Best Organic & Mold Free Coffee: 2022 Review

I am sharing all about organic coffee today! And honestly, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I used to think buying organic coffee was enough. But when I started learning more about coffee and all the certifications that can go with it I discovered I needed to go beyond organic and look for the best mold free coffee too. 

 

If this is a new concept to you, that may sound a little crazy. But I am sharing exactly what you need to look for, why you should even be concerned about it and (of course) the best mold and mycotoxin free coffee brands. And I have LOVED testing some of the top brands so I can share which ones my team and I think are the standouts. 

 

*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.  This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company.  I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly.  If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product. 

*Suzi (Gurl Gone Green) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

 

Why is it important to choose an organic coffee brand?

 

So, first things first. I want to discuss why it is so important to choose an organic coffee brand.

 

According to the National Coffee Association’s National Coffee Data Trends survey, 44% of those that drink coffee are more likely or even much more likely to buy coffee that is certified as organic. 

 

But the big question is why?! Well, if the coffee brand carries the USDA Organic Certification it has had a lot of care taken to ensure the best quality coffee bean is delivered to the consumer. If you aren’t familiar with the organic standards it is worth reading up on. But, with coffee, the main takeaway with the organic label is that

 

It has been grown on soil that has had none of the prohibited substances (synthetic fertilizers and pesticides) for 3 years

 

Research shows that pesticides have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, cognitive problems and behavioral problems. And when you consider that coffee bean crops are one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world along with the fact that most of us are drinking AT LEAST one cup of coffee per day (if not more) then the need to choose organic becomes so much more obvious.

 

 

What to look for when choosing the cleanest, healthiest coffee

 

That’s right, coffee can be healthy! It’s so great when something you enjoy can also be good for your body when consumed in moderation. 

 

Moderate intake of coffee (2-5 cups per day) has been linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and depression.

 

Roasted coffee contains a mixture of over 1000 bioactive compounds, which brings about these, and so many more, health benefits to the coffee drinker! 

 

Knowing that there are health benefits that come with my morning cup of coffee makes it taste even better!

 

 

Which coffee beans are the best?

This is where things get a little confusing. So, even if you have picked an organic brand of coffee, there are still a few farming practices that will make the coffee even better. You want to look for coffee beans that have met the following criteria:

  • USDA Organic (free of pesticides and chemicals)
  • Shade farmed at a high altitude
  • Mold & Mycotoxin FREE – 3rd Party tested

 

That’s right. Even if you have gone to the work to purchase an organic brand of coffee it could still be contaminated with mold.  Why?!  Typically it’s a result of farming, storing, processing or transport practices.

 

I think most know what mold is (a fungus), but a mycotoxin is what mold produces and can be found on certain foods – this includes coffee!

 

Mycotoxins can cause a variety of health effects that can range from acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer.

 

A variety of studies that at random tested commercially available coffee did find mycotoxins in 26.6% and 45% of the brands. So, yes, these mycotoxins are going to be in coffee, but without testing you can’t know for sure which brands do and don’t have them.

 

Some will argue that the levels of mycotoxins aren’t high enough in coffee to be of concern. But, as with everything I bring into my home, consume, or put on my skin, I always consider if it is contributing to my toxic load. I do believe daily consumption of coffee that has mycotoxins will contribute to a higher toxic load and that is why I avoid it!

 

So with coffee beans being easily contaminated with mold and mycotoxins, it makes sense that you would want to pick a brand that has not only claimed to be free of mold/mycotoxins but has been 3rd party tested AND makes their testing publicly available. So, that’s where 3rd party certifications jumps into the mix.

 

Just some of the certifications you might see on your coffee bag.

 

 

What 3rd party certifications should I be looking for in a coffee brand?

