Organic Coffee: A Guide

What does organic actually mean in the world of coffee?

Traceability has always been important in the coffee world – but with so many labels flying around, it can be confusing. Here, we focus on organic coffee. What makes your cuppa organic? Does it taste better? And which brands are certified?  Find out everything you need to know below.

Organic Coffee: A Guide

What Is Organic Coffee?

Across the food and drink industry, organic is a legally protected term. This means a brand or product has been certified by an approved control body such as The Soil Association, following an assessment of certain criteria surrounding farming and production. As The Soil Association outlines: ‘organic farmers aim to produce high-quality food, using methods that benefit our whole food system, from people to planet, plant health to animal welfare.’ Some standards are set out by law, while others are specific to individual control bodies. 

When it comes to coffee, the main organic principles are to do with the way the beans have been farmed. Organic coffee has been grown without the use of pesticides, chemicals or artificial fertilisers – instead, the farming process involves nourishing plants naturally and focusing on soil health. Often this means the growing process takes longer, as a rotation plan must be put in place to prevent erosion and naturally control pests.

sustainable coffee

Does Organic Coffee Taste Better?

Of course it’s all about individual preference, but many believe all organic products are higher quality than their non-organic counterparts: better soil health results in healthier plants. As a result of the natural growing process, organic coffee often has a fruitier or nuttier flavour, and some fans argue it has a smoother feel.

Best Organic Coffee Brands

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Grind coffee


The pretty pink packaging isn’t the only reason to love Grind. The London-based coffee roaster creates home-compostable, plastic-free coffee pods that are certified organic by The Soil Association. Choose from a range of different blends, from the classic House to Dark Decaf. Alongside this, Grind has cafes dotted all over the capital – pop in for an organic cuppa and tasty brunch.

10 Pod Box from £5, grind.co.uk

Daylesford House Blend Ground Coffee Bag


One of the UK’s most famous organic farms is Daylesford – based in the Cotswolds, but with shops dotted around the country. These sell the brand’s own range of organic coffee, with both beans and ground on offer. You can’t go wrong with the House Blend, a medium-dark roast blend with a sweet taste.

House Blend Ground Coffee Bag, £7.99, daylesford.com

Fairtrade Organic Medium Roast Arabica Coffee 100g


You’ll no doubt have seen Clipper coffee on the supermarket shelves, but did you know its products are organic? Founded in 1984 by a husband-and-wife team, it began as a tea brand, later branching into the world of coffee. Choose from instant and ground, with a range of different blends including Latin American, Italian-style and decaffeinated. All coffees are made with Fairtrade beans too.

Fairtrade Organic Medium Roast Arabica Coffee 100g, £7.59, shop.clipper-teas.com

Union Coffee


This east London roastery puts ethical sourcing front and centre. Launched back in 2001 by two scientists, it was one of the first UK roasters to trade directly with coffee farmers, focusing on high-quality specialty coffee. Most of its coffee is grown under organic conditions, yet not all of it is certified. There are two blends that are: the Natural Spirit Organic Blend, which has notes of candied lemon, fudge and chocolate truffle; and the Yirgacheffe Organic Ethiopia, a light and floral blend with notes of peach and toffee.

Natural Spirit Organic Blend, £7.35, unionroasted.com

Owens coffee


Based in Devon, this pioneering roaster was the first dedicated organic coffee roaster in the South West of England. Beans are grown organically with no chemicals, in a slower process which creates a fuller flavour profile. Blends include Gara, which won UK’s Best Organic Coffee in the Soil Association BOOM Awards in 2019, featuring notes of fruit, smoke and earth.

Gara – Organic & Fairtrade, £6.30, owenscoffee.com