4 Best Organic Mold-Free Coffee Brands (No Mycotoxins)

TheRoundup is reader supported. We may earn a small commission when you make a purchase via links on this site, at no cost to you.
All products are personally reviewed and tested in accordance with our Review Methodology.

James Miller
By 
James is an environmentalist, sustainability expert and senior editor at TheRoundup, specializing in testing non-toxic, organic and eco-friendly products. James, his wife and two daughters believe in chemical-free and zero-waste living. They aim to leave the planet in a better state than we found it, for future generations to enjoy.
James Miller
Category: 
Updated: June 18, 2024

Did you know your coffee might contain mold, which can affect its flavor and harm your health?

If that sounds as awful to you as it did to me, you'll realize how crucial it is that you choose the right brands.

But I was surprised by how hard it is to find genuinely mold-free coffee. That's because many brands don't provide the information you need to make an informed choice.

I'm a newly converted coffee enthusiast (I used to drink only green tea) and I'm very particular about my health. So I decided to fully test and research the best mold-free coffee options for a safer, healthier brew.

The four mold and mycotoxin free coffee brands I'm recommending today tick all the boxes. They offer top quality, great tasting coffee without the health hazards...

My Favorite Mold-Free Coffee Brands of 2024

Quick Picks

Product Tested: Geisha
Type: Whole Bean or Ground
Certifications: B Corp, Fair Trade
Sourcing: Honduras Coffee Farms
Mold Testing: Yes (Private Results)
Convenience: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Intensity: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Value: ⭐⭐⭐

Why It's My #1 Pick: Geisha from Spirit Animal is one of the best coffees I've ever drunk. With a Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) score of 91.0, it's Presidential-grade and the highest quality of all the brands I tested.

Personal Experience: I become a little obsessed with trying to describe the taste of this single-origin coffee.

It starts with bright citrus notes, followed by a sweet, peachy finish. Or if that makes me sound like too much of a coffee snob, I'll just say it's genuinely delicious.

I also loved how the coffee's clarity and complexity came through beautifully when drip brewing.

I tested the whole bean version because I felt that grinding the beans just before brewing enhanced the freshness. However, there's a ground option also available if you prefer.

About the Brand: Spirit Animal Coffee aims to shift wealth and improve the livelihoods of Honduran coffee growers. They own the entire supply chain, which ensures more revenue stays within Honduras.

The company selects only the top 1% of beans. These beans are grown using environmentally friendly, organic practices.

That's how they consistently achieve an SCA score above 87 points.

Pros & Cons

Bright, complex, and well-balanced taste
Environmentally friendly and supports local communities
Roasted at the source for peak freshness
Lab-tested for purity and quality
Available in whole bean and pre-ground options
One of the more expensive coffees I tested
Limited availability due to small batch production

Verified Customer Reviews

  • Delightful
    It's so smooth and sweet. You don't even need to add sugar to this brew.

    Makayla H
    ★★★★★

  • Lovely
    Full-bodied flavour without any sharpness.

    Deevine U.
    ★★★★★

  • No Sugar Needed
    Definitely the sweetest cup I ever had, would recommend it to anyone addicted to sugar.

    Drew A
    ★★★★★

Product Tested: The Original
Type: Whole Bean or Ground
Certifications: Rainforest Alliance
Sourcing: Single Origin, High Altitude, Arabica
Mold Testing: Yes (Private Results)
Convenience: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Intensity: ⭐⭐⭐
Value: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why It's Best for French Press / Keurig / K Cups: Bulletproof was the most versatile brand I tested. Its ground and pod coffee produced fantastic results across different brewing methods.

Personal Experience: I loved this coffee's complex flavor profile. It's not intense but has distinct notes of cinnamon and plum, balanced by a subtle citrus undertone and a rich cocoa finish.

My preferred brewing method during testing was a French press. I felt it helped fully extract the coffee's natural oils. The medium roast provided a smooth and balanced cup.

I also found this coffee worked well with a Keurig machine. I prefer a Keurig that accepts ground coffee (zero plastic waste). However, Bulletproof Coffee is also available in single-use pod format if you prefer.

About the Brand: The brand is well-known for its "Bulletproof Coffee" (a blend of coffee, MCT oil, and grass-fed butter). It only uses high-quality, clean ingredients free from GMOs, soy, gluten, and artificial fillers.

Bulletproof sources its coffee beans from small farms in Central and South America. It adheres to organic farming practices without the official USDA certification.

Bulletproof tests its coffee for mycotoxins but keeps the results private. More transparency would be better.

