USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade ground coffee. Full-bodied, dark roast, intensely flavorful and with a great aroma. Caffeine galore! Hand-selected beans and state-of-the-art roasting & packaging ensures flavor and freshness. Unconditional 100% refund if you don't like it.
Very strong brew, not for everyone. Expensive at nearly $20 a pound.
Certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). 100% Arabica beans, GMO-free. Medium-dark roast, rich, smooth, and a hint of cocoa. Low acidity. Manufacturer acquires beans from Honduras, via Sharing Certified Program.
Another very popular organic coffee, but small percentage don't like the flavor.
This lush medium-dark roast coffee is made without pesticides and chemicals. It also features a fair trade certification and is seasonally sourced. It is entirely organic and comes in whole bean form. The resealable bag makes it very convenient.
Some reports of disliking the taste and the coffee not being fresh.
100% Arabica and organic coffee beans. "Craft" roasted in an old-fashioned Probat drum roaster updated with modern fuel-efficient ribbon burners, for consistently superior roast. Smooth, rich flavor, with fruit and floral notes. Manufacturer claims partnership with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, supporting reforestation in Ecuador.
A minority didn't like it or think it was special. Costs about $13 a pound.
An intensely flavorful organic coffee, USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified, with notes of dark cocoa and brown sugar. Manufacturer claims they select only the top 2% of all Arabica raw coffee beans worldwide, to ensure quality and flavor. Earth- and small farmer-conscious company.
On the expensive side at over $15 a pound.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Over 50% of Americans drink coffee every day. The caffeine in coffee keeps us fueled through the workday or helps us get out of bed in the morning, but we may not pay much thought to what else coffee contains.
The Coffea plant that produces coffee beans is one of the most pesticide-laden plants on the planet. Not only are the pesticides and other chemicals used in coffee cultivation harmful to your body, they’re also destructive to the planet. Fortunately, certified organic coffees are widely available — you can be both a health-conscious and an environmentally aware consumer without sacrificing your java fix.
When buying an organic coffee, the considerations are the same as when purchasing non-organic: roast, whole bean vs. pre-ground, and where in the world your coffee is from. In addition to organic certifications, there are also fair trade and non-GMO certified beans.
Conventional coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods in the world. It may be treated with pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Not only do these chemicals leach into the environment, including our air and water supply, but the workers who spray them and harvest the crop are exposed to the toxins. Local communities are adversely affected by these chemicals known to be detrimental to human health.
Some of the pesticides commonly used in conventional coffee include glyphosate, aldicarb, carbofuran, fenpropathrin, and terbufos. A few of these have been strongly linked to cancer.
According to some studies, 85% of residual pesticides are burned off in the roasting process of the coffee bean. However, if you’re someone who drinks three cups of joe a day over a lifetime, those toxins can build up in your body.
The good news is that coffees that receive a USDA certification are grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. They are also grown without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and using sustainable farming techniques.
What’s more, organic coffee beans are richer in antioxidants than conventional beans and taste better to many consumers.
Organic coffees come pre-ground or as whole roasted beans. Whole beans require the extra step of grinding at home in a coffee grinder. However, this gives the freshest cup; pre-ground beans oxidize over time and lose their flavor. Grinding your own beans also gives you control over the grind size. For instance, a French press requires a different grind than a cone filter. Single-serve cups for pod brewers contain ground coffee as well, and these are available in organic. Pre-ground coffee’s biggest asset is its convenience and the fact that it doesn’t require a coffee grinder.
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 world’s 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.
Most coffee beans come roasted, though some are available raw and unroasted (also known as “green”). Roast affects the fullness of the flavor, not the caffeine level. Light roasts are light brown in color and “dry,” and the beans have a non-oily surface. They have the highest acidity of all roasts. Medium roasts are medium brown in color and brew a flavorful cup. Medium-dark roasts are rich in flavor and the beans are semi-oily with a bittersweet aftertaste. Dark roasts are the darkest and oiliest of beans, and you may see a little oil shimmering in your coffee. Dark roasts deliver the strongest flavor paired with the lowest acidity.
Organic coffees range in price from $0.50 an ounce to $1.25 an ounce.
Inexpensive: Low-priced organic coffees range from $0.46 an ounce to $0.61 an ounce. For a two-pound bag, the range is $18 to $24.50. These are all USDA-certified organic beans.
Mid-range: Mid-priced organic coffees range from $0.69 an ounce to $0.94 an ounce. For a one-pound bag, the range is $8 to $15. Sustainably farmed organic coffees can be found here.
Expensive: Premium organic coffees cost upwards of $1 an ounce. At the higher end of the spectrum, a one-pound bag costs up to $20. These are Fair Trade certified.
Q. Are there health benefits to drinking coffee?
A. Yes, quite a few, actually. Coffee is one of the top sources of antioxidants in the American diet. Antioxidants fight free radical damage, which can cause cancer and other chronic diseases. Coffee contains a type of antioxidants called polyphenols. Also, coffee increases circulation in the liver and protects liver health. It protects against neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, and promotes cognitive function. Caffeine increases energy as well as athletic performance. It may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. To retain the health benefits of coffee, only use organic beans to avoid chemicals that are detrimental to your body.
Q. Does it matter where in the world my coffee beans are from?
A. In terms of taste, different regions of the world produce coffees varying in flavor. For instance, coffee from Asia is heavy-bodied and earthy, whereas coffee from Africa is fruity and floral. Latin American coffee tends to be sweeter and balanced. In terms of environmental impact, Brazil and Vietnam are two countries that clear-cut forests to grow coffee without shade. Be aware that coffee grown this way uses more pesticides. Different countries also have different rules and regulations for certain pesticides. When in doubt, select beans that are USDA-certified organic.