What Is Coffee Mold
Coffee mold is simply a fungus that grows on most foods that are left in wet and warm environments. Specific to food mold, scientists call them foodborne mold “mycotoxins”, and in this case “Ochratoxin A and Aflatoxin”.
Yes, I know that sounds scary. But it’s not, which brings to mind Shakespeare’s play “Much To Do About Nothing”. By and large, these toxins are mostly harmless, unless taken in large doses over long periods of time.
Will Coffee Mold Make You Sick
Most likely not. On the rare chance that mold is in your coffee, for most people, the effects to the human body are usually unnoticeable, that is unless your body is sensitive to mold. You “might” get an upset stomach. You “might” get a headache. But either way the effects are temporary and most unlikely.
Let’s suppose you are one of those very rare people that are particularly sensitive to coffee mold, then you’re going to be happy to hear that there is a very simple solution to this issue. I’ll get to that in a moment.
How Does Mold Get In Your Coffee
Generally speaking, finding mold on your coffee beans is extremely rare or in such small amounts, you’d never know nor care. Even the Federal Food and Drug Administration when testing coffee beans, very rarely find mold in or on coffee.
Remember that mold grows when you add a food source, water, and heat. Fortunately, that allows us to identify only a few places and times where it’s possible, for mold to grow on your coffee. Those places and times include:
Insufficiently Dried Beans
After the coffee growers wash the beans with water, the beans are laid in the sun to dry. If the beans are not completely dried when they are put into burlap bags, then mold could possibly grow on the coffee beans.
Poor Storage of Burlap Bags
If the burlap bags are not stored properly, i.e., stored in a warm and wet environment, then again, mold could grow at this time.
Old Stale Beans
After roasting the beans, they are put into bags or cans. Unfortunately, a vast majority of coffee sold in the U.S. sit in warehouses or on store shelves for months if not years. If mold is going to grow on your coffee, then this is the most likely time and place.
You Storing Beans Incorrectly
Once you get your coffee home, if you open the bag or can and then leave the coffee in a moist and warm environment for long periods of time, then mold has a fairly good opportunity to grow.
Dirty Brewing Equipment
Lastly, your coffee grinder and brewer, if in a moist and warm environment, could contain coffee mold.
How To Avoid Coffee Mold
- Buy good quality whole beans.
- Stay away from coffee k-cup pods. Typically, k-cups contain the lowest quality and the oldest coffee on the market.
- Keep your beans in an air-tight container, which is also kept in a dry cool place.
- Once you open your new coffee bag or can, use all your coffee within 30 days.
- Don’t be cheap. If the beans don’t look right or smell right, the toss them out.
- Keep your coffee grinder and coffee brewer clean and dry.
- Buy whole bean coffee. Whole bean coffee is much less likely to grow coffee mold than ground coffee.
- Grind your beans right before brewing your coffee.
The Secret To Finding The Best Mold Free Coffee
First of all, mold in your coffee is very rare. Unless you are sensitive to molds, then you don’t have much to worry about. But let’s say, that you just want good coffee and don’t want to worry about mold. The solution is quite simple.
1 – Roasting Coffee Kills Mold
Here’s the good news. If by some weird chance that mold does get on the green coffee beans, a coffee roaster heats up to 400 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that any possible mold will be burnt off during roasting.
Here’s the problem. A vast majority of the roasted coffee sold in the U.S. has been sitting in warehouses and on store shelves for months if not years. This is the primary source of coffee mold. Letting roasted coffee to sit in dank warehouses for months on end should be a crime. It’s enough to make a professional coffee roaster cry.
2 – Solution – Fresh Roasted Coffee
So the solution is to buy fresh roasted coffee. What do we mean by “fresh”? Look for coffee bags with a Roast Date that’s no more than four weeks before you purchase the coffee. With coffee that fresh, you can easily drink that coffee without having to worry about coffee mold.
Here’s the problem. Large industrial coffee companies almost never print a roast date on the bag. Even local coffee shops very rarely post a roast date. Those few local roasters that do display a roast date, that date is very seldom less than four weeks old.
Where To Find Fresh Roasted Mold Free Coffee
Here at Lake City Coffee, Alisha and I spend months taste testing dozens of beans to find the smoothest, non-bitter beans that money can buy. We’re also looking for prominent notes of chocolate, nut, and citrus. Our beans are all grown by small independent farmers in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. Why Costa Rican coffee? First of all Costa Rica’s primary income source is “Echo Tourism”. That means that all farming in Costa Rica is basically uber-organic. Costa Rica’s ecological farming is second to none.
Every Tuesday morning we roast, date stamp, and ship our coffee. In fact, your coffee is still warm when we put the coffee bags into the USPS Priority Mail box. That means our coffee is delivered “From Our Roaster To Your Table In 24-72 Hours”. With coffee this fresh, we always deliver mold free coffee.