If you’re like me, you probably LOVE the routine of drinking coffee in the morning, it’s a ritual. The smell of it is just as intoxicating as the taste. But if you struggle with the “aftermath” of coffee — i.e. coffee crash, anxiety, jitters, too much or too little energy, needing to re-fill your cup immediately after you finish your last one, joint pain, brain fog — listen up.
My husband Ryan is a Coffee Snob with a capital CS. I on the other hand very much enjoy coffee, but am more of a “food is medicine” snob . Combined we are quite the pair. It was my mission to find a coffee that…
- Met Ryan's standards in the taste department
- Met my standards in the organic, as clean as possible way
THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING MY HONEST, UNBIASED REVIEWS ON CLEAN EATING AND WELLNESS!
Here's a table of contents to get you up to speed on what you want to know:
- Is Coffee Even Good For You?
- Is Clean Coffee Necessary?
- So How Do We Know What Is Clean Coffee and What Is Dirty Coffee?
- All About Decaf
- Best Options At Coffee Shops
- Best Options For Home Brewed
- Favorite Coffee Lovers' Tools
Is Coffee Even Good For You?
People who are into both mindful eating and coffee drinking have all at some point questioned whether coffee is actually good for you — and most research is no help.
There are sooooo many contradictory studies and opinions out there: Coffee is good for your brain. Coffee is bad for your heart. Coffee gives you jitters. Coffee makes you more focused. I wanted to get to the bottom of the coffee conundrum and I found that the answer is actually a bit more complicated than just Yes or No.
Good coffee can actually improve your brain and physical performance. It can even help you recover from workouts quicker. Bad coffee can do the exact opposite. Even if it’s a $7 coffee drink from a gourmet coffee shop, you could be drinking a cup of mold, mycotoxins, bleach, and other contaminants. Usually, it's not the actual coffee bean that is the problem, it’s the way it’s processed.
Is Clean Coffee Necessary?
The reason we have so much opposing evidence about coffee is that experts don’t differentiate between the different kinds of coffee when they study its effect on people. A study out of Scranton University found that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the average American diet. The reality is good coffee is great for you. Bad coffee is a vehicle for mold, glyphosate, and other nasties to enter your body.
According to CS Monitor, up to 250 pounds of chemical fertilizers are sprayed per acre of conventional (non-organic) coffee, making it one of the most chemically-treated crops in the WORLD.
Switching to cleaner coffee can be expensive, but it's worth it and little upgrades add up. If it’s something I’m putting in or on my body EVERY single day, sometimes multiple times a day, I want it to be the highest quality because that’s what’s going to have the biggest impact on my life.
Case in point: I drink a cup of coffee every single day, sometimes two cups a day. That’s at minimum 400 cups a year. 8,000 instances of drinking coffee over 20 years. You’re kidding yourself if you think that doing sometimes 8,000 times won’t have an impact on you long-term.
Not only that but there is a world of a difference between your regular, run-of-the-mill cup of coffee and a glyphosate-free, mold-free, mycotoxin-free cup of java. Typically, organic coffee is going to be better for you than conventional, but sadly, that’s not always the case. Organic coffee beans can still become contaminated with mold if not processed properly.
So How Do We Know What Is Clean Coffee and What Is Dirty Coffee?
There are a few questions you need to ask:
- Where does the coffee come from? If it’s a “blend,” it's not going to be the best quality. Just as we learned with olive oil, coffee “blends” are almost guaranteed to have mold in them because it’s likely combining cheap beans from several different countries. It’s just like how you wouldn’t want to eat a burger made with 10,000 different kinds of meat in it or olive oil with olives from 100 different countries.
- Is it organic? Organic tends to be better than conventional, but the processing is also important. If coffee beans are “sun dried” for example, that open air processing could allow for other animals to contaminate the beans which leads to mold.
- Is it screened for mold and mycotoxins? If so, the company will tell you as much.
- If you're buying from a local coffee shop, ask them about their beans! I know it sounds weird but trust me, if they're passionate about coffee, they'll be happy to talk about it.
All About Decaf
Highest quality regular coffee would be organic, screened for mold and mycotoxins.
Highest quality decaf coffee would be all of the above and using the Swiss Water Process for decaffeination.
Unless a company explicitly states they use the Swiss Water Process, you can pretty much guarantee they don't (it's more expensive to do so and makes the coffee higher quality so why wouldn't they advertise it?).
