Blending Coffees

There has recently been a few customer inquiries concerning some statement made by Bulletproof Executive concerning blending coffees, decaffeinating coffees and the methods by which coffee cherries are processed into ready-to-roast green beans. You can read the article here (http://www.bulletproofexec.com/why-bad-coffee-makes-you-weak/).
We felt that some of the comments made in this article over-simplify and generalize some of the issues and felt it worth of a response to our customers.
The implications of mycotoxins in our bodies are certainly true.  Low cost, low quality, commercial grade coffees (found in the major corporate coffee brands) could very well be much higher in these toxins. None of them would be above the maximum allowable levels as set by CFIA or USDA or equivalent bodies around the world for import and safe consumption, but nonetheless they would likely be higher. Most cereals (i.e. grains) are just as high on the list of mycotoxin-containing foodstuffs as coffee.  In fact, one of the studies referenced in the above article mentions this association.
Unfortunately, like with much of the health guru culture prevalent today, this article is over-simplified and generalized to the point of being misleading. For example, just because a coffee is blended doesn’t mean that it is higher in mycotoxins. Yes, all of the major corporate coffee brands blend cheap, low-grade coffee beans with better ones to maintain a certain flavour and price point. These cheap low-grade beans are likely sources of mycotoxins. That said, blending is not necessarily a technique for lowering the cost of production.
For Just Us!, blending brings different flavours from different part of the world together. We carefully track each of the 15 containers we buy every year from origin. We know what care goes into processing, we know how traceable the lots are, and we only buy containers of coffees that taste amazing. Then, sometimes, we blend some of these coffees to get a flavour, aroma and mouthfeel that is interesting and unique or to get an espresso blend that gives a great crema and exquisite fruity aftertaste at the same time. To generalize and say that all blended coffees are going to give you cancer is irresponsible in our opinion.
It also generalizes about decaf and its susceptibility to mold. Although I know caffeine acts as a deterrent for insects, I can’t confirm or deny that caffeine has antifungal properties. That said, at Just Us! we have our decaf green beans decaffeinated every 3-4 months and the beans that we decaffeinate, like all of our coffees, are scoring 83+ points (way above the specialty requirement of 80), taste great, and are processed with no chemicals (only water) and attention to detail. To say that all decaffeinated coffee is “bad news” is again, irresponsible and incorrect. If you’re decaf tastes like “camel sweat” as the article suggests then you are buying low quality coffees which started off with mycotoxins and mold to begin with. In fact, Bulletproof Executive has since reneged on its defamation of decaffeinated coffee. You can read why here (http://www.bulletproofexec.com/why-decaf-coffee-is-back-and-now-bulletproof/).
Lastly, all coffee except for mechanically washed coffees, go through some form of fermentation but fermentation is a process of enzymatic activity, not mold. If molds get involved then it is being poorly processed as the author suggests, but the coffee will taste awful and never make our grade anyway. To associate the fermentation process exclusively with mold is also painting a skewed picture. Beer, wine, sourdough bread, yogurt and countless other things would be contributing to your demise if it were generally true. Amazingly, in the case of cheese and Japanese sake, mold is actually involved in creating the final product, so let’s be clear about what molds in particular we’re talking about and not over-simplify the issue.
Also it should be noted that coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed conventional crops in the world.  That is a good reason to buy organic! Certainly, as the author suggests in another article (http://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-coffee-mistakes-butter-coffee-fatty-coffee-and-more/), organic coffee can still be low quality but do we really need someone to tell us that cheap, low quality coffee (or cheap, low quality anything, really) can contain bad stuff and  is compromising somebody or something along the way to our cup, plate or house hold?
Let’s get this straight: Most certainly cheap and low-quality goods, chemical agriculture, and exploitative practices are the sources of the problems here; not necessarily blended coffee, decaffeination, and the methods of processing coffee at origin.

Joey Pittoello, Director of Coffee