Pros & Cons

Works well with French Press, Keurig, and K Cups
Rainforest Alliance Certified beans
Rigorous testing for toxins and impurities
Available in whole bean and pre-ground options
Supports sustained energy and mental clarity
Lack of publicly available lab results
Product Tested: Flow
Type: Whole Bean Only
Certifications: USDA Organic, Smithsonian Bird Friendly, Rainforest Alliance
Sourcing: High-Altitude, Arabica Beans
Mold Testing: Yes (Public Results)
Convenience: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Intensity: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Value: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why It's the Best USDA Organic: This was easily the best-tasting USDA-certified organic coffee brand I tested. The certification process involves strict guidelines and regular inspections. This gave me added confidence in the purity and quality of the coffee.

Personal Experience: I found that the most effective way to use these beans was in my bean-to-cup coffee machine. This method produced a smooth coffee that lacked the bitterness of some of the other brands I tested.

The high antioxidant content enhanced my energy levels and mental clarity throughout the day.

About the Brand: Purity Coffee sources high-altitude Arabica beans from farms in Indonesia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Brazil.

The company is committed to fair pay for everyone in the supply chain.

I was pleased to see that Purity Coffee is more open about its mold testing practices than most brands.

Pros & Cons

Rich notes of roasted nuts, dark chocolate, and apple
Supports overall health and wellness
Regenerative farming techniques
Detailed lab results available online
Nitrogen-flushed packaging for long-lasting freshness
Limited to medium roast for Flow
Product Tested: Grizzly Claw Dark Roast
Type: Whole Bean or Ground
Certifications: USDA Organic, Fairtrade
Sourcing: 100% Arabica Beans from South America, Central America, Africa and Indonesia
Mold Testing: Yes (Private Results)
Convenience: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Intensity: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Value: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Why It's the Best for Cold Brew and Affordability: With seasonal and Subscribe & Save discounts, Kicking Horse coffee is often available on Amazon at a lower price than all other organic coffee roasters. 

The intense flavor and dark roast also made it my favorite cold-brew cup of coffee I tested.

Personal Experience: I experimented with different brewing methods, and each produced impressive results. The French press brought out the coffee's full-bodied nature. The pour-over method highlighted its more subtle flavors.

However, Grizzly Claw's dark roast and intense flavor profile were perfect for the cold brewing process. It produced an incredibly smooth, bold, and slightly sweet cup. 

About the Brand: Kicking Horse Coffee started 25 years ago in a small garage in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Over the years, the brand has grown significantly. However, it remains fully committed to producing quality USDA Organic and Fair Trade certified coffee.

Pros & Cons

Deep notes of dark chocolate and roasted hazelnut
Excellent value for high-quality coffee
Works well with various brewing methods, especially cold brew
Reliable quality and flavor in every bag.
Detailed lab results are not publicly available

How I Tested

Thorough testing was essential before I could make any recommendations. The key factors I prioritized during my tests included the following.

Taste

Mold-free doesn't have to mean flavor-free! So I sampled each coffee to ensure it was rich, smooth, and enjoyable.

Aroma

The smell of coffee is a big part of the experience.

I evaluated the aroma of each coffee, noting any off or musty odors that might indicate mold.

Third-Party Testing and Certifications

I prioritized brands that undergo rigorous third-party testing.

I cover certifications in more detail later in this article.

Transparency in Lab Results

Brands that openly share their lab results scored extra points during testing.

This level of transparency helps build trust.

Source of Coffee Beans

I thoroughly investigated where the beans were grown.

High-altitude regions are less prone to mold, making them preferable.

Brewing Ease

Convenience is important. I tested how easy it was to brew each coffee.

Price / Value

I compared the price to the quality and benefits.

Finding a good balance ensures you get bang for your buck.

Reviews

I read numerous customer reviews and compared them with my own first-hand experience.

This helped gauge real-world satisfaction and potential future issues.

Shipping

Fast, reliable, and sustainable shipping is a must.

I assessed how well the coffee was packaged and how quickly it arrived.

What Are the Types of Mold and Other Contaminates Found in Coffee?

Ochratoxin A (OTA)

Several species of Aspergillus and Penicillium molds produce this toxin.

It's known for harming kidneys and is classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Aflatoxin

Produced by Aspergillus molds, aflatoxins are well-documented for their carcinogenic properties and potential to cause liver damage.

These toxins can develop at various stages of coffee production, from harvesting to storage.

Acrylamide

Acrylamide forms during the roasting process of coffee beans through the Maillard reaction.

This chemical has been linked to cancer in animal studies and is considered a potential human carcinogen.

Higher roasting temperatures and longer roasting times can increase acrylamide levels in coffee.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

PAHs are formed when organic material burns incompletely. They can develop during the coffee roasting process, especially at high temperatures.

Some PAHs have been classified as carcinogens, posing health risks with long-term exposure.

Proper roasting techniques can help minimize their presence.

Yeast

Yeast can contaminate coffee during the fermentation process.

While most yeast species are harmless, some can cause spoilage and affect the coffee's flavor.

Specific yeasts might produce mycotoxins in rare cases.

