Is There Mold in My Coffee?

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Is There Mold in My Coffee?

 

What would you say if your favorite coffee shop asked you …


“Would you like some cream, sugar, and mold with that coffee?”


You might be thinking “Wait a second … did you just say … Mold??  Why the f#*k would I ever want mold in my coffee!?”


I know, it’s a bit of a strange thing to ask.


But unfortunately, this is becoming a very reasonable and important question to ask when dealing with coffee production. 


Let me explain …

 

In the health and fitness world, there’s a common debate if coffee is healthy for you or not.


And while that debate mainly focuses on how caffeine affects the brain and body as a whole, there’s one other health issue that is commonly overlooked -  mold in coffee. 


While coffee might not be the first place you’d expect to find mold, one study found that nearly 50% of all processed coffee beans contain harmful mold toxins.


So, given that nearly 7/10 Americans drink coffee every single day, there’s a good chance you might have ingested mold in your own coffee without even knowing it - down to every last, delicious drop.


In this article we’ll discuss:

  • The Issue with Mold
  • Mycotoxins and the Coffee Production Process
  • How to start Avoiding Moldy Coffee

 

 

The Issue With Mold

 

When it comes to mold in food, most people understand its risks and how to avoid it. 

 

But what some folks might not know is that mold is practically everywhere.

 

It might gross you out - but there are actually small trace amounts of mold spores constantly floating throughout the air around you. But don’t worry - those tiny amounts of mold that you’re exposed to on a daily basis are not harmful.


But beware … mold in larger amounts can cause some serious health issues like nausea, vomiting, headaches, and more.

 

As you may already know, it’s common for mold to grow on foods like cheeses, bread, etc. 


But did you ever think that it could be growing on coffee beans? …


 Because it is. 


When it comes to mold in your coffee beans, there’s one thing you should be aware of - the harmful effects don’t come from the mold itself. They come from something called Mycotoxins. 


Mycotoxins are the small, dangerous toxins (hence the name) produced in mold that can be harmful when consumed.



According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ingesting mycotoxins can cause serious health issues like acute poisoning, immune deficiency, and even cancer.


So it’s safe to say that you probably should avoid those in your coffee, or for that matter, anything you eat.

 

 

Mycotoxins and the Coffee Production Process

 

In order for you to start avoiding moldy coffee, you should first understand how mold can invade the coffee production process …

 

Just as mold comes in all different kinds of shapes and sizes, so do Mycotoxins.

 

The WHO has identified several hundreds of different mycotoxins out there - each affecting your body in a completely different way. 

 

For example, Penicillin (a mycotoxin from mold) had famously been used during World War II. Because of its antibacterial properties, it saved many soldiers from life-threatening infections.

 

On the other hand, Mycotoxins like Aflatoxin and Ochratoxin A are labeled as dangerous carcinogens - causing issues like poisoning, suppressing the immune system, and sometimes cancer.

 

And for the worst part …

 

Research discovered that these mycotoxins have found their way into the coffee production process - and it's a big problem.

 

One study showed that 45% of coffee beans commercially sold contained Ochratoxin A.

 

Another study found that over 50% of green coffee beans contained Aflatoxin. 

 

While it’s almost impossible to completely avoid Mycotoxins, certain methods of coffee production can eliminate them better than others - and there’s one in particular that proves to be the most effective.

 

Wet processing (where the beans are separated from the fruit by water) is known as one of the most effective and sanitary ways to produce coffee.

 

Wet processed coffee beans have been found to have significantly fewer Mycotoxins than other processing methods.

 

The other (less sanitary) method of coffee production is known as dry processing. Dry processed beans are left to dry with the full outer layer that encases them. (This provides a very wet, humid, and mold-growing environment around the bean.)



As I mentioned earlier, wet processed beans differ because they use water to wash off the outer cherry of each bean. This makes it a much harder environment for mold to grow in - so always try to go for wet processed coffee products. (Just think: wet processed = less mold.)

 

The other (less sanitary) method of coffee production is known as dry processing. Dry processed beans are left to dry with the full outer layer that encases them. (This provides a very wet, humid, and mold-growing environment around the bean.)



As I mentioned earlier, wet processed beans differ because they use water to wash off the outer cherry of each bean. This makes it a much harder environment for mold to grow in - so always try to go for wet processed coffee products. (Just think: wet processed = less mold.)

 

 

How to Start Avoiding Moldy Coffee

 

It’s one thing to understand why your coffee might have mold in it, but none of that matters if you don’t know how to actively identify and avoid moldy coffee.

 

Here are three simple ways for you to start identifying and avoiding potentially moldy coffee:


1. Buy wet processed coffee beans 

 

 

2. Check to see if your coffee has been tested

  • Any good coffee company will have testing certification available. This shows exactly how much Mycotoxins were found (there’s no getting around this one)

 

3. Avoid Decaf Coffee 

 

4. (*Bonus tip*) Drink Instant Coffee

  • Instant coffee is known to have minimal amounts of mold containments. This is because the beans are freeze-dried, so that they can be turned into an instant powder. 

  • Mold can’t grow in cold environments - so this eliminates any chance of dangerous Mycotoxins (this is also how our very own STRONG Coffee is made)

 

Remember to keep these details in mind when you’re choosing your coffee. Just by following these three steps, you can start actively eliminating harmful mold from getting into your daily cup.

 

 

If You Read Anything, Read This …

 

Mold in coffee is a major problem in the coffee industry, and not many people are talking about it. Over 50% of coffee produced and sold contains mold.

 

Moldy coffee can cause lots of health issues, ranging from food poisoning, immune system defects, and sometimes cancer - so always buy wet processed coffee, make sure your coffee is lab tested, and avoid decaffeinated coffee. 

 

It never hurts to check for yourself and see what kinds of harmful Mycotoxins your coffee might be containing.

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