 

There are quite a few 3rd party certifications to look for when choosing from all of the coffee brands on the market. These 3rd party certifications will ensure that a brand isn’t just making claims of being a ‘clean coffee brand’ but rather they are living up to those claims. Here are some of the main 3rd party certifications you will want to know about:

  • Rainforest Alliance CertifiedThis may not be certified organic but it does help to preserve the overall biodiversity of the coffee, sustainable living conditions, business practices and consumer relationships. It works with the natural ecosystem so harsh chemicals don’t have to be used. 
  • Bird FriendlyThis is another certification that you can be sure is also checking for pesticide residue.  This seal was created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Bird Friendly is the strictest of third party standards for the environment.  The certifying body requires that you first meet the organic standard requirements and then that they meet requirements for forest habitats for birds and other animals. 
  • UTZ is another certification that is similar to Rainforest Alliance.  It’s not necessarily organic but it does work with the natural ecosystem so harsh chemicals are not used.
  • Fair Trade means a product has met social, economic and environmental standards. This includes safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihood and community development funds.
  • Specialty Grade are coffee beans grown in ideal climates, picked under the correct conditions, with no defect in the bean shape or quality as well as scoring an 80 or above on a scale that goes up to 100 when put through rigorous testing.

 

I think it’s important to realize the care that is taken by brands who have earned these certifications. They are certainly not taking the easy road. It’s also easy to see why you may have to spend a little more to purchase coffee from a brand that has earned these certifications.

 

I also think that if you are buying from a smaller brand and they don’t necessarily have all the certifications, you need to realize that it is probably quite expensive to achieve certification in all these areas. It may not be within their budget even if they are using, for instance, organic practices. Go with what you are comfortable with! 

 

I love that I can still find a decaf coffee that tastes so good!

 

Is decaf coffee still considered a healthy coffee?

 

As someone who drinks decaf coffee because I don’t handle caffeine well, this is especially important to me. The most common ways to make decaffeinated coffee are to soak green coffee beans in some sort of solvent – most typically methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. That’s right, the same chemicals that can be used as paint thinners, degreasers or nail polish removers are what coffee beans are being soaked in. I am definitely not interested in ingesting coffee that has been soaked in any of those toxic chemicals. Thankfully there are more natural ways to get a decaffeinated coffee!

 

The Swiss Water Method uses only water, temperature, and time to gently remove caffeine, while preserving all the coffee’s original characteristics.

 

Plus, using some of the previously mentioned chemicals can even alter the taste of your coffee, whereas the Swiss Water Method won’t!

 

One more interesting note on caffeine in coffee is that the caffeine actually is protective when it comes to mold growing on the coffee and can inhibit its growth and development. So, as someone who has to drink decaf, it makes it even more important that I choose a brand that tests for mold and mycotoxins!

 

Care of coffee beans and how you make your coffee can make such a difference in how it tastes!

 

Tips for Making the Best Cup of Coffee at Home

 

Once you have invested in an organic coffee, you want to get the most out of it. Meaning, you want the best flavor! So here are my tips and tricks I have picked up over the years to really ensure you are getting the most out of your coffee:

  • Store you coffee beans in an airtight container. Keep away from light, heat, moisture and odors. Don’t freeze or refrigerate opened coffee.
  • Go the extra mile and choose whole bean over ground coffee, it’s always going to taste fresher in the long run.
  • Grind your coffee beans right before making your coffee. 
  • How you choose to brew your coffee will determine how coarse or fine your coffee should be ground. Simply put, if you choose a slower brewing method you will need a more coarse grind versus a faster brewing method you will require a more fine grind. 
  • Use filtered water. 

 

See my Post on Filtered Water to learn why you ALWAYS want to use filtered water, not just when you are making coffee.

 

  • If you have an espresso machine, opt for espresso beans.
  • Start by using 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per cup of coffee (you can then tailor this to your preference. Add more if you like a bolder tasting cup of coffee and vice versa)
  • Keep your coffee brewing equipment clean! If you are buying organic (mold free) coffee…don’t use unwashed or unmaintained equipment to make it in.

 

 

 

Gurl Gone Green Team’s Picks for Top 7 Mold & Mycotoxin Free Coffee Brands

 

Purity Coffee has been a favorite of mine for years!

