November 1, 2020

Coffee and Mold


Bleu Laurel Coffee Beans

Did you know that much of the coffee we consume contains mold?This affects not only the taste but can impact your health as well.

Coffee has been around for centuries and is a staple in many cultures. In addition to the many different varieties and tastes coffee offers it also has been discovered to have health benefits. According to Dr. Mercola, (an alternative medicine proponent and osteopathic physician), there are 5 five benefits of drinking coffee:

  1. It may help to protect you against type 2 Diabetes
  2. It may help those with Parkinson’s disease
  3. Shows impressive benefits for brain health
  4. May lower the risk of Liver Cancer by 40%
  5. Is a powerful antioxidant.

I have a love-hate relationship with coffee.

I typically network in coffee houses and found afterwards sometime I would have reactions after drinking coffee. My symptoms would range from nausea to dizziness to brain fog and headaches. I thought it was the caffeine aspect so I tried switching to decaf coffee and found the side effects were even worse on my body.

I didn’t want to miss out on the benefits so I started doing research into coffee, where it grows, how it is harvested and processed and made a few astounding discoveries.

According to the National Coffee Association, there are 10 steps to growing and harvesting coffee. (You can read about them in more detail here).

After the beans are planted, grown, and harvested, they are processed. This is a crucial step. What I have learned is that that the way a bean is processed will determine the likelihood that mold will grow on it. Making decaffeinated coffee makes the beans even more vulnerable because it strips the protective natural antimicrobial layer of the beans hence promoting mold  or mycotoxin growth. I am extremely allergic to mold. Turns out my reactions were caused by a mold reaction, nothing to do with the coffee or caffeination!!

Even if you you no have extreme mold reactions like I do, I think we can all agree consuming mold isn’t great for you. To help protect yourself here are a few tips to make you coffee sipping experience more likely to be mold free:

  1. If you visit a local coffee house often, get curious. Ask them where their beans are harvested and what process they use. When buying coffee read the label. 
  2. Caffeinated beans that are “wet” processed are best as they are less likely to contain mold and give you a reaction. 
  3. Coffee grown at high altitude is less likely to contain mold as there is lower humidity at higher elevations.
  4. Store coffee (whole beans or ground) in an opaque, air-tight container where it won’t be exposed to moisture. They even make containers with one-way valves that allow the coffee gasses to escape.
  5. Clean you coffee making equipment regularly according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  6. If the beans or ground coffee look odd or have a moly smell, discard it.

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