Coffee is a delicious, health-promoting beverage enjoyed around the world. However, unless you buy organic mold-free coffee, your coffee beans are likely contaminated with pesticide and herbicide residues, mold, and mycotoxins. Yikes!
Whether you’re recovering from mold illness and eating a low-mold diet or simply looking to optimize your health, it’s crucial that you choose organic mold-free coffee to avoid consuming harmful coffee contaminants. Read on to learn about the best organic low-mold coffee so you can enjoy your daily cup of coffee and optimize your health!
In This Article:
The Health Benefits of Coffee
For years, there’s been much debate in the health community about whether or not coffee is a healthy beverage. However, based on a growing body of high-quality scientific evidence, coffee is indeed a beverage with excellent health benefits!
Roasted coffee beans, which we use to brew coffee, contain thousands of natural compounds, including caffeine, chlorogenic acid, cafestol, and kahweol. (1) Many of these compounds offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, among other beneficial effects. (2, 3) Altogether, these compounds endow coffee with some distinct health benefits, including:
- Neuroprotective properties, meaning coffee consumption can help protect the brain. Coffee also appears to support memory and is associated with a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. (4)
- Improved metabolic health, including a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. (5) Coffee may support metabolic health by preserving healthy liver and beta-cell function (beta cells are cells in your pancreas that produce insulin).
- Improved cardiovascular health, including a lower risk of heart disease and abnormal heart rhythms. (6)
- Anti-cancer effects, including potential protective effects against colon cancer. (7)
Furthermore, research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that the most considerable chronic disease risk reduction from coffee consumption occurs when 3-4 cups of coffee are consumed daily. (8) This is excellent news for those who love coffee!
However, take this information with a grain of salt because the amount of coffee that is healthy and safe for your body may vary based on your unique health needs and stage of life. For example, if you are pregnant, consuming no more than one cup of coffee a day is recommended to keep your total caffeine intake below 200 mg daily. (9) If you experience increased anxiety when consuming caffeine, you may be better off avoiding coffee altogether.
Common Toxins in Coffee
Coffee beans are cultivated in hot, humid parts of the world, such as South America and Africa, so it is no wonder that they can grow mold and, subsequently, be contaminated with toxins produced by mold, known as mycotoxins. However, in addition to mold and mycotoxins, coffee beans can also be contaminated with pesticide and herbicide residues, acrylamide, and PAHs. Let’s discuss each of these toxins in turn.
Mold and Mycotoxins in Coffee
While the research demonstrates clear health benefits from coffee consumption, research also shows that coffee beans are frequently contaminated with pesticide and herbicide residues (if they are not grown organically), mold, and mycotoxins, which are toxic substances produced by mold.
For example, coffee beans from Mexico, one of the world’s foremost coffee growers, have been found to contain several types of mold, including Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus versicolor, and Byssochlamys spectabilis; each of these molds produces a mycotoxin called ochratoxin. (10) Penicillium is another toxic mold that commonly grows on coffee; it also produces ochratoxin and another mycotoxin called patulin. Aspergillus and Fusarium mold on coffee beans can also lead to the production of the mycotoxin aflatoxin. (11) Aflatoxin B1 (a sub-type of aflatoxin) is considered a probable carcinogen and may cause immune system dysfunction and intestinal damage. (12)
A single cup of coffee can contain high amounts of ochratoxin. (10) Ochratoxin is a mycotoxin that exerts adverse effects on the gut microbiota, even when consumed at low doses. (13) Ochratoxin also induces liver inflammation and can cross the blood-brain barrier and exert toxic effects on brain cells. (14, 15) Clearly, coffee-derived mycotoxins can exert some significant health impacts!
While some mold experts argue that mycotoxins ingested through food are not a cause for concern, I feel quite differently, primarily based on the findings that ochratoxin can directly impact the gut microbiota. We need a healthy gut microbiota to heal from chronic conditions like mold illness and build long-term health. If we continuously ingest foods contaminated with mycotoxins that hurt our gut health, we may fight an uphill battle toward recovery.
Pesticide and Herbicide Residues in Coffee
Are you drinking pesticides and herbicides in your morning cup of joe? If you’re not drinking organic coffee, the likely answer is “yes!” Unfortunately, non-organic coffee beans are heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides; residues from these chemicals can end up in your cup of coffee. This is why it is crucial to choose organic mold-free coffee.
