|RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Conventional coffee growing—that is, clear-cutting forests to grow coffee in full sun, and using pesticides—is a major factor behind plummeting bird populations. The good news: More and more people are brewing up organic coffee. Organically grown coffee plants do better in the shade, which means the coffee's grown without destroying those critical forest habitats.
Organic coffee is also grown without using toxic pesticides that kill birds and harm workers. (See 3 Ways Coffee Can Boost Your Health and Stop Global Warming for more about shade-grown coffee.)
But how does it taste? To find out, we selected 10 organic coffees, ranging from artisan specialty coffees to generic brands, for a taste test. To assist us, coffee connoisseurs Phil Proteau and Brian Ludviksen from Counter Culture Coffee served as brew masters. They brewed the coffee in French presses provided by Bodum for dozens of Rodale employees; 40 participants rated the organic coffee they tested. The coffee was kept in numbered brown paper bags, so neither the taste testers nor the brewers knew which brand was in the cups.
Participants were asked to score a sample of each coffee from 1 to 10 in the following categories: aroma, flavor, body, and aftertaste.
See a Complete List of Taste Test Winners here.
How individual organic coffees fared:
Note: For our testers, this is the order that the coffee samples were presented in at the taste test.
#1: Birds & Beans
#2: Pura Vida
#4: Green Mountain Coffee
#5: Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value
#6: Counter Culture
#7: Jim's Organic Coffee
#8: Equal Exchange
#10: The Ringer! (a nonorganic store brand)
#11: Caffe Sanora