If like us, you’re drinking cup after cup of delicious fresh brewed coffee each day, organic certifications become important. It’s not just about quality and protecting the environment, it’s about your health too. Organic coffee is grown and processed using organic, chemical-free methods. The only thing we want buzzing around in our coffee is natural caffeine!
We’ve compiled a list of the best organic coffees we’ve tried. Surprisingly, the market is full of affordably priced coffee beans that taste awesome. They’re not all from intimidating high-end coffee snob brands, trust us.
If the name “Death Wish” doesn’t grab you, believe me, the espresso bean will. This is by far the most complete dark roast coffee that you can get in order to achieve an authentic espresso taste at home.
At Coffee Dorks, we spend a considerable amount of time tasting (drinking) coffee and we certainly stand still behind our top choice for espresso bean. Mind you, this USDA certified organic and Kosher bean is among the strongest. But, at the end of the day, this is how we like our espresso shots.
What is Organic Coffee
Organic is similar to chemical-free, but it usually also means GMO-free and sustainably grown too. Any coffee bean can be organic. Many small family-run farms that go back decades use organic methods simply because that’s the method handed down through generations.
While that coffee is undoubtedly organic, getting an organic certification is another matter. It’s not cheap and it will require rigorous checks that small farms might not be equipped for.
So, when you see the USDA Organic logo on a bag of single origin coffee grown by small farmers, definitely check it out! We need to support the industry and help more small farmers earn their organic certifications.
Without the chemicals used to fertilize, kill weeds and pests, the coffee plants grow naturally. It’s healthier for you, without any chemical traces, and it’s far safer and healthier for the growers.
Top 10 Best Organic Coffee Brands
Real Good Coffee Co
- Roast: Dark
- Origins: Sumatra, Indonesia
- Use for espresso or cold brew
- USDA Organic
Sumatran coffees are considered some of the richest in organic flavor and aroma in the world, so it’s no surprise really that the best organic coffee bean is from the Indonesian island of Sumatra! This 2lb bag of organic whole beans dark roast, is deliciously rich and smooth with roasted notes of spices, bell pepper, cedar, and lemon.
The best way to get the strong smoothness out of Sumatran beans is with the espresso maker or cold brew coffee maker. It’s an intense flavor that can be overpowering if over-brewed and bitter. That’s why the super-fast espresso method and slow, cool cold brew method are perfect, as they won’t let bitterness seep in.
Real Good Coffee Co has a range of organic whole bean coffees. They’re all certified USDA Organic but this one stood out as tasting the best. It’s also kosher and packaged into recyclable materials. It’s stated in the product description that the beans are grown and sourced responsibly, but there’s no certification to back this up.
As for freshness, it’s roasted in Seattle WA, the capitol of coffee shops!
Tiny Footprint Organic Coffee
- Roast: Mix of light and dark roasts
- Origins: Ethiopia and seasonal locations
- Use for cold brew
- Organic certified by the USDA
Tiny Footprint is not just the most affordable from all of the coffee brands on our list, it’s also the only carbon negative coffee. In collaboration with Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest, trees are planted to offset the carbon released from the coffee-making process. Sure, it will take many many years for those trees to use up the carbon to offset the coffee… but it’s having a great impact on the environment. Like a secondary organic practice.
As for the beans themselves, they come pre-ground in a coarse size that’s ideal for cold brew. Inside the bag is a mix of different origin beans with some Ethiopian coffee beans too. The mix changes seasonally, using beans from around the world when they’re available.
It has a sweet flavor with bright fruity and floral notes. Some of us found it a little too light and bitter while others loved the subtlety of it. The texture is silky and there’s a hint of cocoa in the body of the coffee. Each 1lb bag can make 1.5 gallons of cold brew.
Cafe Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic
- Roast: Medium-dark
- Origins: Honduras
- Use for Pour-over
- Certifications: Sharing Certified Program, orgnaic
If you need a big bag (5lb) of no-fuss coffee that’s an easy-going medium roast AND is organic, this is one of the best options. Café Don Pablo’s Subtle Earth Organic is smooth chocolatey notes. This product is GMO-free and sourced from Honduras through the Sharing Certified Program. The beans are roasted in small batches in Café Don Pablo’s AIB Food Safety Certified US roasting facility.
We tried it numerous ways and found pour-over gave it the best flavor, with cold brew coming in a close second. The medium-dark roast is far closer to medium than dark and doesn’t work too well with espresso. Coarser grinds work well here. The flavor is good but not outstanding. If I have to qualify it, I’d say this is an everyday cup of coffee rather than a special occasion one.
