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All Things Coffee Beans!

By Annette Demeny

In my previous blog post, Impressive Health Benefits of Coffee, we learned that coffee can provide your body beneficial protection from free radicals, certain cancers, and diabetes while satisfying your taste buds. However, if you don’t purchase quality coffee, you may be doing more harm to your body than good.

 

Coffee is one of the largest and most important crops in the world, worth roughly $16.5 billion in the United States alone. The International Coffee Organization estimates there are nearly 26 million people employed in the coffee business across 52 countries. Next to Brazil and the European Union, the United States is one of the largest consumers of coffee and the largest market for organic coffee. Still, you might think organic coffee (farmed without the use of pesticides) would be close to conventional coffee in numbers. But organic coffee only accounts for 6.6 percent of the world’s harvested coffee. Why is that, if organic is better for you? The truth is, it’s cheaper for companies to grow beans that are not organic.  Mass production of non-organic beans is quicker, yields a larger crop (thanks to spraying with deadly chemicals) and they pay their farmers less for their labor.

 

This is why it’s important that the coffee you purchase is not only fair trade, but that it’s organic as well. Coffee that is grown organically is rich in flavor and free from chemicals. As a reminder, coffee offers a copious amount of health benefits such as; lowers the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers. Why would you risk those benefits by purchasing “dirty” coffee that’s been sprayed with harmful chemicals? Chemicals like pesticides, insecticides and fungicides have been proven to cause cancer and damages the nervous and reproductive systems. If you drink coffee, the single MOST important factor is to purchase fresh, organic beans.

 

What to look for when purchasing coffee beans

 

The easiest way to brew good coffee at home is to start with good beans. Whether you’re buying coffee at the grocery store, a coffee shop, or direct from a roaster, you need to know what to look for on a bag of coffee.

 

  1. Look for Fair Trade certifications. There are many of these types of certifications around the world and they should be listed on the bag or on the company’s website.
  2. Choose organic coffee. This helps assure the beans are free from pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
  3. Choose light to medium roasted beans. The lighter the roast, the more health-promoting phenols the beans will retain. Roasting coffee darkly destroys some of the healthy aspects of the bean.
  4. Know where your coffee was grown, where it was roasted and when it was roasted. You want beans that were roasted no longer than two – four weeks ago. If you can’t find this information on the bag of coffee, put it back on the shelf. Good roasters will provide all of this information on their product.
  5. Do not buy whole coffee beans out of large open barrels in your grocery store. Perhaps the biggest coffee killer of all is oxygen. When roasted beans are exposed to air, they can go bad in just a matter of days. Your cup o’ Joe will taste stale.

 

Should I Buy Coffee Beans Whole or Ground?

 

You should buy your coffee beans whole and grind them right before you brew. The oils that drive those fruity, toasty, beautiful flavors start to degrade in quality the minute the beans are ground. That means pre-ground coffee loses flavor as it sits in the package on a shelf in the grocery store for weeks or months or years.

 

Best way to store your beans

 

To preserve your coffee as long as possible, make sure to keep it in an airtight container at room temperature. Store in a dark space, like a cabinet or cupboard. Some people freeze their coffee, but this actually changes the flavor, so don’t do it. Try not to buy in large bulk. The best way to ensure freshness of your coffee is to use it within a few weeks then purchase more.

 

Be mindful of what you add to your cup o’ Joe!

 

“A drink you buy at Starbucks could contain up to 25 teaspoons of sugar per serving, according to a new report by British campaign group Action on Sugar. That’s three times the amount of sugar in one can of Coke, and more than three times the maximum adult daily intake recommended by the American Heart Association….”  Sugar overload: What your hot drink is doing to your body”, CNN

 

Below are some healthier options to sweeten your coffee instead of using sugar or dairy…

 

  • Cinnamon or Nutmeg – Adding spices to your coffee gives a hint of sweetness while providing a boost to your immune system. Sprinkle some on top or stir into the grounds right before brewing.
  • Almond Milk, Oak Milk or Coconut Milk – Coconut is naturally sweet and will sweeten your coffee without refined sugar. For extra flavor, check out my recipe for homemade Almond Milk that includes vanilla extract for added sweetness.
  • Cocoa or Cocoa Powder – Cocoa is a plant-based nutrient that’s commonly extracted and used for making baked goods we love so much. But since it comes from a plant, cocoa is full of a variety of immune boosting polyphenols and antioxidants. A small amount can be stirred into the coffee itself or into the grounds before brewing.
  • Honey or Maple Syrup –  Honey and maple syrup are natural sweeteners with lots of health benefits.  Although healthier, these sweeteners are still high in carbohydrates and calories, so use sparingly.

 

 

SFY Resources

International Coffee Organization

Hidden Sugars, CNN

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

SFY Recommends

Kion Coffee

Purity Coffee

 

 

2 replies on “All Things Coffee Beans!”

Great Advice!! I just received a new coffee maker with grinder and needed some advice on the types of beans to purchase! ❤️

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