Non-organic coffee beans are heavily treated with a harmful herbicide called glyphosate. (16, 17) In 2017, glyphosate was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as “probably carcinogenic” in humans! Glyphosate exposure also has DNA-damaging effects, disrupts the immune system, and damages the gut microbiota. (18) Besides glyphosate, other herbicides and pesticides applied to non-organic coffee beans include chlorpyrifos, permethrin, and deltamethrin. (19)
Other Toxins in Coffee
Besides mold, mycotoxins, pesticides, and herbicides, coffee beans can also be contaminated with acrylamide. This probable human carcinogen forms in carbohydrate-containing foods when heated to 250 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Interestingly, certain antioxidant compounds in the coffee bean “food matrix” may protect against the harmful effects of acrylamide. (20) Still, it is wise to choose coffee beans that have been roasted in ways that minimize acrylamide formation.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are another potential coffee contaminant in foods heated to very high temperatures, such as charred foods and dark roast coffee beans. (21) They are also considered probable human carcinogens. (22)
Purity Coffee, my favorite organic mold-free coffee brand, uses a smokeless roasting system to lower acrylamide levels in their coffee beans. This roasting method also reduces the risk of PAH formation.
In summary, choosing coffee grown with organic practices that are thoughtfully roasted may reduce your likelihood of being exposed to these other types of coffee contaminants.
My Favorite Brands of Organic Mold-Free Coffee
Ideally, we want to get the best of both worlds in our daily cup of coffee: All of the health benefits of coffee with no mold, mycotoxins, and pesticide or herbicide residues! Fortunately, several health-focused, innovative mold-free coffee companies have us covered!
I’m a coffee lover and a health nut and have spent years searching for mold-free coffee that is affordable, tastes good, and is a hit with my nutrition clients. These are the brands that I currently endorse:
Purity Coffee sells organic, mold-free, antioxidant-rich coffee that tastes delicious! I currently drink Purity Coffee daily; I even use their convenient coffee sachets when backpacking, camping, and mountaineering!
Purity Coffee only purchases green coffee beans (pre-roasted beans) that test free of ochratoxin and aflatoxin, another common mycotoxin found in coffee. The company also maintains strict environmental standards in its warehouses that inhibit the opportunity for mold growth and mycotoxin formation in the coffee beans.
Before I discovered Purity Coffee, I drank Bulletproof Coffee for many years. Bulletproof carefully selects coffee beans that test low in mycotoxins, such as ochratoxin. However, their beans are not certified organic, so I ultimately switched to Purity Coffee.
Despite not being certified organic, other pros of Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee Beans are that they’re widely available at Whole Foods and other health food stores. In contrast, Purity Coffee is only available online (at least, as of this writing).
A 12-ounce bag of Bulletproof Original medium-roast coffee beans currently costs $15.99, while a 12-ounce bag of Purity Coffee medium-roast coffee beans is $24.00, so Bulletproof is decidedly more affordable. However, purity Coffee may be the better choice if you are concerned about pesticide and herbicide residues in your coffee.
Lastly, Kion Coffee is a brand of organic mold-free coffee formulated by prominent health and fitness figure Ben Greenfield. On its website, Kion reports that its coffee is free of mold, mycotoxins, and pesticides. Kion also uses smokeless roasting technology, resulting in minimal acrylamide and PAHs. Compared with Purity Coffee, I could not find detailed information about other measures taken to minimize acrylamide and PAHs in Kion Coffee.
A 12-ounce bag of Kion medium-roast coffee is $21.95 as of this writing, so it’s right between Purity and Bulletproof as far as affordability goes.
I drank Kion coffee briefly between switching from Bulletproof to Purity Coffee a couple of years ago. Kion coffee is delicious! However, I ultimately changed to Purity Coffee because of the rigor with which Purity coffee tests its beans for contaminants and the measures they take to preserve the powerful antioxidants in its coffee beans.
If you love coffee and value your health, it is essential that you drink organic mold-free coffee. Choosing organic mold-free coffee can minimize exposure to harmful molds, mycotoxins, pesticides, and herbicides. Furthermore, purchasing coffee beans from a company that carefully roasts their beans can reduce your exposure to other coffee contaminants, such as acrylamide and PAHs.
While Purity Coffee is the most expensive organic mold-free coffee I’ve tried, you really get what you pay for when you purchase it! Purity Coffee is delicious, doesn’t give me the “jitters” that I experience when drinking other types of coffee, and I feel confident knowing that I’m not consuming toxins in my cup of coffee!
Please note that I am an affiliate for some of the products I’ve linked to in this post. If you click the link here and make a purchase, I may earn a commission, at no extra cost to you.