 

Purity Coffee

 

About the Brand: Purity aims to maximize the health benefits of coffee for you, the consumer. And through their high standards they have done just that! 

 

When they tested over 100 different coffee brands, Purity Coffee came out the highest in antioxidant levels with their coffee averaging 65% higher than the other organic coffee brands that were tested.

 

Price: $24 for 12 oz bag

Roast Options: Original (Medium) and Dark (whole bean only)

Decaf: Yes! (Swiss Water Process)

Sourcing: High-altitude, Arabica beans (Indonesia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Brazil) from farms that utilize regenerative farming techniques

Certifications: USDA Organic, Specialty Grade, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Smithsonian Bird Friendly, Demeter Biodynamic Certified, beyond Fair Trade (typically they pay 3X or more for their coffee than the average Fair Trade coffee due to its superior quality)

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Available on their website.  Each batch of coffee beans is tested multiple times throughout the supply chain. When I emailed, I was given their most recent testing available. 

 

Gurl Gone Green Team’s Review:

 

Suzi– This coffee is literally so good!  I remember trying it for the first time several years ago and finally getting what all the fuss was about.  As someone who doesn’t handle caffeine well, I’m always on the lookout for a clean decaf.  This is hands down the best decaf coffee I’ve ever had.  It doesn’t taste watered down but smooth and full bodied.  I’ve recommended it so many times to people and I get the same response, “This is the best decaf coffee I’ve ever had!”  I couldn’t agree more. 

Suzi’s Hubs– Hands down his favorite!  He loved how smooth and almost creamy it tasted even without any cream or milk- he just drinks his coffee black.  The beans had even been sitting in our cupboard over a month!  He loves the dark roast.

Becky– Suzi sent me Purity Coffee’s Medium Roast last year to try. While I had thought of myself as a bit of a coffee snob prior to trying Purity, I realized after trying it that I actually wasn’t! I had no idea that I needed to look beyond an organic label. And to top it off, Purity’s medium roast is definitely the smoothest, best flavored medium roast of the ones I tried. Every other coffee brand that I sampled I would immediately compare to Purity’s. It is really the best!

 

Shop Purity Coffee HERE and use code GURLGONEGREEN to save 20% off your order (new customers only)!

 

You can read my full Purity Coffee review here!

 

The Dark Roast from Natural Force was a favorite amongst the team

 

Natural Force

 

About the Brand: Natural Force was founded in 2009 by 2 friends that were on a mission. They began by making supplements you could trust  – no unnecessary fillers, synthetic colors or anything artificial with a focus on herbs and superfoods. Since, their business has evolved to include more than just supplements. This includes coffee of course! They strive to have effective, easy to use products that are tested for quality and purity. And to finish it off, these high quality products are delivered to you in non-toxic and eco-friendly packaging. They have thought of it all!

Price: $24.99 for 12 oz bag

Roast Options: Medium and Dark (whole bean only)

Decaf: Yes! (Swiss Water Process)

Sourcing: Arabica beans from a Rainforest Alliance certified farm (Columbia)

Certifications: Certified B Corp, USDA Organic, Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Single Origin, Direct Trade 

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Available on their website here and here. (tested annually or when a new crop is selected) 

 

Gurl Gone Green Team’s Review:

 

Suzi– I tried their Decaf Medium Roast and it’s not as strong as some of the other decaf coffees I tried.  However, still really good flavor for a decaf.  It has low acidity so wondering if that plays into the overall lower strength of the coffee.  Not my favorite but I would drink it again.

Suzi’s Hubs– He tried the Natural Force Dark Roast and Medium Roast.  He preferred their Dark Roast.  He actually went through the whole bag and loved it!  He said it hit all the marks from smoothness to overall rich flavor.  

