Organic Coffee Beans??


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Aug 18, 2010
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Hey all,

I'm really interested in organic coffee or espresso beans, but I am not sure what the real difference could be. I've yet to try it, but I've stumbled on some sites of coffee producers who sell organic beans...

Anyways, I'm just wondering if anyone's had a chance to try organic coffee beans, and if there is any noticable flavor differences...
Hi Gary,

For me choosing coffee has more to do with the country of origin, the roast, the blend and so forth. If you like a nice dark roast, go for the espresso. Espresso is my favorite so I am biased a bit. The organic would be fine too depending on what you like. All that an organic coffee bean will do for you is to let you know that it was grown under very strict conditions that control how the coffee is grown. The USDA has a lot of good information on its website as to what can be called or certified as organic. If you are looking to try different types of gourmet coffee beans, there is an excellent thread in this section of the forum. The title is "Where to find good coffee beans online" by coffeeforlife. Everybody and their cousin chipped in with advice on that one and they came up with some excellent results as there are a number of great companies listed. Happy hunting!
Just curious as to why some think espresso should roasted to a "darker" level. My roaster told me most coffeeshops they roast for order the same boring dark, oily beans time and time again because they think it "should" be that way. He then went on to tell me what I order from him is his lightest roast level for espresso. He appreciates customers that go out on a limb such as I do as it adds excitement to what he does. To me and our business it's way more than "just a cup of coffee..."

As a roaster he also told me he's never seen a noticeable difference in the cup when comparing organic to non-organic. He said it is very costly for coffee farmers to go the 100% certified route as well and what he buys is at least 95% organic and that is good enough for me. Maybe even closer to 100%, but it simply makes very little to no difference.

One last thing... if you do seek out certified organic coffee do it justice with proper preparation at home. Don't bastardize it (or any other coffee) with a blade "grinder", etc. Later!
Agreed. Roast is roast, Espresso is a kind of coffee... and usually a blend of 2-3 robusto beans. Not that you cannot make espresso with your favorite arabica bean, but why would you want to?

If you want an organic bean, look for that designation on the bag. Also Rainforest, Bird Friendly, but make sure the credentials are justified and not BS, just like Fair Trade. And while we are at it, check out my latest blog on the subject if you want

Not to nitpick but espresso is a specific brew method and I tell my customers that quite often. Of course any bean can be used for any brew method... some are better suited for espresso, some for drip/press, etc.

I also get asked how about the difference between espresso beans and regular coffee beans...

One more thing in trying to educate the public. We don't keep decaf drip onhand often except for larger events. So I simply offer decaf Americanos instead. That is fine for most people until they ask what it is. When I mention decaf espresso diluted they ask how can espresso possibly be decaf? The fun continues.... Later!
Can I throw in my two cents?

Agreed, any coffee CAN be brewed into a shot of espresso. And there are some who think that robusta beans improve the crema and intensify the flavor. However, just cruise around the floor of an SCAA show, and there are bunches of roasters pulling shots and giving them away, each with their own proprietary espresso blends, many of which use darker roasted beans, but not necessarily all. Many blends have no robusta.

We have adjusted our espresso blend over the years...tried robusta in the blend for a while, and then removed it.

The Beanery Coffee Roasters
I have two blends. One is for milk based drinks and is darker. I also have a lighter roast espresso designed for super auto machines and is best without milk. Neither of these espressos have robusta beans in them...they also have amazing crema :wink:
Am I the lone horse here that uses only SO for espresso? I find it a challenge to pull as much flavor/defined notes from a SO than simply relying on a blend to be easier to work with. Guess arguments can be had either way.

I'm also not a fan of robusta and the roasters I've spoken with don't care for it either.

I have tried several blends over the years. Had one blended especially for our business. Loved the taste as it was 70% Brazil Ipanema, 20% Ethiopia Sidamo and 10% Sumatra. Problem is the darker Sumatra seemed to age quicker than the two lighter components of the blend and seemed to taint the batch too quickly. The roaster said he'd be glad to keep tweaking it until I had what I wanted, but for now I returned to the tried and true SO Brazil. Later!
I totally stand corrected and learned something new. Sounds like Sumatra Organic or the equivalent is the way to go. Thanks!
Coffee is one of - if not the most - sprayed crops in the world. Large growers use infinite amounts of poison to combat pests and diseases that coffee is prone to. Your best bet to get organic beans is directly with a small, independent farm with single-source beans. Keywords are "shade-grown" and "songbird friendly" - and if you can find "sun-dried", that's even better.
Songbird friendly? That's a new one. Bird Friendly must be approved by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington D.C. Once they blast you for improperly using the words (ask me as I have learned the hard way), they are people friendly, informative and reasonable.

Here is information about it:

I used the words in my first round of coffees because I had a bird painting on my Sumatra Organic, Fair Trade coffee. Silly me. They could have made my life truly miserable. But we got along great and the guy liked my coffee when I sent him some. I did not choose to use Bird Friendly as the process and cost was too high.

To get back on the Organic,

I am not a Pure veggie person, and eat Plenty of Meat, and respect others who don"t
But, any meat, produce, or any kind of plant life grown with Chemicals in it,
not to mention, the Complete lack of checking for it in some foreign Countries.

Leads me to believe that yes even, Coffee roasted at high temps, may still have a
hint of some chemical trace in it, however little or high.
How strong may depend on, if there is an infestation problem, or if the chemical
has been cut.

As I hold several lic, in the chemical field. Factors could be, to stimulate growing
and or cycles, of simply eradication. Some use the good old powerful stuff, shipped
down from here, now banned, and available there at basement prices.

Others choose not to use chemicals, and grow Organic, while some simply are
from poor regions and can not afford to buy chemical treatments, or Ferts.

One thing we must not forget, is in many cases, Organic Coffee can be found at fantastic prices,
and Supports the little Farmers, small Family Farms, that need the help of the Coffee community
where possible. These are hard working folks, who do produce some of the Worlds finest
Beans. They will be lost to the coyotes and others who prey upon them, and force them
to sell at the lowest ball prices when times are tough.

Not saying we should ignore un organic, because a lot of Good stuff exist !!
But its good for the soil, the Earth our kids will be handed, and to Help the Craftsmen and
Women, who have handed us this Great Brew in the First Place.

A lot of us owe that Heritage, for the lifestyle we live today.