How Does Coffee Get Contaminated with Mold?

Mold contamination in coffee can occur at several points from the farm to your cup.

Cultivation and Processing

Coffee beans are often grown in tropical climates. High humidity and temperatures in these areas can encourage mold growth.

During harvesting, improper handling can expose beans to moisture, promoting mold development.

Inadequate drying processes can leave beans with excess moisture. This creates an ideal environment for mold.

Environmental Conditions

Beans stored in humid or damp conditions are prone to mold growth.

Poor ventilation and a lack of proper storage facilities can make the situation worse.

Home Storage Practices

Even after processing, mold can develop in humid environments.

Store coffee in cool, dry places using airtight containers to prevent this.

What Are the Health Risks Associated with Mold in Coffee?

The presence of mycotoxins in coffee poses several health risks, which can range from mild to severe.

Potential symptoms of mycotoxin exposure include the following.

Neurological

  • Headaches: Persistent and severe headaches
  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or unsteady
  • Cognitive Impairment: Difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and brain fog
  • Mood Changes: Anxiety, depression, and irritability

Respiratory

  • Coughing: Chronic cough that doesn't go away
  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing, wheezing
  • Sinus Issues: Congestion, runny nose, and sinus infections
  • Asthma-Like Symptoms: Worsening of asthma or development of asthma-like symptoms

Digestive

  • Nausea: Constant feeling of needing to vomit
  • Vomiting: Actual vomiting episodes
  • Diarrhea: Frequent, loose, or watery stools
  • Abdominal Pain: Cramps and discomfort in the stomach area.

Immune

  • Frequent Infections: Increased susceptibility to colds, flu, and other infections
  • Chronic Fatigue: Persistent tiredness not relieved by rest
  • Autoimmune Reactions: Worsening of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Skin

  • Rashes: Red, itchy, and inflamed skin
  • Dermatitis: Severe skin irritation and peeling
  • Hives: Raised, itchy welts on the skin
  • Dry Skin: Unusual dryness and flakiness

Recognizing these symptoms early can help you take action to avoid prolonged exposure.

If you suspect mycotoxin exposure from moldy coffee, seek immediate medical advice.

What to Look for to Reduce Mold Exposure

Organically Grown

Organically grown coffee is produced without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

This reduces the risk of mold contamination since chemical residues can affect the bean's integrity.

Whole Bean

Whole beans are less processed and exposed to air than ground coffee.

This minimizes the risk of mold growth during storage.

High Altitude

Coffee grown at high altitudes tends to have fewer mold issues.

The cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels help prevent mold development.

Arabica

Arabica beans are often grown in controlled environments and at higher altitudes.

This reduces the likelihood of mold.

Single Origin

Single-origin coffee comes from a single location or farm.

This makes it easier to ensure quality and traceability, reducing the risk of mold.

Wet Process Method

The wet process method involves washing the coffee cherries to remove the pulp before drying.

This method can reduce the chance of mold forming during processing.

Shade Grown

Shade-grown coffee is cultivated under a canopy of trees.
This method supports biodiversity and helps maintain a balanced ecosystem. Both of which can naturally reduce mold growth.

Smokeless Roasting

Smokeless roasting minimizes the formation of harmful contaminants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

It's gentler on the beans and reduces the risk of mold contamination.

Nitrogen-Flushed Bags

Nitrogen-flushed bags remove oxygen from the packaging to preserve freshness and kill mold growth.

Certifications

When searching for mold-free coffee, certifications play a crucial role in ensuring the quality and safety of your brew.

Here are some top certifications to look for:

  • USDA Organic: Guarantees that the coffee is grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Rainforest Alliance: This organization ensures that coffee is produced with environmental, social, and economic sustainability in mind.
  • Fair Trade: Focuses on fair labor practices and sustainable farming. This includes better handling and processing practices that reduce the risk of mold contamination.
  • Bird Friendly: Farms must meet organic standards and provide a shaded canopy that supports bird populations.
  • UTZ: This certification includes guidelines for proper storage and handling, which can help minimize mold contamination.
  • Demeter: The benchmark for biodynamic agriculture. It goes beyond certified organic standards.

You can read more about green certifications in my A-Z of Eco Labelling article.

Tips for Minimizing Coffee Mold Risk at Home

Storage

Store your coffee beans in an airtight container to protect them from moisture and air.

Keep the container in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight. This helps prevent mold growth and preserves freshness.

Only Grind What You Need

Grind your coffee beans just before brewing.

This minimizes exposure to air and moisture, which can lead to mold development.

I also believe that freshly ground coffee tastes better!

Buy in Small Quantities

Purchase smaller amounts of coffee more frequently to ensure it stays fresh and mold-free.

Buying in bulk can lead to longer storage times, increasing the risk of mold development.

Use Desiccant Packs

Include food-grade desiccant packs in your coffee storage container to absorb excess moisture.

