Have you ever come across a "100% Organic" sticker when you were buying coffee? What does this mean, and how is it different from those whole bean bags that don't have the same label?
The demand for organic coffee is gaining momentum as most of us begin to embrace more sustainable, eco-friendlier lifestyles. For many people, products labeled as organic are perceived as natural, high-quality, and healthy.
Despite how straightforward that sounds, there's so much more to what organic coffee truly is. In this article, we are going to tackle all there is to know about organic coffee–what it is, what its benefits are, and how it differs from conventional coffee.
What Does "Organic" Really Mean?
In agriculture, organic means that a crop or food is produced without being exposed to chemicals, such as synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. It means strict farming guidelines are being observed in order for a farm or a product to be certified as organic.
So what is organic coffee, then? To put it simply, it's when your coffee is grown and produced in the most natural way (without the use of chemicals)–it's good for the farmers, consumers, and the environment.
Organic Coffee vs. Non-Organic Coffee
There are significant differences between organic and non-organic coffee. Each of these points mainly focus on the farming processes that the two coffees experience. Let's explain each one of them and find out why organic coffee is the better choice.
Fertilizers and Pesticides
Conventional or non-organic coffees are chemically treated with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Not only can this be bad for the environment, but it may also be detrimental to a person's health. For farmers, this is especially true since they are exposed to these toxic chemicals while they cultivate and harvest the crop.
Further, organic coffee assures that no synthetic chemicals are used throughout the process of coffee farming. Instead, they are cultivated with organic fertilizers such as compost and coffee pulp. Organic agriculture helps minimize carbon emissions, which has a big impact on climate change. This also means safer and cleaner air, water, earth–and of course, coffee–for all of us.
Typically, coffee trees prefer shaded areas to grow. This means it's ideal to have them planted in thick forests. However, in these conditions, the crop will be much more difficult to tend to, so hybrids were developed to flourish in the sun. And this is the case for most conventional coffees.
Deforestation occurs to create open fields where the non-organic coffee hybrids are mass-grown. And although this method increases crop yield, the habitat for wild ecosystems is compromised.
Because of this, farmers have no choice but to utilize toxic pesticides for their crops. Since birds, lizards, and other forest creatures serve as deterrents for future coffee pests and insects, they will no longer have a place to inhabit. In addition, there can be no more leaf litter and animal droppings, thus leading to the use of synthetic fertilizers.
Since there are no more trees in these growing conditions, water runoff and soil erosion during rainy weather are more prevalent. Not only does the rainwater wash off the natural nutrients in the soil, but it may also transfer the chemicals used on the crop to water supplies in nearby communities.
On the bright side, organic coffee farming means a better way of agriculture. Coffees are naturally grown under the shade of forest trees. In addition, ecosystems are preserved for flora and fauna to dwell in, soil fertility is sustained, and irregular weather patterns are better handled, making it safer for the farmers and environment as well.
Benefits of Drinking Organic Coffee
As we've learned so far, organic coffee has a lot of environmental benefits. Now, it's time to talk about its good effects on one's body and health.
- It's higher in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals than conventional coffee.
- It can boost a person's metabolism and immune system.
- Stronger coffee provides an energy boost that improves brain function.
- Organic nutrients help reduce stress and perk up your mood.
Finally, knowing that the coffee you consume is sourced in the most responsible way guarantees a more satisfying and promising experience once you take a sip from your cup.
Why Should You Switch To Organic?
It's already given that traditional coffee is more accessible than organic coffee. Higher yield and easier farming conditions entice coffee producers to go for the conventional way. And this is why they're all over coffee houses, grocery stores, and everywhere in between!
However, the market for organic coffee is now also slowly growing. So, if you ever find the "certified organic" sticker labeled on the coffee you're buying, keep in mind that it's the option that's better for your health, the farming communities, and the planet. It's the option you can feel good about. And it's the option that can make a difference.