Coffee has gotten a bad rap for numerous negative side affects including sweats, glitters, overly acidic, and gut challenges to mention a few. All these side affects are of toxic coffee, not quality coffee. Chances are you’ve never had quality coffee as 95% of all coffee beans sold worldwide are low quality and loaded with toxins and mold… Coffee beans aren’t actually beans, they are seeds of berries from the Coffea plant, and they are green!
Let’s get started on everything important about coffee you want to know: mold is normal, beans are graded based on quality and imperfections, fair trade vs direct trade, nutritional benefits, differnt decaffeination processes.
It has become a common misconception is that coffee gives us gitters, or sweats… the correlation commonly and incorrectly tied to caffeine, but other caffeine rich products including tea, and high quality coffee beans don’t have the same side effects…
These undesirable effects are actually mycotoxins aka mold. They thrive in damp and humid conditions (which are essential for most coffee growers).
Mycotoxins are most prevalent in low quality coffee beans grown in lower elevations, with higher humidity and “processed naturally” (sounds good right) by allowing the beans to sit outside longer further exposing them to the humid, mold growing conditions.
Coffee beans grown at higher elevations and roasted immediately are less likely to be exposed or grow mycotoxins.
Beans are graded on quality, imperfections, growing conditions, color, aroma, deformities, mold, mildew, moisture content, and processing method.
There are two processing methods; picked by hand or picked by machine. When beans are picked with a machine they tend to accumulate additional materials including pebbles, wood, and insects. Quality coffee beans picked by hand only contain the coffee beans.
Coffee gets Graded
Before any coffee is sold it is classified by the number of defects, size, and cup quality. The defect count is supposed to give a general idea of the quality of the cup.
Grade 1: Specialty Grade: no primary defects, 0-3 full defects, must be free of faults and taints. Zero quakers allowed.
Grade 2: Premium Grade: 8 full defects allowed with 3 quakers.
Grade 3: Exchange Grade: 9-23 full defects, 5 quakers.
Grade 4: Standard Grade: 24-86 full defects.
Grade 5: Off Grade: More than 86 full defects.
Quackers give coffee a sour, astringent and often rancid taste. Think Starbucks, and even better… Folgers.
Quality coffee conneseaurs roast beans to medium roasted, you get the full flavor and nutritional benefits of the bean. Low quality beans are dark roasted aka burned, because once they are burned it is difficult to determine the quality if they had been properly roasted.
All burned beans taste the same: burned and bitter. You can tell when beans are burned because they take on a black color, and appear oily.
Fair trade vs. Direct trade
Fair trade in coffee production is similar to minimum wage in employment. Fair Trade guarantees farmers a minimum price, it is the lowest pay that is found to be acceptable on a worldwide scale. Basic standards are set by third parties and require farms pay $10,000 annually to be eligible. Farms that participate are usually larger and produce on a massive scale with the help of machines and pesticides. Some choose to pay the large fees required to be USDA certified Organic, even though it is a lower quality bean the label is very attractive to many people. All these additional fees get passed to the consumer. These beans are massively produced and typically get classified as grade 3, 4, or 5.
In direct trade the farmers and roasters have strong relationships and work closely as both are highly invested in the quality of coffee. Standards are typically higher; they are smaller farms, working directly with the beans to create the highest quality possible. They are typically organic, as they can’t afford the pricey pesticides or the organic label. These beans take significantly more time invested and result in higher quality, usually falling into grade 1 or 2.
This inforgraphic should help with any confusion.
Did you know quality coffee is a high-antioxidant food and one of the leading contributors of disease-fighting antioxidants in the American diet. It can reduce inflammation, the root cause of most diseases. Coffee beans contains Vitamin B2, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium, and Manganese.
Quality Coffee is linked to many benefits:
High Source of Antioxidants. It’s a natural anti-aging beverage, with potentially more antioxidant activity than cocoa or even some forms of tea. Quality coffee contains 70 percent of the total amount of antioxidants recommended our nutritional needs. While you should consume mostly whole foods, quality coffee is a great addition.