You can also find it in 2lb bags and single-serve cups (that might be compatible with your pod coffee maker) but there’s no indication if the packaging is as organic and good for the environment as the coffee is!
Peru Approcassi Cajamarca
- Roast: Medium
- Origins: Naranjas, Cajamarca, Peru
- Use with a French press
- Certifications: Organic, Shade-Grown
A very smooth, delicious organic single-origin coffee that can be pinpointed back to the town of Naranjas in the North Andean province of Cajamarca in Peru. The “Approcassi” in the title isn’t a location – it’s the name of the Fairtrade group of farmers that produce the coffee beans for Rhoadsroast.
It’s not clear from our research whether this particular blend is USDA Certified Organic, as there’s no seal that we can see or official statement other than it being labeled “organic”. Nonetheless, Rhoadsroast has a dedicated webpage for their certifications and go into detail about how these Peruvian farmers grow on small acre plots using indigenous methods and chemical-free wet milling processes.
The medium roast is excellent for the French press every morning (we haven’t had the chance to test the light and dark roasts) and has a subtle, pleasant flavor. Mellow notes of milk chocolate and almonds create a sweet and creamy flavor with a smooth body and minimal bitterness.
There is a touch of acidity but overall we’d call this a mild and gentle coffee that creates a bold but comforting flavor when made with French press.
Equal Exchange Organic
- Roast: Medium Vienna roast
- Origins: Latin America, Africa, and Asia
- Use with a drip coffee maker
- Certifications: Kosher Pareve Certified by the Orthodox Union, organic certification by the USDA
A medium-light bean that’s ideal for your standard drip coffee maker. Whether you want to inject a bit more flavor into the office coffee maker or need a reliable coffee on standby at home, this is a really good organic option. It works so well in drip makers, giving you a creamy and balanced flavor with a smooth body and notes of almonds, vanilla, chocolate, and brown sugar.
Equal Exchange use a variety of beans for the Mind Body and Soul blend that we reviewed. It works well and is expertly balanced with complexity and richness. This is a sweet dessert caffeine beverage that you can enjoy after dinner.
All farms where the beans are sourced from are organic certified by USDA and Equal Exchange have also gone to the trouble of certifying their beans as Kosher with the Orthodox Union. It comes as whole beans (our recommendation) or pre-ground to the right size for your drip machine.
Finally, we like that Equal Exchange hold themselves to higher standards than the Fairtrade certification, labeling their coffee as fairly traded and calling out Fairtrade is an interesting statement.
Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company
- Roast: Unroasted
- Origins: Cordillera Central, Colombia
- Use for espresso and Aeropress
- Certifications: Fairtrade, SVK Kosher, organic certification by the USDA
Green beans! Yep, you’ll need to roast these yourself. Luckily, the bag contains 5lb so you’ve plenty to experiment with different roast levels and grind types. We found that medium and dark roasts suit it well as they bring out a refreshing sweet acidity with the complex, full-bodied and smooth organic flavor. Roast them on the stove in a pan, or try a dedicated coffee roasting machine, which allows you to be a bit more precise.
As for their certifications, all of Dean’s coffee and sugar are organic certified and farmers are paid “well above” the Fairtrade minimum. Dean also invests back into the community, funding development projects and encouraging responsible ecological practices. Also, all employees of Dean’s Beans receive 100% paid for healthcare! We’re a little jealous, we must admit. You can tell that this brand genuinely cares and isn’t just looking to bump their marketing with an organic logo.
Road Roast Organic Colombian Coffee
- Roast: Unroasted
- Origins: Magdalena, Colombia
- Use with French press, drip maker
- Certifications: Organic Certified, Smithsonian Bird Certified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified
Unlike the previous organic Colombian bean, Road Roast’s Magdalena sourced Colombian coffee has a milder acidity and softer notes that work better with a slower French press and drip coffee makers than the espresso. Although to be fair, it tastes pretty spectacular any way you brew it. If you don’t fancy roasting the beans at home, it’s also available in the standard dark, medium and light roast options. It tastes better if you do it yourself, naturally.
It’s sweet and dark chocolatey with caramel and cherry notes entwined with a rounded coffee body. Acidity gets stronger with darker roasts, but it’s relatively mild compared to other Colombian beans, especially organic ones.
Road Roast certifications are pretty good. USDA Organic, as you’d expect, plus the Rainforest Alliance certification and the Smithsonian Bird Certification, which ensures the habitat of migratory birds is preserved in rainforests.
This is an excellent coffee to bring out when your fancy connoisseur friend shows up. Impress them with the knowledge that this South America coffee is grown at 1700m ASL, harvested between October and January, wet and dry milled, then patio dried.