Becky: I got to try Natural Force’s Medium, Dark and Decaf. This is the only brand that I tried Decaf or Dark Roast, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. BUT, the dark roast was my favorite out of any of the coffees I tried and my husband 100% agreed with me. The flavor was so bold and rich there was really no comparison to the light/medium roasts I tried of the other brands. I know that isn’t comparing apples to apples but I did have to comment how good it was! As far as the Natural Force’s medium roast, this too was very good. The thing I noticed was how smooth and balanced the flavor was.  

 

Get Natural Force Here!

 

Bulletproof is a more budget friendly coffee brand

 

Bulletproof

 

About the Brand: This is definitely a more mainstream brand that I assume many have heard of. Bulletproof Coffee was all the craze years ago – this included a mix of coffee, MCT oil and grassfed butter. The brand has more than clean coffee though, they also offer keto friendly snacks and supplements.

Price: $15.99 for 12 oz. bag

Roast Options: Light, Medium, Medium-Dark, Dark (whole bean and ground)

Decaf: Yes! (Swiss Water Process)

Sourcing: 100% Arabica beans come from coffee farms in Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala that are Rainforest Alliance Certified farms

Certifications: Passively Organic (meets organic standards but not certified)

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Unfortunately there is no access to their testing for mold/mycotoxins. When I reached out to Bulletproof I was told this is “considered proprietary and/or information our Care Desk cannot access or share out.” However I was also told that they test the final product for mycotoxins and incorporate very strict standards for the finished product in regard to mycotoxins.

 

Gurl Gone Green Team’s Review:

 

Suzi– I had read so much about Bulletproof coffee and was excited to finally try it out. I tried the Original Decaf.  It wasn’t as strong as I like my coffee to be.  Overall there just wasn’t that much flavor to the coffee.  It tasted more watered down to me, instead of a full bodied coffee that I like. 

Suzi’s Hubs– He tried the Bulletproof Medium Roast and really liked it.  He said it wasn’t overpowering, just a good cup of coffee all around. Not the strongest but also not the weakest. He would drink it again.

Becky: I tried Bulletproof’s Light and Medium Roast. I agree with Suzi in that it was a weaker tasting coffee than the others, with a more watered down flavor. That being said, had I not been able to test out all of these other brands, I probably wouldn’t have noticed this as much. Although not a top pick for me, I would drink it again.

 

Get your Bulletproof Coffee here! 

 

Peak Performance meets many of the 3rd party certifications while still having a more affordable price tag

 

Peak Performance

 

About the Brand: Peak Performance was founded after its owner suffered from pain and inflammation throughout his body. He realized what he put in his body actually mattered and he put the focus of his brand on 3rd party testing his high quality products that are whole foods based and organic whenever possible. Peak Performance not only has high quality coffee but also supplements, protein powders, etc.

Price: $21.75 for 12 oz. bag

Roast Options: Medium and Dark Roast (whole bean and ground)

Decaf: Yes! (Swiss Water Process)

Sourcing: Guatemalan Highlands

Certifications: USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Single Origin

Mold Testing and Lab Results: As of the date of publishing this post, I wasn’t able to get their lab results although they do say they are 3rd party tested. If I do receive the lab results I will update here!

 

Gurl Gone Green Team’s Review:

 

Suzi- I tried their Decaf Whole Bean Coffee.  It tasted very acidic to me and bitter, not smooth at all.  It had the flavor of an instant coffee in my opinion and not the richness and quality taste I crave with my coffee.  The price is more budget friendly than other brands, so this might be a good option if you’re wanting to get a truly clean coffee but save some money.

Suzi’s Hubs- Not his favorite cup of coffee, definitely not strong.  It was more bitter, and had a zing to it at the end of the flavor he said, wasn’t smooth.  It was ok, but he preferred the other coffee brands.

Becky: I tried Peak Performance’s Medium Roast. The first time I tried it, it was not my favorite. But, I definitely wanted to give it another chance so I tweaked how much I used for coffee grounds (I ended up using more than I initially had) and I really liked it! I would agree that it had a slightly more acidic flavor ( I am thinking their roasts are generally lighter than the other brands) to it, but overall I really enjoyed it.  

