First: Why does coffee even get mold?
The journey from crop to cup is a colorful one. Grab a cup of mold-free coffee because we could take hours to explain the coffee route. Just enough time for an espresso? Then here is a summary of all the things affecting mold growth in coffee:
Coffee growing regions
By now, you know coffee isn’t a Scandinavian staple crop. Coffee beans grow in tropical climates. It stands to reason that a hot and humid climate naturally poses a higher risk of mold growth.
Getting rid of the outer layer of coffee, the mucilage, can require large amounts of water (washed processing). If not dried properly, coffee beans become a perfect growth spot for mold.
An even higher risk of coffee mold happens during natural processing. There, the outer pulp layer of the coffee cherry isn’t washed off but being left to dry. Dry processing your coffee takes longer, and the beans spend more time wrapped around the pulpy, humid outer layer.
Most of the time, green coffee beans travel weeks before they reach the roastery. During the trip, they are packed in big burlap sacks. What’s the problem there, you might think? Well, burlap is made of jute, which is basically cellulose. And guess where the most toxic mold grows on? You got it—natural fibers like cellulose. (Thankfully, our coffee beans take a healthier route).
But the presence of mold itself isn’t necessarily a health issue. Not all mold is harmful to your health.
However, certain types of mold produce nasty compounds called mycotoxins: the nasty culprits behind potential health issues.