Top 10 Best Organic Coffee Brands (2018): You Should Try
Nothing says ‘Good morning’ better than a cup of hot freshly- brewed coffee. The mere smell of coffee alone can make one jump right out of bed. The bitter yet flavorful taste of each sip sends tingles down one’s spine. Ahhh, coffee is indeed happiness in a cup.
Table of Contents
- 1 Benefits of Drinking Coffee
- 2 Why Choose Organic Coffee?
- 3 Best Organic Coffee Beans Reviews (10 Our Editors’ Choices for 2018)
- 3.1 Death Wish Ground Coffee
- 3.2 Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee
- 3.3 Jungle Costa Rican Coffee
- 3.4 Camano Island Coffee Roasters
- 3.5 The Jo Espresso
- 3.6 Two Volcanoes Espresso Coffee
- 3.7 Cafe Altura Ground Organic Coffee
- 3.8 Coffee Bean Direct Dark Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
- 3.9 The Bean Coffee Company
- 3.10 Ethical Bean Coffee Sweet Espresso
- 4 Final Thoughts
Benefits of Drinking Coffee
Aside from making people feel more awake and alert, coffee also has a lot of other benefits. According to several peer-reviewed scientific journals, coffee can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, given that the coffee drank is without sugar or other sweeteners.
According to a study conducted by a doctor from Harvard University, for every cup of coffee consumed a day, the risk of type 2 diabetes lessens by 6%. It also helps lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Aside from this, it also protects the liver against cirrhosis.
Did you know that feeling happy after a cup of coffee is not just mental conditioning?
This actually has scientific basis. According to a study conducted on 86,000 female nurses, it was found that there was a reduced risk of suicide and depression for coffee drinkers.
In another study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, it was found that women who drank four or more cups of coffee are 20% less likely to experience depression.
Some studies also suggest that coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from any type of heart disease. It was also found that it lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis and colorectal cancer. Additionally, it also reduces the risk for gout, liver cancer, retinal damage, periodontal disease, cavities and melanoma.
Why Choose Organic Coffee?
Health-wise, you can’t really go wrong with organic. Generally speaking, anything organic is healthier than nonorganic counterparts. When it comes to coffee, there is a surprisingly huge difference between regular or conventional coffee and organic coffee.
Consuming organically grown coffee is the best way we can avoid the risk of chemical poisoning and harboring various diseases.
Although not all non-organic coffees contain toxic substances, going for the certified organic is the better option we can take to help preserve humanity and our planet.
Organic coffee has more nutrients – vitamins and minerals – than regular coffee. One serving of organic coffee provides an adequate level of vitamin compared to instant coffee.
Research led by a professor at the Newcastle University found that organic produce contained less toxic compounds and linked to high level of healthy nutrients.
The taste of organic coffee is also better since the beans are nourished, and they were grown on a well-balanced farm that cultivates coffee beans not just for appearance and taste, but also for optimal health benefits.
Organic farming ensures that our eco-system is sustained and in harmony with the environment. Coffee lovers are reassured that the soil and beans are kept healthy and chemical-free.
Most people believe that organic crops are grown without using pesticides or fertilizers. However, both are needed to achieve the best results. The main difference is the types and/or methods used.
Most growers revert back to the old techniques when synthetic products weren’t available. Combined with modern knowhow, using old growing methods can yield excellent results.
Organic Coffee Processing
There two ways of processing coffee beans; wet and dry.
Dry Milling – This procedure involves drying the fruits under the sun before being hulled (peeled). The beans are turned by hand or with hand tools to ensure even drying. The whole process can take up to 4 weeks, depending on the weather conditions.
Most coffee beans from Asia, Africa, Middle East, and South America use this method and the result is a rich, earthy, natural flavor that is commonly associated with organic coffee.
Wet Milling – This method uses water to extract the seeds from the cherries before it is dried. It is a costly and involving process and is consider as not very environmentally friendly because of the amount of water used.
However, this method produces a bright, fruity character. A lot of the bigger companies process their coffee this way. It may be expensive and tedious but it does bring out the best in the coffee.
Roasting Organic Coffee
As with the processing, roasting is also crucial for the coffee to be considered organic. There shouldn’t be any cross-contamination between organic and non-organic coffee beans. This includes the roasting drums or pots, utensil, and packaging. Of course, there shouldn’t be any artificial flavour enhancers or chemicals added at this stage.