 

Get your Peak Performance Coffee here!

 

Lifeboost has SO MANY options for roasts and flavors!

 

Lifeboost

 

About the Brand: Founded by chiropractor Dr. Charles Livingston. With his high level of knowledge in nutrition, he was well versed in the concept of ‘garbage in equals garbage out.’ Meaning what we put in our body matters! So, he was on a mission to create the highest quality of coffee. 

Price: $34.95 per 12 oz bag (Subscribe and Save will take 30% off this price or scroll down for my code for 20% off!)

Roast Options: Light, Medium, Dark, Espresso, Midnight, Flavored (whole bean and ground)

Decaf: Yes! (Swiss Water Process)

Sourcing: Single Origin, 100% Arabica Bean from Central America

Certifications: USDA Organic (this includes the Light, Medium, Dark, Espresso and Midnight roasts as they are working on getting their flavored roasts certified)

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Available upon request. They test each time they get a batch of green coffee beans from their farmers (1-2x per year). I received last year’s test results as they should be receiving their newest test results very soon!

 

Gurl Gone Green Team’s Review:

 

Suzi– I was SO excited to try Lifeboost’s Decaf Coffee!  I had never come across a clean “flavored” coffee until finding Lifeboost.  Not only that but they have so many clean flavored options for decaf coffee- sign me up!  Typically flavored coffees have artificial flavorings and are anything but clean.  However, Lifeboost uses natural flavoring and essential oils to flavor their flavored coffee.  I tried the Decaf Hazelnut Coffee and Decaf French Vanilla Coffee. I love having a flavored coffee in the afternoon with a little coconut milk- so good!  I also tried their Decaf Dark Roast and love it!  Such a low acidity overall with a smooth taste.  It really hits the spot in the mornings.  Lifeboost is really next level when it comes to their sourcing and standards.  They not only deliver on flavor but also are squeaky clean!

Suzi’s Hubs– He tried the Lifeboost Espresso, Dark Roast Embolden and Medium Roast.  He loved the Espresso.  Very smooth and rich tasting, really bold flavor overall.  Great by itself or in a latte.  The Embolden Dark Roast was also a hit with him.  A strong flavor overall, slightly bitter with a medium smoothness to it.  The Medium Roast wasn’t definitely a lot less bold compared to the Dark Roast and mild.  He didn’t love it.

Becky: I tried out Lifeboost’s Light and Medium Roast coffee. Overall, I thought both were very mellow in flavor with a smooth taste. The Medium Roast didn’t have as much bold flavor as I would have liked and compared to others I tried. The Light Roast was the best of the two light roasts I tried.    

 

Get your Lifeboost Coffee here and use code GGG20 to get 20% off your order!

 

Kicking Horse is the most budget friendly option that was tested

 

Kicking Horse

 

About the Brand:  Kicking Horse is a Canadian Brand that has been around for quite some time. And when we were on the hunt for what brands we wanted to test, we came across Kicking Horse and knew we wanted to test it due to it’s affordable pricing and because it’s easy to access.   

Price:$11.99 for 10 oz. bag (when purchased directly off their website)

Roast Options: Light, Medium & Dark (ground and whole bean)

Decaf: Yes! (Swiss Water Process)

Sourcing: 100% Arabica Beans from South America, Central America, Africa and Indonesia

Certifications: USDA Organic, Fair Trade

Mold Testing and Lab Results: They report their testing has always been negative to mold, bacteria and yeast. However, when I requested the most recent testing, I was never given it.

 

Gurl Gone Green Team’s Review:

 

Suzi: I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved the Kicking Horse Decaf Dark Roast Coffee!  The problem with a lot of decafs is you don’t get the full bodied flavor and they often taste watered down compared to a regular cup of coffee. Not the case with Kicking Horse Decaf.  It definitely has the full bodied flavor. It doesn’t taste weak at all, but like a true dark roast coffee.  I really love how I don’t feel like I’m compromising on flavor when I drink this decaf coffee.  It’s good with some coconut milk (or cream) or by itself black.