The way most brands make coffee decaf is by soaking the beans in a chemical solvent (methylene chloride and ethyl acetate – it's like a bleach cocktail) to basically strip the beans of the caffeine, then they roast those beans to give you decaf coffee. But that also means you're then ingesting all those chemicals
When a company uses the Swiss Water Process, they use this process of decaffeination using only – you guessed it – water. So it's a much cleaner coffee (and tastes better too).
So when I'm at home I mostly drink decaf (I don't need the caffeine, I just love the taste, smell, and routine of coffee!). Butttt I love coffee dates and supporting local coffee shops above anything else — health be damned #balance. But when I'm out I drink regular caffeine coffee because I'd rather drink that than whatever chemicals they use for decaf.
My favorite brand for coffee is Kion. A friend turned me on to them 3 years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since, so much so that I even asked if I could partner with them. This is why I wanted to work together to help spread the word: They third-party test for mold and mycotoxins, they use only organic beans grown at high altitude, and their decaf is exclusively Swiss Water Process. If you haven’t tried their coffee yet, I highlyyyy recommend them. Any company that can effectively combine product + purpose + transparency is worth giving a try in my book.
Use the code LPWKION for 10% off your first order and let me know what you think! I’m warning you though… if you already have a coffee addiction get ready for it to be turned up another notch
Best Options At Coffee Shops
I am a huge proponent of supporting local whenever possible. If you can afford a weekly coffee habit at your favorite local coffee shop, go for it! Try to find a local shop that offers organic options, that will be your best bet.
I asked my friend Monica who is the owner of a popular coffee shop in New Jersey her thoughts on organic coffee and here's what she had to say:
The US has literally 0 standards when it comes to importing coffee, unlike the EU where coffee is screened upon arrival into the respective country and undergoes several screenings. So if you see that a coffee company in the US screens for mold, that means they are using a third party company or lab to independent test their coffee.
We don't use a lab to test our coffee beans, but there are ways to ensure our coffee is mold free. We only buy our beans directly from farmers. They don’t mass produce, they hand pick every bean. Every farm is pesticide free and everything organically grown, so we know it’s top quality once it leaves the country of origin.
To eliminate mold in transit, we have direct relationships with these farmers so we are literally texting Jorge in Ecuador to ship us his latest batch. We don’t buy coffee that’s been sitting around. The farmer ships it and we pick it up at Newark Airport ourselves. Since we roast in small batches, we are able to carefully inspect each batch so you can physically see if there's mold.Monica Rodriguez, owner of Queen City Coffee Roasters in Plainfield, NJ
Best Options for Home-Brewed
I've tried several clean coffee brands over the years including Purity, Lifeboost, Kicking Horse, and more, and while they are all great options, my top choice for the cleanest, purest, best-tasting coffee with the most benefits is Kion. I’ve been drinking Kion coffee for over a year and am never going back. They are hands down one of the most transparent coffee companies out there with their sourcing and production.
Kion is research-backed and quality-tested. Their supplements and functional foods target the various causes of low energy, helping unlock your body’s natural energy—your Ki—from all angles. It's why I'm such a huge fan of their coffee!
It's important to note that Ryan and I like our coffee pretty bold. Kion coffee is definitely a darker roast, even their medium roast is pretty dark. It has notes of dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. I love it with a splash of organic grass-fed milk. Ryan drinks his black.
Use code LPWKION to save 10% on your first order!
If you prefer a lighter roast, you might enjoy Lifeboost more. Their light roast is bright, fruity, and very smooth. Many light roasts can end up tasting acidic but theirs is not.
Favorite Coffee Lovers' Tools
I also have some much-loved tools for the best clean coffee-drinking experience:
- This handheld frother from Amazon is SO dang powerful!! You get coffee shop-worthy froth in less than 20 seconds.
- For hot or cold beverages, I also really love this hands-free version. It's made from high-quality stainless steel and can heat up beverages as well as the option to froth hot or cold!
- I know this is kind of frivolous but Anthropologie makes the best dang home decor — and that include coffee mugs! A pretty mug makes your cup o' Joe even more enjoyable, amiright?!
Sadly, we are still on the hunt for a good small coffee maker. I hate appliances and gadgets that take up a lot of counter space. Currently, we have a Bunn coffee maker which is huge, but it does make good coffee. The learning curve is STEEP though. It took us a long time and a lot of YouTube tutorials to figure out how to use it. I'm thinking of getting a simple pour-over but Ryan hates the idea because he doesn't want to have to think about it in the morning.
That is the end of my organic coffee rant! I would love to know if this was helpful! And if it was, share this with your coffee lover friends.