In fact, nothing should be added to the coffee while roasting, period. Good coffee should come from the bean, not added later.
The production of organic coffee does not include the use of synthetic fertilizers that make the beans cleaner and oozing with aroma and flavor. The absence of chemicals sustains soil fertility through the use of organic fertilizers such as compost and coffee pulp. This process combats climate change and limits the emission of compounds in nature.
According to researchers, regular or conventional coffee is steeped in pesticides and other chemicals. The result of a study conducted by CS Monitor found that over 250 pounds of chemical fertilizers are being used to grow regular coffee. It suggests that in one cup of coffee, there could be over 1,000 chemicals present that can be linked to some illnesses and health issues.
Scientific studies also found that conventional coffees are remarkably treated with insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides that are commonly used to kill any pests and double the growth of beans. This overload is not just harmful to insects, but the toxins are carried by the coffee beans that are then turned into a freshly brewed coffee.
Using chemicals in growing coffee beans poses enormous problems to nature. The outcome of this action includes pollution in the land, water, and air. Indeed, this is an alarming reality that non-organic farms follow.
For those who enjoy the coffee flavor but not the kick, there’s organic decaf. In general, there are 4 methods of taking the caffeine out, but only 2 can be considered organic; The Swiss Water process and the Carbon Dioxide method. Luckily, these two methods are the ones that also produce decafs that have the most flavor.
Swiss Water Process - This method uses hot water and activated charcoal filter to remove the caffeine from green coffee beans prior to roasting.
The beans are soaked in very hot water which then dissolves the caffeine, and consequently, the flavor oils. The water is then run through an activated charcoal filter that takes out the larger caffeine molecules, leaving the smaller flavor oil molecules behind.
Essentially, you are left with a container of coffee flavored water and flavorless beans. It makes more sense when you move on to the next batch of beans. The extract from the previous batch will be used to soak the new batch of beans. Now you can remove the caffeine without losing the flavor.
Carbon Dioxide Method - The process uses CO2 as a solvent to remove caffeine. Water-soaked beans are placed in a stainless steel extraction chamber and sealed.
Liquid CO2 is then pressurized into the beans up to 1000lbs. The liquid CO2 draws the caffeine out and absorbs it. It is then transferred to another container where the CO2 returns to its gaseous form, leaving the caffeine behind. The CO2 is collected to be used again.
While this method is very effective, it is very costly which is why it is used mainly for large quantities by manufacturers that can afford it.
Best Organic Coffee Beans Reviews (10 Our Editors’ Choices for 2018)
The following is a list of the best organic coffee brands available in the market. It includes a summarized table and an individual review of each brand. In choosing the best organic brands, the following factors were considered:
Cafe Altura Coffee
Camano Island Coffee
Medium Dark Roast
Papua New Guinea
Coffee Bean Direct
Death Wish Coffee
Don Pablo Coffee
Medium Dark Roast
Has its own program
Ethical Bean Coffee
Medium Dark Roast
Medium Dark Roast
The Bean Coffee
Death Wish Ground Coffee—the name alone can send shivers down your spine. Claiming to be the world’s strongest coffee, the Death Wish Ground Coffee is a USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade- sourced coffee made from ultra-caffeinated dark roast beans. It is manufactured and distributed by Death Wish Coffee Co., which is located in Saratoga Springs, New York. Said company was founded by Mike Brown,
One glance at the black package embedded with the wicked skull and cross bones emblem, tells you just how powerful this blend might be. Death Wish Coffee is a coffee made from a combination of Robusta and Arabica beans, mainly sourced from Peru and India. This coffee has notes of roasted almond, dark chocolate and dark cherry. Despite its rich flavors, this coffee has zero calories. It is USDA certified organic and Fair Trade.
One pound of coffee makes at least 72 cups of coffee. The recommended ratio for brewing is 2.5 tablespoons of coffee to 6 ounces of water. Typically, coffee has six months shelf life. The Death Wish Coffee has the same shelf life. Each pack is neatly packaged in a double-gusseted foil bag ensuring the coffee’s optimal freshness.
We found the Death Wish Ground Coffee to be one of the strongest coffees we have ever tried. It tastes very bold without the bitterness. However. The color of the coffee is very dark and can be likened to the color of charcoal.
