Coffee is among the most traded commodities across the globe, thus the subject of organic vs. non-organic is important. More than 12 billion coffee pounds (172.8 million bags) are produced in a year, to meet the high demands. And that includes organic and non-organic coffee. But to identify the ideal coffee for you, it is vital to understand the similarities and striking differences between organic and non-organic coffee.
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Organic vs. non-organic coffee similarities include immense benefits and taste. The two differ in their farming processes, impact on the environment, and ultimate taste. Besides, organic coffee harbors many health benefits, while non-organic coffee brings to the table more side effects.
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What is Organic Coffee?
It refers to coffee beans that coffee farmers grow naturally without using artificial chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, or other additives.
The entire organic coffee growing process depends on the land’s natural fertility. But the soils must be free from toxins. Organic farmers also use natural fertilizers like coffee pulps, chicken manure, general compost, and other organic manure.
Latin America supplies 75% of the global organic coffee. That’s according to the report by the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research. Other leading organic coffee producers are Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Indonesia.
Based on how organic coffee is grown, coffee specialists view it as a healthy alternative. And that’s why they often recommend organic coffee to people instead of non-organic coffee.
To identify a certified organic coffee, look for the USDA organic label on its packaging. If it’s not there, then it means the coffee is not organic. Some producers write the percentage of organic ingredients in the coffee. For instance, you may see a statement like, the product contains 70%-80% organic.
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What is Non-Organic Coffee?
Non-organic coffee is conventional coffee whose production process involves the use of powerful chemicals during farming. With this kind of coffee, farmers steep coffee seeds in synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, and other additives to control infections.
They further use food preservatives, colors, and artificial food flavors to boost the coffee quality and attract customers. These conventional coffee practices affect the environment and the people in it.
When spraying the coffee crops with these chemicals, farmers expose themselves to health-threatening toxins. The chemical residues are further emitted into the air and water, causing pollution. The resulting coffee beans also contain traces of these chemicals.
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Organic Vs. Non-Organic Coffee Striking Differences
When it comes to organic vs. non-organic coffee, you can never go wrong with your choices. That’s because the differences between the two are quite notable. Therefore, let’s go through them and see who wins this battle.
The planting process is the vast thing that tears the two coffee beans apart. Organic farmers have to work harder while making vital decisions at every farming stage. Through that, they get to support the health of their coffee crops.
The organic farmer only uses natural fertilizer. In most cases, it includes chicken or cattle manure, coffee pulp itself, or general compost. Chemicals and other additives are avoided throughout the entire farming process by all means.
Due to that, organic coffee farmers face a challenge in controlling weeds and preventing insects from attacking their coffee. And so, they use natural methods to control the weeds.
Some of their weed control options include using natural gas flame weeder to burn off the weeds, allowing domestic animals to feed on the weeds, and eliminating the weeds by hand.
On the other hand, non-organic coffee farmers use artificial fertilizers, chemicals, and other substances to increase yields.
They start their farming process by fumigating the soil to eliminate naturally occurring antifungals. After that, the farmers feed the soil with chemical fertilizers. Prior to planting, the conventional farmer soaks the coffee seeds in fungicides and insecticides for some time.
And then, after planting the coffee seeds, they add to the irrigation water another pest control chemical to keep pests at bay. But that’s not all; when the seeds sprout, non-organic farmers spray on them weedicide to eliminate the unwanted weeds.
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Impact On The Environment
Because organic coffee utilizes only natural fertilizer, it poses many benefits to the environment. The coffee crop emits less carbon and boosts the quality of soil and land at large. Besides, organic coffee preserves soil moisture and other water resources. It further helps to generate biologically diverse agriculture.
Moreover, the growth of organic coffee happens under the shade of trees with partial sunlight. The technique enhances healthy biodiversity within the coffee plant’s ecosystem. However, these thick forests make organic coffee tending and harvesting tedious.
With conventional coffee, land degradation and pollution are inevitable. Those heavy chemicals and artificial fertilizers cause a lot of environmental damages.
Furthermore, non-organic coffee plants are hybrid, thus flourishing well in the open sun. With that, conventional farmers have to clear forests to create open fields for coffee. Even though coffee production increases, the process demolishes the wild ecosystem.
Also, due to lack of tree cover, an increase in water flow washes away topsoil, causing soil erosion and degradation. The rainwater further carries the used chemicals into the local water body, causing pollution.
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Organic Vs. Non-Organic Coffee Health Benefits and Side Effects
Organic coffee is full of natural compounds and antioxidants, beneficial to your health. Some of the benefits include the fight against cancer, enhanced immune system, eliminating wrinkles, among others. There is no scientific proof of organic coffee’s side effects.
But with non-organic coffee, the health effects are immense. Those affected include the farmers themselves, people around the area, and non-organic coffee consumers. Consuming chemicals and toxins can cause cancer, birth deformities, and damage to internal organs.
In regard to taste, organic coffee is unbeatable. Since the coffee is planted naturally under partial sunlight, it preserves its delicate flavors and aromas.
Even so, there are those regular coffee drinkers who love the taste of non-organic coffee. They will settle for it even if it is a matter of life and death. With that, I leave the taste matter to individual preference.
With all these differences, you may ask, are organic coffee and non-organic coffee similar in any way? Well, both are coffee beans and undergo the same grinding process before brewing. But there is nothing significant that the two share in common.
Which Should You Buy?
After weighing the two coffee options, it is clear that organic coffee will give you more than just a tasty coffee drink. With it, you get immense health benefits than conventional coffee. Although you may spend some more coins on organic coffee beans, you will get value for money in the long run.
Besides, you can opt to purchase an organic coffee subscription and save about 10%-15% on your coffee. In a year, you get to save about $400, which is a lot.
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The subject of organic vs. non-organic coffee is subtle. I believe all these similarities and striking differences between the two related coffees will help you in your purchasing decisions. The ball is now in your hands. If you choose organic coffee, you support sustainable methods, a healthy ecosystem, and superior coffee.