice for coffee drinkers around the world. Among the many perks, here are three benefits of organic coffee we love the most:
- Almost completely free of chemicals: What you put in your body is just as important as what you choose to not consume. Synthetic substances and chemicals can pose serious health risks to the land, animals, and people that they contact. Pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, and other synthetic chemicals can negatively influence bodily changes in some cases. Research is ongoing, but some studies show that chemicals such as those used in the growth or processing of non-organic foods can potentially trigger health issues.
- Organic coffee farms promote eco-friendly practices: Coffee farms that commit to organic practices are actively protecting and preserving our environment. Aside from the growing and processing practices, those who distribute organic coffee may also try to conduct other aspects of their business in more environmentally-friendly ways such as using renewable resources, manufacturing products with recyclable materials, donating proceeds to sustainability or conservation efforts, and promoting environmentally responsible practices to their employees and customers.
- Natural compounds are good for the body: Organic coffee health benefits are definitely enhanced by the lack of synthetic and man-made chemicals used to grow and process the beans. Organic nutrients found in coffee are also effective for reducing stress, increasing your mood, strengthening your immune system and boosting your metabolism. If you choose decaffeinated organic coffee black coffee, you can limit your caffeine intake to ensure you're putting exactly the right amount of this stimulant in your diet.
Benefits of Regular Coffee
There is no denying that the benefits of organic coffee are welcomed by coffee drinkers around the world — we can't imagine a coffee lover not appreciating the lack of chemicals in their morning cup or the steadfast dedication to preserving the environment so they can continue to enjoy quality cups of coffee year after year. However, when debating organic coffee vs. regular coffee, the conventional process yields several benefits as well:
- Traditional coffee is healthy too: Coffee in any form has been scientifically proven to provide health benefits. Along with energy and focus enhancements, caffeine can help you burn fat and improve your physical performance. It also has the potential to reduce your risk of developing diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, hepatitis, fatty liver disease, depression, and certain cancers like liver and colorectal cancer. Organic or not, the nutrients and antioxidants found in a cup of coffee have positive impacts on your health.
- More options for regular coffee: Although organic food sales are continuing to increase year after year, the quantity of organic farms has stayed relatively the same. With fewer organic farms, there simply cannot be as many diverse options for organic foods as there are conventional foods. This offers coffee drinkers more options when it comes to regular coffee beans. Average drinkers and coffee connoisseurs alike have opportunities to sample different blends and beans from more conventional coffee farms than organic farms.
- Some traditional coffees are more affordable: Not all organic coffees cost more than conventional coffees. However, higher costs can result from several factors. Organic farmers often lack subsidies from governmental organizations, increasing their growing costs. The organic farming process typically requires more labor and thorough management to ensure the products meets the USDA NOP's strict certification requirements. Most of these organic farms are also smaller and don't receive the same economic benefits or tax breaks as larger farms may.
From an environmental standpoint, organic coffee farms may have a more positive impact on the planet than some conventional coffee farms. Comparing the prices of organic black coffee to regular coffee is difficult, as a variety of factors can increase or decrease the price of each specific batch of beans. While there may be more options for regular coffee, there are still plenty of organic alternatives available. Is organic coffee good for you? Yes. Is organic coffee healthier? Not necessarily.
Is Organic Coffee Healthier?
When comparing organic to regular coffee, it's often assumed that organic coffee beans are healthier. In fact, many people may believe that any organic foods are healthy alternatives to foods grown or processed through standard methods because organic products contain fewer pesticides and chemicals. Although certified organic products were grown, harvested, and processed with fewer of these chemicals, the truth is that organic products aren't necessarily healthier from a nutrition perspective. While you do consume fewer chemicals, the nutritional value of the foods remains the same.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared organic foods to conventional foods and were unable to confirm that organic products are inherently healthier than regular foods. The American Dietetic Association echoes this statement, claiming that both organic and regular foods share that same quality and quantity of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Nutritionally, organic coffee isn't necessarily any healthier than conventional coffee. However, if you are a coffee drinker who prefers a diet that's limited in synthetic chemicals, organic coffee is a good option.
Which Coffee Is Better for the Planet?
This is a bit of a tricky question, especially considering the many diverse factors that influence the coffee plants' initial growth all the way through when the bean is brewed for our consumption. Since organic coffee farms do not use potentially harmful chemicals, neither the environment and the farm's employees are exposed to these possibly hazardous substances. Many organic coffee farms also limit their use of non-renewable resources and may engage in other practices that promote sustainability and conservation of natural resources.
However, just as organic does not necessarily mean healthier across the board, organic coffee growers don't necessarily practice the same environmentally or socially-conscious methods. Organic coffee producers that received certification from Fairtrade International may engage in stricter sustainable and fair practices than an organic farm that does not have the same certification. If you want to purchase coffee that's as environmentally or socially conscious as possible, do thorough research on both organic and non-organic coffee growers and roasters.
For example, we are proud to provide coffee drinkers throughout the country with Real Good Coffee Company USDA Certified Organic whole bean coffee. We provide this single-origin Sumatran blend in whole bean bags, and we are proud to offer it in Nespresso Pods and Keurig Organic Coffee K-Cups. We care about our planet as much as we care about our coffee, which is why our organic coffee K-cups and pods are made with 100% recyclable materials.
Does Organic Coffee Taste Different?
Here's the million-dollar question — which coffee tastes the best? Or more specifically, does organic coffee taste any different than regular coffee? As professional roasters and avid coffee drinkers, our team has asked and has been asked these questions more times than we can count. Our opinion? Yes! Organic coffee can taste different than regular coffee. In fact, one organic coffee may taste better than a conventional bean while another regular brew will taste worlds better than an organic blend.
The truth is that all coffee beans, blends, and brews can taste better, worse, or simply different than others — whether you're drinking a cup made with organic coffee beans or not. Every coffee drinker has their own unique preference for taste. You may prefer 100% Arabica beans in a cold brew while someone else thinks organic Robusta beans that have been French pressed deliver the best taste. Aside from personal preference, there are many other factors that do alter the final flavor.
What Makes Coffee's Taste Change?
You've picked up a fresh cup of coffee, and it tastes amazing. A day later, you grab another cup of the same type of coffee, and suddenly, it's not up to par. Whether the coffee is organic or not, several other factors can cause a change in the taste of your morning cup of joe. Understanding why organic coffee and regular coffee can vary in taste profiles will help you identify quality in every cup and become a better homebrewer.
A lot of effort goes into your jug of java. The type of bean, where it's grown geographically, how it's grown, and how it's processed on the farm can all influence taste before the bean is even roasted. The way it's roasted, blended, and brewed also have an impact. Factors like grind size, coffee to water ratio, temperature of the water, how long the coffee is extracted from the bean, and how fresh the grinds are can dramatically alter the taste.
Which coffee tastes best — organic black coffee or conventional black coffee? That's for your palate to decide.
Discover Which Real Good Coffee Benefits Your Morning Most
The benefits of organic coffee can be quite advantageous, especially if you're a coffee drinker with a focus on the environment. Organic or regular — when you order from Real Good Coffee Co. coffee, you're guaranteed to get a premium-quality cup every time. We invite you to try our Organic Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee as well as our non-organic Breakfast Blend Light Roast, Donut Shop Medium Roast, and Dark French Roast. Don't settle for any cup. Always start your morning with Real Good Coffee Co.