Namaste Gourmet Organic Coffee Beans
- Roast: Dark
- Origins: Colombia and Indonesia
- Use for espresso
- Certifications: Organic, Fairtrade
If you’re desperate for an organic coffee that really knocks your socks off, this is the one for you. Most organic beans are grown without chemical fertilizers, herbicides/pesticides, etc. which sometimes results in weaker flavor and texture. That’s not the case with Namaste Nectar of Life. This dark roast has a powerful, intense flavor with low acidity and virtually non-existent sourness/bitterness. As such, we recommend it for espresso! It’s lovely to drink black, without milk.
Earthy notes blend with chocolate, nuts, and smoke in a full-bodied and complex blend of beans from Colombia and Indonesia. The mixed origins have no impact on the certifications, which are organic certified by the USDA and Fairtrade. It’s entirely GMO-free too.
The bag (10oz or 1lb) of whole bean dark roast has a degassing valve. Combined with the small batch roast method (used in FDA-certified roasting facilities), this coffee arrives very fresh and stays fresh for longer. Just a quick warning, this coffee is quite high in caffeine!
Cameron’s Organic Costa Rican Coffee
- Roast: Medium
- Origins: Costa Rica
- Use with a French press or drip coffee maker
- Certifications: Organic
Cameron’s Organic Costa Rican Coffee is a simple medium roast that creates a robust, floral and fruity coffee that’s well balanced and very easy to slurp down. You don’t have to think too hard to enjoy the flavors or detect subtle notes. Just brew it and enjoy it.
It works best with a French press and a drip machine, as they balance the body with the full flavor and sweetness. It also tastes excellent with milk. If you have an espresso maker, definitely try it as a latte!
Besides the USDA Certified Organic logo, Cameron also partners with Coffee Kids to collaborate with the coffee farmer youngsters who’ll inherit the family coffee farm. Encouraging eco-practices, sustainable farming and organic methods for future generations to use.
The entire organic line from Cameron is shade-grown and includes other single-origin beauties from Colombia, Honduras, Peru, and Sumatra.
Make sure you check out the price of this organic Costa Rican coffee on Amazon, as it’s currently unavailable in Cameron’s online store.
Marley Coffee One Love
- Roast: Medium
- Origins: Ethiopia
- Use for: Drip coffee
- Certifications: Soil Association Organic, Fairtrade
Organic coffee inspired by the legacy of Bob Marley? Yes, please! Marley’s organic medium roast ground coffee, named One Love, is a delicious, smooth and exotic blend of 100% Ethiopian coffee beans. It’s so smooth, it just slides across your palate with ease! There’s also a hint of berry that only some of the Coffee Dorks could detect.
It arrives as whole beans, pre-ground or in special plastic-free cups. We were excited to see that there’s an organic decaf option from Marley too!
Soil Association Organic is a British certification that you might not be familiar with. We scrolled through the requirements for an hour or so to get a feel of what the requirements were. Boy were they extensive! To get the tiny logo on the bag of coffee, everything is scrutinized and inspected. From the coffee farms to the packaging, everything needs to be inline. It’s not just enough for the coffee to be grown organically, it must also be stored correctly and packaged in organic packaging that’s non-GMO.
There are actually quite a lot of excellent standard organic coffees out there! As we discovered when we tested them, the extra cost for organic coffee types is worth it. Generally, you get a lot more than just an organic stamp on the bag. The quality of the coffee is of a higher standard too! Colombia, Indonesia, and Central America are where the heart of organic coffee is, but we’re glad to see some Ethiopian blends make the list too as African countries join the organic bandwagon.
Final tip: even though we’ve highlighted the best way to brew each coffee bean, they’re all pretty superb any which way you brew them. Select by choosing from the flavor notes and roast type first!
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.
Is organic coffee better for health?
Organic coffee tends to be higher in antioxidants, which are good for your health. The bigger benefit of switching to organic is a reduced exposure to potentially harmful chemicals from pesticides and fertilizers.
What is the difference between regular coffee and organic coffee?
Organic coffee is grown without chemicals, which means only natural herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers are used, like manure, if at all. Organic coffee is typically better for the environment, healthier for you, and has a clearer, more natural taste without metallic/chemical notes.
Is coffee full of pesticides?
Non-organic coffee beans may be sprayed with pesticides while they are growing. How much pesticide is left on the bean is dependent on whether it was ‘burnt off’ by roasting the beans or simply washed off during processing. The FDA strictly regulates pesticides and chemicals in food and drink, but if you’re still worried you can simply choose to buy certified organic coffee.