Make sure the desiccant packs are safe for use with food products and replace them regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

Inspect Regularly

Check your coffee beans regularly for signs of mold. Look for discoloration, fuzzy growths, or musty smells.

If you find any signs of mold, discard the affected beans immediately to prevent contamination of the rest.

Healthy Coffee Brewing Tips

Avoid Pods

Most coffee pods contain single-use plastics that contribute significantly to environmental waste.

Switch to reusable options like a French press or a pour-over system (V60 or Chemex, for example)to minimize waste and exposure to potential toxins.

Plastic-Free Brewing Equipment

Using plastic-free brewing equipment reduces the risk of harmful chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates contaminating your coffee.

Opt for stainless steel, glass, or ceramic brewers to ensure a cleaner, healthier brew.

Use Filtered Water

Water quality is crucial in coffee brewing.

Tap water can contain impurities like chlorine and heavy metals.

Use filtered water to improve the taste and safety of your coffee.

Cold Brew in the Fridge

If you like to cold brew your coffee, you should do so in the fridge instead of at room temperature.

This reduces the risk of bacterial growth and mold and gives a smoother, less acidic flavor.

Why You Need to Be Extra Careful with Decaf

When choosing decaffeinated coffee, it's essential to opt for naturally processed options and be mindful that extra mold might be present.

Swiss Water Process vs. Chemical Extraction

The Swiss Water Process uses water to remove caffeine from coffee beans without chemicals. This method is chemical-free and retains the coffee's flavor and quality.

In contrast, chemical extraction methods like methylene chloride or ethyl acetate can leave residues in the coffee. This can impact both flavor and safety.

Caffeine Kills Mold

Caffeine has natural antifungal properties that help protect coffee beans from mold.

When caffeine is removed during decaffeination, the beans can become more susceptible to mold growth.

Therefore, choosing decaf coffee that has been tested for mycotoxins and is certified mold-free is crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between V60 and Chemex drip brewing?

The difference between V60 and Chemex drip brewing lies mainly in their design and brewing method.

V60 uses a cone-shaped dripper with a single large hole, promoting a faster flow rate and more control over brewing time and technique.

Chemex has a thicker filter and a carafe-like design, resulting in a slower brew and a cleaner, less oily cup of coffee.

Is Starbucks mold-free coffee?

Starbucks coffee is not specifically marketed as mold-free.

While Starbucks follows standard food safety practices and tests for various contaminants, it does not explicitly advertise its coffee as free from mold or mycotoxins.

Can organic coffee still have mold?

Yes, organic coffee can still have mold. Organic certification ensures that the coffee is grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, but it does not guarantee that it has been tested for mold or mycotoxins.

What is the healthiest coffee alternative in the world?

Mushroom-based adaptogenic drinks are the healthiest (and tastiest) coffee alternatives.

My favorites are MUDWTR and Nandaka. My best coffee alternatives article covers both in more detail (and some excellent DIY options).

What are green coffee beans?

Green coffee beans are raw, unroasted coffee beans. These beans are the seeds of the coffee cherry and retain their green color until they are roasted.

Is it healthy to drink coffee daily?

Yes, it is healthy for most people to drink coffee daily. Roasted coffee can provide numerous health benefits, such as increased alertness and improved cognitive function.

The Final Word

Choosing a mold-free coffee brand is essential for both flavor and health.

Now that you understand the risks of mold and mycotoxins in coffee, you'll know how important it is to choose a clean coffee that won't have unwanted side effects.

The mold-free coffee brands I've selected cater to all needs. My #1 pick, Spirit Animal Coffee, is a quality coffee that will suit most people.

For the budget-conscious, Kicking Horse Coffee's value-for-money offerings are well worth a look.

Whichever you choose, I highly recommend you also follow my practical solutions to reduce mold exposure.

That way, you can enjoy a cleaner, healthier, and more delicious coffee experience that's completely free of mold.

James Miller
James Miller
James is an environmentalist, sustainability expert and senior editor at TheRoundup, specializing in testing non-toxic, organic and eco-friendly products. James, his wife and two daughters believe in chemical-free and zero-waste living. They aim to leave the planet in a better state than we found it, for future generations to enjoy.

You May Also Like

Why Trust TheRoundup

Our core values mean we always prioritize sustainability over profit. We carefully evaluate and personally test every product to ensure they meet our high standards. All products recommended in this article were tested in accordance with our Review Methodology.

TheRoundup.org - As Seen On

As Seen On Logos

TheRoundup

Your guide to a green and eco-friendly lifestyle. We offer simple, practical advice that anyone can follow. Together we can make a difference today & save tomorrow.
SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES

All Content ©2024 TheRoundup - All Rights Reserved.

108 E Main St Suite 3 Fredericksburg, TX 78624 | +1-830-904-0838 | [email protected]