Coffee is effective at fighting free radical damage as antioxidants increase in the blood. These antioxidants can attribute to higher immunity, and lower rates of oxidative stress.
- Healthy liver function
- Increased physical performance
- Elevated brain function
- Protection against neurodegenerative diseases
- Improved heart health
- Cancer protection
- Ability to fight depression (obviously)
- Increased energy and concentration
- Improved asthma
- lower risk of gastrointestinal diseases
- Diabetes protection
Coffee beans are always decaffeinated in their green, naturally raw state. The challenge is separating the caffeine from the coffee beans while leaving the other minerals at their original concentrations when they are roasted. Coffee contains somewhere around 1000 components that are important to the taste and wonderfully complex elixir. There are several different methods used that can make coffee relatively decaffeinated.
The most common method is a solvent based process in which the caffeine is removed either directly or indirectly by soaking the beans directly in a chemical solvent. The list of solvents include benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE) dichloromethane and even chloroform. While many of these chemicals are considered toxic for consumption, the FDA believes that the toxins would not survive the roasting process. Personally I think this is incredibly unhealthy and avoid decaffeinated coffee processed in this manner.
I prefer and recommend decaffeinated coffee that uses the Swiss Water Process. It is chemical-free, certified organic, and Kosher. This process begins by soaking beans in very hot water to dissolve the caffeine. The water is drawn off and passed through an activated charcoal filter. This method is commonly used for organic decaf, high end or specialty coffees.
All decaffeinating process’s alter the natural state of the bean and can be difficult to create a tasty and consistent decaffeinated coffee. Overall the quality of bean, and type of roast you buy is going to have the most impact on taste. Avoid dark roasts, or oily beans.
Beans Gone Bad
Coffee begin to lose freshness almost immediately after roasting. The beans begin off gassing immediately and are best used after 3 days, before 10 days for espresso, and before 21 days for all other brewing methods. As the beans off gas the flavors and aroma develops. A cup from day 1 and day 20 from the same batch may taste like completely different coffee due to this natural process. If coffee is consumed too soon after roasting, even a quality coffee may end up tasting generic. After 24 hours the character and details have developed and you can notice the difference between bean origins.
The “shelf life” of a coffee bean is approximately 10 to 21 days, yet the majority of coffee companies sell their beans for up to 12 months… Thus the dramatic price difference in the high quality coffee which are fresh, mold-less, and nutrient dense.
Buy freshly roasted whole bean coffee frequently in small batches, buying only what you will use in the next week or or two. Never freeze you beans. Coffee beans are absorbent and take on moisture, odors, and tastes of it’s surroundings. Only grind your coffee beans immediately before use. Pre ground beans don’t stay fresh as long because more surface area is exposed. Your beans’ greatest enemies are air, moisture, heat, and light. Store your beans in a dark, air tight location.
It’s easy to determine quality coffee because the label will contain 3 items on a label (so you know what to look for):
- Roast Date
- Valve on your coffee bag
- Farm or bean origin
Freshly roasted coffee beans give off twice their volume in carbon dioxide, the valve allows the nitrogen gas, moisture and oxygen to be purged.
To make you’re life super easy you can buy Hug in a Mug Coffee, which happens to be the top 1% of all beans produced. It is the highest quality you can buy.
Because coffee beans are absorbent; they will take on flavors surrounding it. Low quality, massively produced beans are typically stored in burlap bags on cargo ships also carrying other materials, sometimes chemicals. They are then stored in large warehouses absorbing more chemicals, flavors, and air pollutants surrounding it.
Quality coffee while stored in burlap sacks is also secured in airtight containers to prevent any quality loss. Because quality and freshness are demanded in quality coffee they ship direct to roaster and avoid massive shipping and storage methods.
There are lots of great coffee companies and local coffee shops where quality matters. If you’re getting the jittery sweats, it’s time to take the toxins out of your coffee.
Buy the best coffee bean. Naturally, the quality starts at the source. Quality coffee will give you energy, stimulate your metabolism with thermogenic qualities, increase cellular movement, mobilize fat, and promote healthy weight.
Personal studies also show people who drink coffee are more likely to be awesome 😉