Subtle Earth Organic Gourmet Coffee was started by Don Pablo coffee growers and roasters, an arm of the Burke Brands LL.C. Said company was founded by Darron J. Burke in 1989. It is certified organic and Non-GMO by CCOF. It is made from special Honduran beans from the Marcala region. No chemicals were used on said coffee beans. The coffee cherries were used as fertilizer in lieu of insecticides. Additionally, the farmers also practice vermiculture. In said process, worms are used to break down organic food wastes to become fertilizer. Plant peppers are used as repellents.
The Marcala region in Honduras is a known producer of excellent beans. The high-altitude of the region causes the coffee beans to have a very rich and dense taste. The beans are slowly roasted in small batches in the right temperature to produce a full body deep, chocolatey flavor. It also has hints of caramel, cocoa and honey.
There are four suggested brewing methods for said coffee, they are namely: traditional drip machine, espresso machine, French press and Hand drip method.
Subtle Earth Organic Gourmet Coffee is available as whole beans in light, dark and medium dark roast. It can be purchased as two-pound and five-pound bag. It can also be bought as single-serve cups.
We tried the light roast. It was light, but with just the right amount of flavor for us. It would be best to drink it straight. Other customers found it too bland and preferred mixing it with other roasts to give it more body. This coffee also has low acidity. Another pro is that it is very affordable Because of this, we rate Subtle Earth Organic Gourmet Coffee with four out of five stars.
Next on this list of would be Jungle Costa Rican Coffee. This brand is a coffee blend made from pure Arabica beans. It is made and distributed by its namesake company, which is located in Doral, Florida. The beans are mainly sourced from local growers in Costa Rica. The beans are grown in fertile volcanic soil which gives the beans a light and mild acidic taste. Each batch of beans are roasted in the right temperature and in the right amount of time and are packed in heat-sealed high barrier stand-up foil bags.
Jungle Costa Rican Coffee is certified by the USDA organic regulation and USDA National Organic Program and Handling Procedure.
The recommended brewing ratio is two tablespoons of coffee per every six (6) ounces of water.
One of the laudable qualities of this coffee is the excellent packaging. The black and sleek package with the bold lettering indeed catches attention. Meanwhile, it tastes very flavorful and true to what it advertises. We rate Jungle Costa Rican Coffee Beans with four and a half stars out of five.
Camano Island Coffee Roasters takes pride in being an ethical and fairly traded coffee brand. The beans are grown organically, ensuring farmer and product safety. It is also grown in such a way that protects animal habitat and soil preservation. The Papua New Guinea Medium Roast blend, as its name suggests, is sourced from the Papua New Guinea Highlands. Said beans were imported from the Jamaica Blue Mountain region and first planted in Wau in the 1930s. Aside from the aforementioned, it is also USDA Certified Organic and shade grown.
This coffee blend boasts of a rich, crisp and clean finish. It also has subtle tones of chocolate. It can be bought as coffee grounds or as whole beans.
The Papua New Guinea Medium Roast of Camano Island Coffee Roasters tastes delicious! The coffee is very smooth and does not have any bitter taste. The beans are also very aromatic. However, we do hope it was sent in a better package. We give the Papua New Guinea Medium Roast Camano Island Coffee Roasters with four out of five stars.
Up next, we have Jo Espresso. It is a USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified coffee brand. It is made using the top 2% of all Arabica coffee in the world. It is produced by Jo Coffee Inc. It is one of the top coffee brands in Amazon and has over 5,000 positive reviews and comments to date. The company was founded in 2002 by Kevin Kapaun. The company is a member of several international coffee organizations such as The Roaster’s Guild, Specialty Coffee Association of America, Fair Trade USA, Rainforest Alliance and Slow Food USA.
We were quite surprised with the taste of this coffee. It has a very earthy and dark taste. To get the full experience, use a proper grinder and espresso machine. It would also be better to follow the instructions indicated. We give four out of five stars for Jo Espresso.
The next organic coffee brand is the Two Volcanoes Espresso Coffee Beans. This brand is made from Guatemalan coffee beans grown right at the base of Tajumulco and Tajana, two important volcanoes in Guatemala. Volcanic soil is full of minerals and nutrients which result to premier coffee beans. The blend is a combination of Robusta and Arabica beans.
This single-origin coffee dark roast espresso blend has hints of wooden and fruits flavors. It can only be bought as beans in two-pound and five-pound bags. It is packed in a degassing valve.
