Coffee drinkers: Do you belong to the coffee/good, or the coff

Coffee drinkers: Do you belong to the coffee/good, or the coffee/bad camp?

Originally posted September 20, 5:58 PM
Natalie Rotunda - Organic Food Examiner (sf examiner)

As one of those who chose to hop aboard the organic eating lifestyle, let me tell you that the best benefit, one of the things I appreciate most, is the means to eliminate pesticides from the foods I eat. But reducing or eliminating pesticides from what I drink is just as important.

For most of my life, sipping a cup or two of honey-sweetened coffee in the company of loved ones and friends has ranked high on my list of life’s simple pleasures. Maybe the origin of that pleasure dates back to a time when a loved one introduced me to the black brew. I was about four years old.

My Dad was a college professor in my hometown. In his office just down the hall from his classroom, he kept a percolator coffeepot and a can of famous-brand coffee on his desk. Every Saturday, Dad and I headed to his office, the site of the great introduction. Before he began the brewing process, however, we’d head down the street to a local bakery where I was allowed to pick out one or two goodies.

While we waited for the coffee to finish perking, Dad did teacher-type things and I did little kid things. To delight my little-girl heart, Dad had bought two sets of small china cups and saucers, beautifully decorated with flowers; one set in yellow, the other in blue. Into one of the cups, he poured a tiny amount of the fresh brew, then filled his regular-sized cup to the brim. He’d break out the goodies, and what took place next was a father-daughter kaffeklatsch regularly held in that second-floor office whose window overlooked a tree-lined street below. To this day, the aroma of fresh coffee transports me back to those very happy times. 

Today, my parents, both coffee-drinkers extraordinaire, would be surprised to learn that there is such a thing as organically-grown coffee. It’s what I buy. Because it’s more expensive than the pesticide-laden brands that fill traditional grocery store shelves, admittedly, I’ve had to cut down on the quantity. The food coop where we do most of our shopping provides airtight bulk bins that keep the coffee beans fresh. Thus, we control how much we spend. Earlier this week, I bought six ounces of organic coffee, whose per-pound cost is $11.99, for 74-cents an ounce. Right now, a 13-ounce brick of a famous name brand goes for $3.99, or 31-cents an ounce. Really, it’s a difference I can live with. 

For quite a while, a battle has raged between coffee/good and coffee/bad supporters. coffee/bad supporters. Thanks to evidence mounting on behalf of coffee/good supporters, I’ve been encouraged not to chuck my daily cuppa. What researchers are finding is that a cup-and-a-half of coffee supplies 1,200 mg. of total antioxidants that may be helping in the fight to reduce the risks of liver, diabetes and colon cancer. Whoa, now that’s news I can rejoice over!

But bear in mind two things: First, these goody benefits apply to drinkers of organically-grown coffee only. Second, moderation is the key. That’s why I can live with the higher cost of organic coffee---I shouldn’t be sitting down with a pot of coffee every day anyway, and the cost pretty well guarantees that I won’t

One more thing about drinking organic coffee---it really does taste better. I’m guessing that my palate has been re-educated to appreciate total coffee flavor that no longer has to compete with the nasty pesticides and their aftertaste found in famous-brand coffees.

For that and other reasons, I’m happy to leave the 13-ounce bricks of pesticide-laden coffee on the grocery store shelf.

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