One of the most extensively traded commodities (second after oil) in the world is coffee. In the U.S. and throughout the world, the popularity of coffee is tremendous, to say the least.
It has essentially become a daily ritual for millions of people who simply cannot imagine their mornings without their beloved cup of coffee.
Many recent studies have shown health benefits that coffee provides, so this supposed addiction could be termed as a good one.
But there are some doubts about it, specifically, that some coffees could contain chemical residues from synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, etc. which are used during its cultivation.
Let’s get into more detail and have a deeper look into how regular coffee is cultivated throughout the world.
With high levels of popularity comes an increase in demand, and in order to fulfill the huge demand that coffee has, the majority of the regular-coffee growing farmers adopt the most cost-efficient methods to escalate their coffee production.
These cost-efficient methods include frequently availing inexpensive chemical-laced synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides to get the highest yield possible.
There have been contradictory studies on whether the chemical residues from these synthetic products are actually present in the final product, but there is absolutely no doubt that these products have devastating effects on the farmers, the people living nearby and the natural environment.
For coffee beans to be certified as organic, the entire cultivation and production process has to follow a set of rigorous criteria that ensure that you get the finest of coffee beans without any possible chemical residues.
Organic coffee farming is simply great for everybody, with it significantly contributing to the welfare of the environment, farmers and the people living adjoining the farm.
Currently, organic coffee accounts for about one-third of all organic beverage sales in the U.S.
The demand for organic coffee is slowly but steadily rising.
The United States has stringent criteria in place when it comes to getting coffee beans to be certified as organic.
Organic coffee farms situated in the U.S. have to get a certification from an USDA-accredited certifying agent.
The farm needs to have implemented organic farming methods for at least a period of three years before getting the organic certification.
Organic farming methods include absolutely no use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers (synthetic nitrogen, phosphate, potash, etc.).
Instead, organic fertilizers like coffee pulp, chicken manure, bokashi & general compost are used.
An on-site inspection is carried out by an inspector of the USDA who determines whether the farm is complying with the USDA organic regulations, preparing a report based on that.
On reviewing the inspector’s report and the application, the certifying agent decides whether or not to issue the organic certificate.
The organic nature of the coffee bean also depends on its production after harvest.
The Organic Food Production Act (1990) regulates the usage of chemicals on the coffee beans and their handling during the whole process of production.
For imported coffee to be sold with the organic certification in the U.S., it should meet the following requirements (as stated by the USDA):
The coffee is grown on land that wasn't exposed to synthetic pesticides or other prohibited substances for 3 years prior.
A sufficient buffer exists between the organic coffee and the closest conventional crop.
A sustainable crop rotation plan is in place to prevent erosion, the depletion of soil nutrients, and to naturally control for pests.
Aside from being away from the dangerous and cancer-causing effects of the various chemicals present in the synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, etc., organic certified coffee is also often fair-trade certified, which is a big boon for coffee farmers.
Fair-trade certification ensures that the farmers get sufficient returns for their organic produce and are not affected by the low prices set by the regular-coffee growing farmers.
The affordability of non-organic conventional coffee beans comes at a tremendous cost to the environment, with producers opting to large-scale deforestation of rainforests for cutting down their costs, forming coffee plantations with no shade and being totally exposed to the sun.
Coffee crops which are exposed to the sun require higher amounts of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to thrive.
Also, as a result of deforestation, nutrients in the soil get lost and the wildlife which feeds on pests are thrown out of their habitat, further leading to an increase in need of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
The groundwater levels also deteriorate, soil erosion takes place, rainwater washes away the chemicals sprayed on the crops to pollute nearby water sources, while the population of migratory birds also gets negatively affected.
That’s a whole lot of environmental damage, which undoubtedly contributes to global warming and climate change in a big way.
None of this massive destruction occurs in the production of organic coffee beans, which has to pass through the variety of rigorous norms we discussed before.
The organic coffee benefits are truly immense, to say the least.
So, if you are concerned about all this extensive damage caused by conventional coffee cultivation and want to contribute to the fight against climate change and the well-being of the natural environment, shelling out those extra bucks for a cup of organic coffee would seem like a no-brainer.
And as demand increases more farmers will switch to organic farming and the prices will naturally fall, making organic coffees affordable to the common public.
With the rise in espresso-based coffee drinks, regular coffee and its generally milder flavor have taken a bit of a backseat, but that doesn’t mean that it is out of fashion.
Regular coffee could be made from any type of roasted coffee beans, whether it be light, medium or dark.
The grind size of coffee beans utilized for the making of regular coffee is usually coarse.
A cup of regular coffee, which is around 10-ounces has 70-140 mg of caffeine.
Regular coffee is usually brewed for around 4-6 minutes.
It has a considerably lighter texture.
Here’s a short overview of the three conventional coffee brewing methods:
This is the most meticulous of the brewing methods, with quite some work to be done before you get your desired cup of coffee up and ready.
Natural oils present in coffee beans are lost due to the filter, but it is certainly better than drip coffee.
Coffee press or French press, as it is popularly known, is known to retain the natural oils that are otherwise absorbed by the filters of other methods, arguably providing for the finest coffee quality after that of an espresso.
If you are brewing at home though, then it can prove to be quite a fuss and also take a decent amount of time.
A convenient and quick way of preparing coffee, but the quality and taste is nowhere near the finest version coffee beans are capable of producing.
The lattes, americanos, and cappuccinos that you are so fascinated with are all courtesy of one popular brewing method which has its origins in Italy.
Espresso is essentially an extremely rich concentrated form of coffee that is full of aroma & flavor, usually served in the form of ‘shots’.
When integrated with other coffee ingredients like steamed milk, cold milk, caramel, etc., it leads to the formation of the various types of enticing coffee drinks that are found in coffeehouses these days.
The preparation requires an espresso machine, which forces pressurized boiling water through finely ground coffee beans in a matter of seconds to produce a small amount of coffee of the finest version.
The uniqueness about espresso is the ‘crema’ or froth that is formed on top of the dark coffee liquid as a result of the fusion of air bubbles and the soluble oils present in finely-ground coffee.
One espresso shot is of around 1 ounce (30 ml), with the number of shots used as a base for espresso coffee drinks like lattes, macchiatos, americanos, etc. differing in number.
Dark-roasted coffee beans are used for the preparation of espresso. This beans offer the least amount of acidity and have a fuller body than other roasts. They are also the most abundant in the natural oils present in coffee, which contributes to the stunning crema that you get on top of an espresso shot.
Finely ground coffee beans are used for the preparation of espresso, which is crucial in producing the rich taste, flavor, and crema.
The quantity of caffeine in an espresso is substantially higher per unit volume than regular coffee with 1 shot of espresso (1 ounce) containing around 60-65 mg caffeine. With most of the espresso coffee drinks usually having no other caffeine-containing ingredient in them and for the most part consisting of double espresso shots, the caffeine content is around 120-130 mg.
Espresso coffee takes less than a minute to be brewed with just 20-30 seconds required for pulling a shot of espresso.
Espresso has a thicker texture, lending an opulent feel to the coffee drinks.
So after all this in-depth information, it is quite clear that what you get with espresso-based coffee is the absolute finest version of coffee with the intense rich taste & flavor of the dark-roasted coffee beans and the deliciousness of the savory ingredients included in it.
Additionally, the organic nature of the coffee beans further boosts the quality of the drink while aiding the environment and farmers in a big way.
Without a doubt, organic espresso coffee provides the best of both worlds with the ultimate coffee experience!