The coffee has an amazing aroma. It is also very flavorful and the bitterness is just right. However, we found it a little too oily for our liking. Because of this we rate Two Volcanoes Espress Coffee Beans with three and a half stars.
Café Altura was established in 1980 in Ventura, California. The beans are sourced from the district of Villa Rica – Pasco, Peru. Aside from fresh ground coffee, said company is also known for their whole bean coffee, canned coffee, instant coffee and mountain water decaf. The Café Altura Ground Organic Coffee is sold in eight flavors namely: dark roast, dark roast decaf, fair trade dark blend, fair trade classic roast, house blend, French roast, regular roast and regular roast decaf.
Café Altura brands their coffee as a biodynamic coffee. It is called biodynamic because the coffee farmers taken into account the biodiversity surrounding the farm. The main emphasis of this type of farming is sustainability of the method. As the blend’s name suggests, it is organic and shade-grown.
As mentioned earlier, the beans are grown and sourced in Peru. They are planted at an altitude of 1,550 meters. The coffee bean varieties currently available are: Typica, Caturra, Catimor, Catuai and Bourbon. All are grown in clay mineral soil. After harvest, the beans are fully washed and dried in the sun. These are then roasted in an organic certified roasting facility located in Ventura, California before packed into carefully sealed packages.
The regular roast from this brand comes out very smooth and flavorful. It also has no bitter or burnt taste. The product is also excellently presented in a very neat and nice vacuum packaging. Because of this, the Café Altura Ground Organic Coffee deserves four stars out of five.
We can’t leave Coffee Bean Direct Ethiopian Yirgacheffe if we’re talking flavor. The company manufacturing and distributing this coffee is located in New Jersey. The coffee beans are roasted, packed and shipped in said location.
The beans are sourced from Ethiopia, the origin of coffee. It is an organic and a fair-trade brand. Aside from the popular Ethiopian Yirgacheffe flavor, there are thirteen (13) other flavors such as City Roast Colombian Supremo, City Roast Papua New Guinea, Dark Brazilian Santos, Dark Costa Rican Tirrazu, Dark Guatemalan, Dark House Blend and Dark Sumatra Gayoland.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a light roast, medium-acidity and smooth-body coffee. We noted hints of fruity after taste. However, we also noted a bit of a sour smell. Because of this we give Ethiopian Yirgacheffe with four out of five stars.
The Bean Coffee Company utilizes 100% Arabica organic coffee beans certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The company was established in 2007 in Southern California.
Mocha Java by the Bean Coffee Company is a medium roast blend with a sweet finish and hint of chocolate. As mentioned earlier, it is made from arabica beans and is sold as coffee grounds and as whole beans. However, we found it to be slightly acidic and very light to be a medium roast. Because of this we give it three and a half stars out of five.
Next, we’ve got Ethical Bean Coffee Sweet Espresso. Guilt-free coffee at its finest, this is what the company seeks to provide. The company was found back in 1999 by Lloyd Bernhardt and Kim Schachte in Guatemala. The couple decided to put up the company to honor the coffee farmers in their country. As they say, fair trade is not only a marketing slogan for this company, it is part and parcel of its entity. A premium is given to the coffee farmers’ cooperatives to invest into their communities.
As for the taste of the coffee itself, it is as good as promised. The Sweet Espresso is dark roast, heavy body blend. It has overtones of fruit and earth. It also has a very strong flavor. The beans originate from South and Central America. We mixed it with milk, as recommended. It can be bought as coffee grounds or whole beans. It is also considerably cheaper than the other brands.
Aside from Sweet Espresso, it is available in six (6) other flavors namely Bold Dark, Classic Medium, Decaf Dark, Lush Medium Dark, Mellow Medium and Super dark French. As for the Ethical Bean Coffee Sweet Espresso, we rate it with a perfect score of five stars.
There is some negative connotation that organic coffee is more expensive than supermarket brands. Whilst there is some truth to that, the extra bit of money you pay is worth every penny.
The aforementioned best organic coffee were selected according to (1) origin of the coffee beans, (2) organic certification, (3) ingredients, (4) budget, (5) packaging and (6) fair trade agreement with the farmers.
Death Wish and Don Pablo Coffee photo by Littlecoffeeplace.com | CC BY-SA