7 Clean, Mold Free Coffee Brands, Rated

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I’ve always bought organic coffee, because I’ve known that coffee is highly sprayed. But recently it came to my attention that coffee has a big mold problem.

The issue is that some green coffees that have been poorly stored and processed after harvest can grow mold, which includes mycotoxins like aflatoxin and ochratoxin. These mycotoxins are usually found in cheap “commodity” coffees. Commodity coffees are usually what’s in instant coffee, blends, and food service coffee.

➢ 13 out of 25 commercial samples of green coffee analyzed contained Ochratoxin A (Source)

➢ Roasting coffee does not get rid of mycotoxins, though it does reduce the amount (Source)

➢ Aflatoxins were detected in up to 55% of green coffee beans sampled (Source)

These coffee beans are bought in huge bulk amounts for cheap prices, so the growers and buyers don’t care how they’re harvested or stored. Commodity coffee is about getting the lowest price for the most volume. These coffees are stored in burlap bags that allow moisture to permeate, and grow mold. These commodity coffees are also grown in huge farms, in the sun, which lead to a more bitter taste. Commodity coffee should be avoided for a number of ethical and health reasons.

Because coffee is usually consumed daily, I think the quality of coffee is really important. Being exposed to mycotoxins, even very low-levels, daily over years can have a cumulative and taxing effect on your health. These mycotoxins are known to be carcinogenic, damage the liver and kidneys, and generally are taxing on the immune system. Aside from buying organic to avoid pesticides, it’s worth going the extra mile to avoid mycotoxins for your health.

Which Coffees are Mold and Mycotoxin-Free?

Generally, higher end coffee, with certifications like Speciality Grade, Organic, Fair Trade, and single origin coffee will not contain mycotoxins because they are grown, harvested and processed with care and attention. That being said, there still could be contamination—the only way to find out for sure is to test.

Luckily, a handful of brands do test their coffee batches for mold and mycotoxins. The brands we tried (Purity, Kion, VitaCup, Bulletproof, Natural Force, Peak Performance, and Fabula) all claim to be mycotoxin-free with lab testing to back them up. Only some brands make this lab testing available. We tried these brands to see if one cup came out on top.

Quick Rundown: Blind Taste Test Results

The Process

We used a Chemex, which is a pour-over coffee brewing method. I like the Chemex because it is simple, plastic-free and reliably produces a great cup.

We followed the golden ratio of coffee to water, and used 12 grams of freshly ground coffee and 180 grams of filtered water.

We tested each brand’s medium roast to keep it consistent, though one brand (VitaCup) didn’t have a medium roast, so we tasted their dark roast. We ground each brands beans on the Fellow Ode Brew Grinder at the “3” grind size.

The Verdict: Reviews

Going into this blind taste test, we were skeptical that the coffees would really taste all that different from each other. We were blown away at how every coffee tasted extremely differently. The coffees differed vastly in acidity, smoothness, flavor, brightness and aftertaste.

Purity

purity coffee bag

Purity Coffee is a very health-conscious coffee brand, that prioritizes lab-testing for mold, pesticides, and Ochratoxin A. Purity also uses a unique roasting process that maximizes antioxidants, while avoiding creating carcinogenic compounds. Purity has criteria that they follow: always organic, require “near zero defects” standards, no mold, sustainable coffee sourcing, and exceptional taste.

Our Purity Coffee Review: We loved Purity! It’s probably the smoothest cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted. It also has fruity notes that really compliment the coffee. Purity really stood out as the best tasting cup. It tasted low acid, while still having a really bright, dynamic flavor.

Our Rating: 5/5

Options: Medium, Dark & Decaf whole beans only. They also have K-Cups and Single Serve Sachets.

Decaf: Yes, using the Swiss Water Method

Source: High-altitude only, Arabica beans from Indonesia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Brazil.

Certifications: USDA Organic, Specialty Grade, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Smithsonian Bird Friendly, Demeter Biodynamic Certified, beyond Fair Trade

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Purity has their extensive testing available on their website. They say they test every batch at every step of the supply chain.

Kion

kion coffee bag

Kion, pronounced key-on, is a wellness brand that sells functional food and “energy-enhancing” supplements, along with coffee. From amino acid supplements, to protein powder and coffee, Kion says their formulas are “research-backed and quality tested, made with the cleanest ingredients available to science and nature, designed to support sustained, natural energy without the artificial boost or crash.”

Our Kion Coffee Review: Kion had a very bright initial taste, then it faded to have a very smooth mouthfeel. Kion was a very bright and smooth cup; I really enjoyed how bright the initial taste was. The only thing that keeps the rating down is that it seemed to lack some of the depth of flavor that Purity coffee had.

Rating: 4/5

Options: Medium & Dark Roast in whole bean and pre-ground. They also have Decaf in whole bean only.

Decaf: Yes, Mountain Water Processed

Sourcing: 100% Arabica beans from a handful of small producers in Honduras.