Suzi’s Hubs– He tried the Kicking Horse Espresso and thought it was ok.  He said it was average overall, had more of a bite at the end and slightly bitter.  

Becky: I am 100% with Suzi on this one. I too was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the Kicking Horse Coffee. I tried their Smart Ass and Three Sisters (both are considered medium roasts). I preferred the Three Sisters of the two. What is unique about it is that it is a mix of light, medium and dark roast beans. The resulting flavor was smooth and savory. Even better, I love that this brand is easily available at Target or on Amazon and of course it is a budget friendly option!

 

Get your Kicking Horse Coffee here!

 

Kion Coffee was a brand I had tested years ago and wanted to make sure to include in our top picks!

 

Kion

 

About the Brand: Kion is a brand that is all about enhancing your natural energy. They target the causes of low energy and provide support through research backed products made with the cleanest ingredients. And, this is all done without an artificial boost of energy followed by a crash.

Price: $26.95 for 12 oz. bag

Roast Options: Medium & Dark (whole bean and ground)

Decaf: Yes! (Mountain Water Process)

Sourcing: 100% Arabica Beans from Costa Rica and Nicaragua

Certifications: USDA Organic, Fair Trade

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Per Kion, their coffee is 3rd party tested for and free of mold and mycotoxins and highest in antioxidant levels of any other coffee on the market. However, they do not share the testing results publicly.

 

 Gurl Gone Green Team’s Review:

 

Suzi: I had tried Kion coffee a year or so ago and knew I liked it but wanted to try it again to really compare flavors.  I got their decaf of course.  I really like how smooth it is and strong for a decaf.  It still has a little more acidic flavor though compared to the smoothness and richness of the Purity Decaf.  However, if I just had this anywhere I would be really impressed!

Suzi’s Husband: He tried the Kion Dark Roast and loved it.  He does pour over with a Chemex and loved how smooth and rich the flavor was.  He also does black coffee. 

Becky: The Kion Medium Roast was very smooth and balanced. It was similar to the Natural Force medium roast in my opinion, which I enjoyed both! I actually noted how fragrant this brand was (which I love). I made it in the morning and came back hours later and I could still smell the coffee aroma. That may not be for everyone, but I really liked it!

 

Get your Kion Coffee here and use code GGG for 10% off your order! 

 

Which organic coffee brand is the best?

 

Each brand really offers something unique. With the quality of each brand, you really can’t go wrong with any of these. I am going to share my team’s top picks for a few categories, so depending on what you are looking for, this may help guide you. 

 

**Of course we all have different palates, so what the team liked may not be right for you***

 

  1. Best Decaf: Purity Decaf Coffee
  2. Best Light Roast: LifeBoost Optimist Light Roast
  3. Best Medium Roast: Purity Coffee Original Roast
  4. Best Dark Roast: Purity Dark Roast
  5. Best Budget Friendly: Kicking Horse
  6. Best Flavored Coffee: LifeBoost Flavored Coffee

 

Conclusion: Is organic coffee that is mold & mycotoxin free necessary?

 

I do think organic coffee that is mold and mycotoxin free is necessary.  Since most people consume coffee daily, if not more, it’s really important to make sure and choose an organic, mold and mycotoxin free coffee.  Otherwise you could be consuming loads of pesticides and harmful chemicals daily, which add up overtime.  As I always say, it’s not the thing you do once that makes a difference, but the thing you repeatedly do over and over that adds up.  Ditch the toxic load of conventional coffee and snag one of these clean brands instead!

 

 

What’s your favorite mold and mycotoxin free coffee?

 

Cheers, Suzi

Suzi

Suzi is a wife, and mama who is passionate about sharing her natural lifestyle with those around her. She created Gurl Gone Green to show how our everyday decisions, from what we use on our face, home and the food we eat affect us more than we know. She loves holding space where people can weed through the marketing clutter to find truth, and ultimately make the best decision for their families.

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