Understand the Simple but Surprising Difference between Organic and Inorganic Coffee

A lot of people wonder what the difference is between organic vs inorganic coffee. Others simple assume it has to do with the pesticides and fertilizer and other chemicals that they use. Some think it has to do with genetically-modified plants. And this is all part of it, but there’s one other simple fact that differentiates organic and conventional coffee. But first, let’s start with the economics.


There are many factors that go into the price of a pound of coffee, and certainly you can find many types of organic coffee that aren’t as expensive as inorganic coffee. A high-quality, hard-to-cultivate Arabica will more than likely cost more than a widely available Robusta coffee. But, nevertheless, pound-for-pound, dollar-for-dollar, and bean-for-bean, organic coffee tends to be more expensive.


There’s a reason for this added cost, and it’s probably not what you think. Many people assume the cost has something to do with the natural fertilizers and pesticides, but the bigger factor is that coffee is naturally a shaded plant. This means organic coffee is also planted, cultivated, and harvested in forested areas. This limits the types of land that can be used or else increases the planting time, but an even bigger factor is that the coffee can’t be planted as densely and the total cultivation costs are higher for the yield.


There’s also the question of taste. Organic coffee grown naturally in the shade of trees has a slightly different quality to its taste, but trying to pick out this influence among dozens of other factors takes a sensitive and experienced palette. It also doesn’t compare to things like freshness and proper storage. But there you have it. Hopefully, this explanation has helped you understand the difference between organic and inorganic coffee.

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