Certifications: Specialty Grade, USDA Certified Organic

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Kion does not have any testing results on their website. The brand states that their coffee is 3rd party tested for and free of mold, mycotoxins (specifically Ochratoxin A and Aflatoxin) and pesticides.

VitaCup

VitaCup was founded in 2017 and sells coffee, teas, and creamers usually infused with superfoods and vitamins. They also cater to keto diets.

Our VitaCup Coffee Review:

Rating: 4/5

Options: The “Perfect Coffee” which is the only one that claims to be lab tested only comes in dark roast. They do sell it in whole bean, pre=ground, K-Cup, and instant forms.

Decaf: No.

Sourcing: 100% Arabica beans grown at high altitudes in Guatemala.

Certifications: USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Single Origin

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Not available on their website.

Bulletproof

Bulletproof is a much larger, more mainstream brand that was founded by Dave Asprey in 2014 and was early in the Keto and biohacking scene. Coffee was the first wellness product they sold, and is named after the bulletproof coffee recipe Asprey developed, which involves adding MCT oil and butter in coffee. Bulletproof is one of the first brands that brought the issue of mold contaminated coffee into the mainstream. They sell a variety of other supplements and bars, as well.

Our Bulletproof Coffee Review: We found Bulletproof to have a bold flavor, and smooth taste. The brand calls their medium roast citrusy, which I actually tasted and enjoyed. We found it to be slightly less smooth than Purity, but it still is a really great tasting coffee.

Our Rating: 4/5

Options: Light, Medium & Dark Roasts in whole bean and pre-ground. Bulletproof also has K-Cups and Cold Brew in cans.

Decaf: Yes, using the Swiss Water Process.

Source: 100% Arabica beans grown on high altitude estates in Guatemala and Colombia.

Certifications: Rainforest Alliance Certified

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Not available on their website, or upon request. They claim to test for mold and “toxins.”

Use code KITCHEN20 for 20% off any order on bulletproof.com.

Natural Force

Founded in 2009, Joe Rakoski and Justin Quinn desired a supplement company that “rejected unnecessary fillers, synthetic colors, and anything artificial.” They developed supplements and health foods based on ancient traditions and proven research. Natural Force promises to always: “Use clean, healthy ingredients. Lab test for quality and purity. Package in non-toxic, eco-friendly materials.” A commitment to purity and testing is part of the companies core ethos.

Our Natural Force Coffee Review: We liked Natural Force coffee, but found it a little too sharp tasting. It had some nice, citrusy notes that complimented the bold flavor, but we found it to be a little more acidic than the higher scoring coffees on this list. It was still a decent, flavorful cup, and it also had a strong aroma.

Our Rating: 3.5/5

Options: Medium & Dark Roast whole bean only.

Decaf: Yes, using the Swiss Water Process.

Source: 100% Arabica beans high altitude and shade grown in Columbia.

Certifications:  USDA Organic, Certified B Corp, Certified Paleo, Certified Keto, Certified Vegan, Single Origin, Direct Trade,  Specialty Grade

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Available on their website. The third party testing is for mold, mycotoxins, yeast, gluten, acrylamide, heavy metals, and pesticides.

Peak Performance

Peak Performance is a supplement and wellness company that was founded after the founder, Talor Zamir, battled pain and inflammation. He used supplements and superfoods to change his body from the inside. The brand sells protein, mushroom, and superfood powders, along with coffee.

Our Peak Performance Coffee Review: Peak Performance’s

Our Rating: 3/5

Options: Medium & Dark Roast and Decaf in whole bean and pre-ground. They also have K-Cups and Nespresso capsules.

Decaf: Yes, using the Swiss Water Process.

Source: 100% Arabica beans from the Guatemalan highlands.

Certifications: USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Single Origin

Mold Testing and Lab Results: Not available on their website. They claim they use third party testing.

Fabula Coffee

Fabula, unlike other brands featured on this list, only sells coffee. Their goal is to “make 100% organic, healthy and delicious coffee accessible to as many people as possible.” Fabula touts that their coffee is especially good for heartburn sufferers as their beans are grown in the shade at high elevations by organic farmers, producing a naturally low acid bean.

Our Fabula Coffee Review:

Our Rating: 2/5

Options: Light, Medium & Dark Roasts in whole bean and pre-ground. Fabula also offers Espresso, French Press, Cold Brew, Half Caf, and Turkish specialized grinds or whole beans. They also sell flavored coffee and K-Cups.

Decaf: Yes. Mountain Water Process Decaffeination (fully washed). At another place on the website, Fabula states that they use Swiss Water Method. Both Mountain Water and Swiss Water are water decaffeination processes, and the names just signify where the process takes place. Mountain Water is done at a facility in Mexico while Swiss Water originated in Switzerland, but now takes place at a facility in Vancouver, British Columbia. The methods are very similar.

Source: 100% Arabica beans shade-grown at extreme altitudes, single origin from Peru, Colombia and Mexico.

Certifications: USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Fair Trade, Speciality Grade, Single Origin

Mold Testing and Lab Results: They are not available on their website, but they say they will provide them upon request.

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