Are You Sipping Pesticide Residues In Your Morning Coffee?

Written by Lanna Potter. Posted in Organic food, Past Issues

cup of coffee

Are you sipping pesticide residues in your morning coffee?

Organic coffee boosts health and delights your taste buds

If you are a coffee lover like me, you can’t resist that aroma, taste, and the pleasure of a good cup of coffee at home or at work. We coffee drinkers seem to enjoy the feeling of being energized, alert, and relaxed at the same time.

In moderation, coffee helps calm your muscles and bring mental clarity. A lot of research has been done on why people enjoy coffee. Interestingly, it’s often not just for the taste, but also the lifestyle that comes with drinking coffee.

But not all coffees are good for your health or the environment.

One of the best ways to protect your health is to have organic coffee instead of non-organic coffee. Most people understand that fresh organic fruits and vegetables are healthier than non-organic produce, even though they are typically 15%-40% higher in price.

But when it comes to coffee, does organic or non-organic really matter?

The answer is “absolutely”, and here’s why.

250 Pounds of chemical fertilizers bathe your coffee beans

Did you know that coffee is one of the most chemically treated crops in the world?

According to the CS Monitor, up to 250 pounds of chemical fertilizers are sprayed per acre of non-organic coffee.

When you sip your conventional coffee, you are ingesting the pesticide residues, which contribute to many health problems including cancer and miscarriages in pregnant women.

Americans drink about 400 millions cups of coffee every day, and most of the coffee beans are imported. The U.S. Department of Agriculture actually has little control over the type and amount of pesticides used on imported coffee. The most effective way to protect against potential harm from the pesticides is to drink organic coffee.

Is decaf carcinogenic?

Besides the farming practice, USDA also has requirements for the decaffeination process. Conventional decaffeinated coffee is usually treated with lots of chemicals, which are known to be carcinogenic.

I’m sensitive to the chemicals in regular decaffeinated beverages, and I get a bad headache and chills right after I drink one. If you get a headache or stomach ache too, that’s why.

A safer and more natural choice is Swiss Water decaffeinated organic coffee. The special decaffeination process is 100% chemical free, and removs 99.9% of caffeine from coffee beans.

Tip: Use unbleached filters if you use a drip coffee maker. Those shiny bright white filters are bleached with chlorine, which will be extracted into your coffee during the brewing process.

Save the environmental and the farmers

Have you seen images of farm workers wearing industrial overalls to spray fields? Non-organic coffee farmers are at risk because they spend so much time working with pesticides. The cultivation process for non-organic coffee damages the environment, and the people who grow the beans.

Organic coffee is grown in small shade-covered fields, which create an inviting environment for migratory birds. These birds act as the coffee’s defense against pets, so no pesticides are needed to chase away the plants’ predators. Organic coffee is a friendly and responsible choice for the environment and for farm workers.

Savor the richer taste and aroma

Passionate coffee drinkers believe organic coffee tastes better, and describe the intense flavor and aroma as more pure.

Organic coffee growers make every effort to protect the plants against harm during the growing and production process, so you receive wholesome, undamaged coffee as nature grows it. It’s a natural food that’s good for you!

What is “Organic Coffee”?

To qualify for USDA “organic” label, coffee farms must be certified, and must meet certain standards, including:

  • No synthesized pesticides or any prohibited chemical substance have been used for the past 3 years.
  • Natural pest control and prevention methods must be used.
  • Use sustainable crop rotation to prevent nutrient loss in soil.
  • Pass inspections and lab testing before it is made available for commercial use in the U.S.
  • No GMO coffee beans used.

There are other requirements on how the beans and ready-to-use products should be processed and packaged.

Fair Trade vs Organic, Shade Grown, Bird Friendly

Don’t confuse organic coffee with fair trade coffee. Although there is an overlap, they are not the same.

Both fair trade and organic are regulated by the government, so coffee suppliers are not permitted to use the labels without meeting specific guidelines.

Fair trade refers to the way workers are treated.

Organic directly relates to growing, harvesting, and producing the coffee.

Fair trade coffee is grown by small farmers who are members of cooperatives that market to international firms. These growers are guaranteed a minimum price. Child labor and other unethical labor practices are banned.

Fair trade growers are encouraged to use organic practices, but it is not required.

Many fair trade coffees are organic and many organic coffees were grown under fair trade practices, but check for both specific labels to be sure.

Shade-Grown, Bird Friendly: Coffee is actually grown in the shade, but coffee makers cut down huge swaths of rainforest and douse the beans with chemicals to grow coffee more quickly.

Certified shade-grown coffee ensures you get chemical free beans and are not destroying the habitat.

Look for: Bird Friendly, Shade Grown, Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, or Equal Exchange certification, as well as Organic.

Popular Brands for Organic Coffee

Organic, fair-trade and shade-grown coffee is now easier to find than ever. Most health food stores, supermarkets, online food sites, and coffee chains carry at least some brands of organic coffee.

Some popular, delicious brands include:

  • Kicking Horse
  • Cameron’s Organic French Roast
  • First Colony Rainforest Blend
  • Equal Exchange Organic Coffee
  • Guatemalan
  • Jim’s Organic Coffee Sweet Love Blend
  • Café Altura
  • The Organic Coffee Company

Check out Lanna Potter’s cookbook “Light Asian Salads – Quick and Healthy Vegetarian Recipes” and her weight loss tips, at

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Lanna Potter

Lanna Potter is a cookbook author, model, speaker, and entrepreneur. She is the creator of website “Light and Easy Vegetarian by Lanna Potter”, where she shares her whole food, plant-based recipes, articles and videos on weight loss and healthy aging. Lanna holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University and T. Colin Campbell Foundation. Having lost over 40 pounds herself, Lanna is very passionate about inspiring others to reshape their bodies and confidence with a plant-based diet and fitness. To learn about her cookbook “Light Asian Salads – Quick and Healthy Vegetarian Recipes” and her weight loss tips, visit

Comments (5)

  • 10 Reasons to Quit Coffee |


    […]  A coffee plant is sprayed is pesticides like there’s no tomorrow. You won’t find traces of pesticides in your coffee, you’ll find traces of coffee in your pesticides. Studies have found over a thousand chemicals in coffee, so if this doesn’t make you say no to coffee, then I don’t know what will. […]

  • Dawn Newton


    Thank you for this blog Lanna! This is why we chose to ONLY use Organic coffee at Potheads…A Coffee Experience, a new kind of coffee shop opening soon, in our small community. It is so important to avoid as many chemicals as we can, to stay healthy and strong, and oHHHHH the taste of fresh organic coffee! I’m gonna share your blog on my blog 😉

    • Lynda Goldman


      Hi Dawn,

      Glad you like this article by Lanna Potter. It was the first issue of Healthy Organic Woman, and as the publisher, I love organic coffee. I wish you every success!

    • Lanna Potter



      Thank you so much for reading my post on organic coffee and your commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Yes, we need to share the information with more people and help them make better diet choices. Thank you!

      Lanna Potter

Comments are closed

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