Did you know that non-organic coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods in the world? It’s true. Much of conventional coffee is filled with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides. It’s not a very appetizing image.
I drink a lot of coffee. I’m a sucker for a perfectly-pulled syrupy shot of espresso and I average 2-3 shots per day. I buy organic coffee beans from my local roaster because I like their freshness and complex flavor profiles. Until recently, though, I had only a vague idea of how my coffee habit was impacting my body, the coffee farmers, and the environment.
The Hidden Cost of Non-Organic Coffee
I’m not the only coffee addict. Coffee is one of the most widely traded commodities in the world. Unfortunately, to meet this demand producers have had to rely on methods that compromise human and environmental well-being. Specifically, farmers are exposed to synthetic chemicals and fertilizers while spraying and harvesting crops. This is a serious problem because exposure to pesticides comes with significant health risks. Moreover, chemicals can leave toxic residues in air and water, which further impacts surrounding communities.
Conventional coffee production doesn’t just rely on synthetic fertilizers to meet demand. Coffee plants prefer shade, but this makes them more difficult to tend and harvest. To make it easier to grow and harvest coffee, many conventional coffee producers plant hybrids that are developed to be happy in full sun. While planting more resilient hybrids isn’t necessarily bad, forests are cleared and ecosystems are destroyed to make space to grow lots of these sun-loving varieties. Therefore, although these practices may increase yields, their long-term effects can be very detrimental to human and environmental health.
The Benefits of Organic Coffee
Roasters who are committed ethical sourcing, like Needmore Coffee, work exclusively with organic coffee producers. Choosing organic beans gives them peace of mind because they know that their beans are not disrupting communities or the environment. Besides that, these coffees have superior taste and health value. As it turns out, organic coffee tastes so good precisely because producers don’t use growing methods that jeopardize human and environmental health. Organic coffee farmers don’t use synthetic chemicals or fertilizers. They work with nature and use only organic fertilizers, which produce beans with more healthful antioxidants. These antioxidants may even improve the flavor of the coffee that ends up in your cup!