The 7 Best Organic Coffees of 2022

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Whether it's made in a coffee machine, a French press, or with an espresso maker, coffee is an essential part of many of our lives—62% of Americans drink it every day. If coffee is a part of your regular routine, then some simple decisions could make a difference in the overall environmental impact of coffee consumption.

One of the easiest ways to mitigate the negative effects of coffee cultivation is by buying coffee that is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which establishes federal guidelines disallowing the use of additives, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizer. This seal confirms that coffee has followed a strict organic supply chain process, including quality controls from the tree to the cup. This is not only better for the environment, protecting soil and groundwater, but also prevents residue from fertilizers and pesticides contaminating your coffee.

While different coffees will suit different palates, our research has uncovered the best organic coffees for most tastes.

Best Overall: Copper Moon Coffee USDA Organic Variety Pack

Copper Moon Coffee USDA Organic Variety Pack

Walmart

Copper Moon Coffee's 100% USDA Organic coffee is available in four varieties. Eco Harvest is a smooth medium roast blend from Central and South America, or you can opt for the more flavorful Peru Organic, a medium roast with citrus and herb notes. For a dark roast, opt for the Rainforest Preserve. Finally, there's Swiss Water Decaf.

Not only are Copper Moon Coffee's varieties organic, but your purchase also supports fair labor practices via the roaster's partnership with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. Its commitments to the Sustainable Coffee Challenge and Conservation International provide support to initiatives transitioning coffee farming toward more sustainable methods.

Best Budget: Ethical Bean Coffee

Ethical Bean Coffee

Amazon

Buying organic often means paying a substantial premium, but that's not the case with Ethical Bean Coffee. USDA certified organic, Ethical Bean Coffee is also a fair trade product, with a certification from Fairtrade International assuring high standards for working conditions, wages, and environmental stewardship. The classic roast has an earthy flavor profile that’s a middle ground for almost any coffee drinker. Scan the QR code on the label, and you can trace your coffee beans in that package back to its source.

Best Splurge: Counter Culture Coffee La Golondrina

counter culture golondrina

Counter Culture Coffee is more transparent than most brands about its sustainability practices and sourcing. Its La Golondrina coffee comes from members of the Colombian Orgánica Cooperative in three different villages. Primary tasting notes in this light roast include milk chocolate, cherries, and nuts.

In addition to releasing one of the best certified organic Colombian coffees, Counter Culture coffee is also dedicated to sustainability, releasing an annual transparency report highlighting its annual expenditure of carbon, plastic use, and environmental impact. Counter Culture is also a certified B Corporation.

Best for Subscriptions: Equator Coffee

Equator Coffees
Image courtesy of Equator Coffees.

Equator Coffee offers an array of single origin and blended coffees for every taste profile from mild to bold. Equator was the first California coffee roaster to be certified as a B Corporation and many of its coffees are both Fair Trade certified and USDA Organic.

But its their subscription service that really puts Equator over the top, since you can save 15% compared to their regular prices and shipping is free. Equator subscriptions can be cancelled at any time, and you have your choice of delivery frequency, with a bag arriving as often as every week or as sporadic as once a month.

Best Decaf: Grounds for Change Decaf Coffee

Grounds for Change Coffee

Grounds for Change

For coffee drinkers looking to avoid caffeine, Grounds for Change doesn't skimp on quality or selection, offering six different decaf varieties. Choices include a full-bodied Ethiopian Sidamo and a smoother Peruvian Cajamaraca, alongside Sumatran, dark roast, medium roast, and espresso blends. Every variety is certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and Fair for Life fair trade certified.

Grounds for Change participates in a variety of environmental initiatives as well, including fully offsetting its carbon emissions and donating over 1% of their annual sales to environmental non-profits via the 1% For The Planet initiative.

Grounds for Change's decaf selections are available in 12-ounce, 2-pound, and 5-pound sizes. You can also select your preferred grind, with beans available whole, or ground for French press, metal filters, paper filters, or espresso.

Best Instant: Mount Hagen Instant Coffee

Mount Hagen Instant Coffee
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Instant coffee doesn't have a good reputation among passionate coffee drinkers, but Mount Hagen might just be the instant coffee to change their mind. A single origin Arabica hailing from Papa New Guinea, Mount Hagen preserves more complexity of flavor than typical instant coffees. Plus, it's USDA Organic and Fairtrade International certified. While it's unlikely any instant coffee will replace traditional brewing for daily coffee drinkers, Mount Hagen's freeze dried instant is perfect for camping, travelling, or for non-coffee drinkers who want to keep something on hand for guests.

Mount Hagen Instant Coffee is available in a glass jar you can use by the spoonful, or in single serving "sticks." There's also a decaf version.

Best Dark Roast: Java Planet Sumatra Organic

Java Planet Sumatra Organic

Amazon

Java Planet Sumatra Organic is perfect for coffee drinkers that love a rich, dark chocolate flavor profile, without the bitterness. It's a great pick for anyone looking for a dark roast coffee that's also low acid. This single origin, USDA Organic coffee is available in whole bean, coarse ground, or a finer grind for drip coffee machines. It’s also Fair Trade Certified.

Java Planet Sumatra Organic is available in 1-pound and 5-pound bags.

Final Verdict

Our top pick is Copper Moon Coffee (view at Walmart), which has a certified organic variety for every taste, in addition to robust sustainability initiatives. While more expensive, Counter Culture (view at Counter Culture) is an excellent alternative, with detailed single origin sourcing paired with a dedication to environmental stewardship.

What to Look for in Organic Coffee

Type of Grind

Gourmet coffee is often available in different grinds suited for different brewing methods. Coarse grinds are best for cold brews and french presses; medium grinds more appropriate for coffee machines and pour overs; and fine grinds best for espresso. While many of the coffee brands on this roundup have a variety of grind options, purchasing whole bean will allow you to grind to your preferred consistency while retaining full freshness.

USDA Organic Certification Seal

The term organic can mean a lot of different things, so it's important to look to the specific organic certification a coffee roaster is claiming. The United States Department of Agriculture provides a robust and detailed standard for the entire supply chain, making it a good baseline certification to look for on your coffee packaging.

FAQs

Is organic coffee better for the environment?

Certified organic coffee is better for the environment because it has been verified that the product has followed a stringent supply chain management process. The USDA certified organic standards cover everything from soil health to organic pest management, including bans on the use of most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. In addition, the plants must be grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest, and each farm must be inspected annually.

Is all organic coffee shade-grown?

Not exactly. Just because it’s certified organic doesn’t necessarily mean it was shade-grown. Traditionally, coffee was grown in all or part shade, but as the demand for coffee increased, forests were cleared for full sun farms, which have a higher yield. However, this has resulted in some habitat loss. Some producers now seek shade-grown certification, which indicates coffee is produced on farms that protect habitats for wildlife.

Is Starbucks coffee organic?

Not all Starbucks coffee is organic, but they do produce organic coffees. Look for the USDA certified organic seal.

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Arricca Elin SanSone is a health and lifestyle writer specializing in home, shelter and gardening. She researched the market based on organic certification processes and each company’s individual ethos.

View Article Sources
  1. Foley, Sinead. “NCA Releases Atlas of American Coffee.NCA, National Coffee Association of U.S.A., Inc.

  2. Organic-Certified Coffee in the U.S.NCA, National Coffee Association of U.S.A., Inc.

  3. McEvoy, Miles. “Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means.USDA, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.