Uncovering the Science of Healthy vs Unhealthy Coffee

Uncovering the Science of Healthy vs Unhealthy Coffee

Have you ever considered how healthy or unhealthy your daily dose of coffee might be?

No, we are not talking about sugar, or dairy cream either. That’s been well-documented already. We’re talking about the quality of the raw ingredients themselves.  

Simply put, we are bringing attention to what’s really inside your daily cup of joe. 

It’s time for us to help uncover the truth behind coffee and its impact on your health all backed by science. 

Stay with us as we walk you through the latest data, research, and findings about what your morning cuppa contains - and exactly how it can affect your body. 

What Really Makes Your Coffee Unhealthy?

Did you know? Over 85% of the world’s coffee is considered “commercial grade coffee,” grown for mass production, sprayed with pesticides, and stored in a way that encourages mould growth. 

All factors can lead to health issues from an average cup of joe.

We think you deserve better than that.

At Balance Coffee, we're on a mission to bring the healthiest range of coffee products to the UK market.

As part of that, we have a role to play in uncovering the facts behind coffee and health to present you with the information you need to make a more conscious choice for your personal wellbeing and longevity. 

This research piece has not been produced to scare you, but to provide you with the education you need to make more informed decisions around your daily brew.

Let's get to it. 

Sadly, the majority of coffee produced globally contains nasties, often present in low-grade coffee which can pose health risks especially if consumed regularly. 

A detailed study conducted by the National Library of Medicine concluded that 91.7% of green coffee beans are contaminated with mould and mycotoxins.

Another study by the National Library of Medicine revealed that 50% of brewed coffee is ‘mouldy’. 

In fact, coffee is one of the largest source of mould and mycotoxins in our food chain.

That’s concerning because it is also one of the top ten commodities traded across the world with a whopping 2.25 billion cups of coffee drunk daily. 

But what do these nasties do to our bodies and should you be concerned? 

The Science 

1. Mould & Mycotoxins

The Facts

Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by mould and can be commonly found in foods that are dried and/or stored for long periods of time like coffee.

According to a study by WebMD, even a small quantity of mycotoxins if ingested can be damaging.

ℹ️ However, the impact of mycotoxins on your body varies with the amount and type that is ingested. 

Below is a list of the various types of mycotoxins found in coffee: 

  • Aflatoxin B1

According to various health studies, Aflatoxin B1 is known to be a harmful carcinogen that can cause cancer.

  • Ochratoxins 

There are three types of Ochratoxins. But Ochratoxin A (OTA, C20H18ClNO6) is the most lethal one for humans, demonstrated in a study which found toxicity levels found in up to 45% of commercial-grade coffee can cause increased oxidative stress.

Additionally, it is shown to be nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, teratogenic, and immunotoxic which means it can be destructive to organs. Another study  classified it as a weak carcinogen for humans. This means if ingested, it may lead to promotion of cancer cells. 

Although some theories suggest that mycotoxins are roasted off during the coffee roasting process, the National Library of Medicine  has concluded that nearly a third of roasted coffees contain Ochratoxin A. 

Figure 1: Mycotoxin exposure from coffee; calculated based on data from Europe (Vd Stegen. 1997)
Should You Be Worried?

There is a large body of data and research on mycotoxins that concludes that ingesting mycotoxins is harmful to your body. 

People who drink low-grade, commercial coffee on a regular basis may also experience short-term effects such as dizziness, headaches, brain fog, anxiety, and irritability. 

The World Health Organisation has also uncovered a troublesome link between high consumption of mould, mycotoxins, and some serious long-term health issues including:

  • Immune deficiencies
  • Cancer 
  • Severe allergies
  • Poisoning 

US Food and Drug Administration has also concluded that ‘mouldy’ coffee can lead to liver failure. 

Key Takeaway

Mould and mycotoxins are present in low-grade, commercial coffee and pose serious health concerns, especially for people who consume it regularly. 

2. Harmful Pesticides 

The Facts

The second culprit and harmful chemical found in unhealthy, low-grade, commercial coffee is pesticides.

Astonishingly, coffee is the number one pesticide-sprayed crop in the world! But why?

In general, coffee crops are incredibly vulnerable to damage from insects and animals, especially in low-lying, low altitude areas. 

Many farmers in poverty-striken countries will do anything to protect their livelihoods by warning away pests, diseases and unwanted insects using various  Pesticides and Herbicides. 

According to this estimate, each acre of commercial grade coffee crops are treated with 113 kg of pesticides and agricultural chemicals.

Some studies suggest that 85% of chemicals are 'roasted off' but that's not entirely true.

Even if the above were true, that’s still 15% of pesticides and chemicals that remain in the coffee which lead to long-term health issues, something Balance Coffee is truly passionate about fixing by suppling pesticide-free coffee. 

It’s also estimated that these coffee crops are sprayed with approximately 40 different pesticides!

ℹ️ People who drink low grade coffee regularly, unknowingly ingest these chemicals in commercial-grade coffee.

Should You Be Worried?

Currently, only around 30% of coffee farms globally use organic, pesticide-free methods which is totally unacceptable in 2024 and beyond. And only 5-8% use speciality grade coffee which is the highest quality grade which we use ourselves. 

Therefore, somewhere between 65%-95% of the coffee grown, supplied, and consumed across the globe pose serious health implications according to a large number of research studies which we’ve shared below

Health risks of pesticides in coffee 

Key Takeaway

Over 95% of the coffee available is grown with inorganic methods. and are sprayed with pesticides, making it unhealthy to consume. Ingesting low grade and commercial coffee sprayed with pesticides may cause serious health issues. 

The Benefits of Healthy Coffee

Around 95 million cups of coffee are consumed in the UK every day, making it one of the most popular beverages in the nation. 

If you decide to swap out your low-grade, unhealthy coffee for premium-grade healthy coffee, you’ll enjoy many benefits that you probably didn’t even realise existed. 

This is exactly why at Balance Coffee, we are so committed to providing our healthy coffee to our happy customers. 

Here are some of the important health benefits when choosing the right coffee:

1. Rich in Antioxidants 

Coffee is rich in powerful antioxidants that are linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, liver diseases, and Alzheimer's, according to studies in the National Library of Medicine. 

Antioxidants are vital for your daily immune support. Their job is to help the human system fight off diseases, whilst providing us with a defence mechanism that fights off free radicals. Free radicals can cause chronic damage to our cells, causing inflammation, illness and aging.  

In fact, studies show that healthy, quality coffee might be one of the most undervalued and biggest sources of antioxidants in your diet! 

Thankfully, Balance Coffee contains over 1000+ antioxidants in every single cup contributing you a superfood in the form of a cup. That's even more than green tea and cacao.

2. Rich in Vitamin B3

Specialty Grade coffee like ours are rich in Vitamin B3. Which according to WebMD, Vitamin B3 helps you to manage your cholesterol levels whilst also supporting the health of your skin, nerves, and digestive system.

3. Premium Arabica 

Whilst purchasing specialty-grade Arabica coffee might cost you a little more, it not only gives you an incomparable naturally sweet taste, but it also has more health benefits than the Robusta species. 

High-quality Arabica beans contain more trigonelline, which is beneficial for protecting the liver and heart according to a study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements. 

Peter Attia, the founder of Early Medical and a leading doctor, discusses research that highlights Trigolleine to have protective effects against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Arabica also has higher levels of Vitamin E and Chlorogenic Acid (CGA), an antioxidant researched and concluded to enhance cardioprotection (also shown in a study published in the National Library of Medicine).

This is also why Balance Coffee only sources 100% Arabica beans across our entire range of healthy coffees.

Not only that, our healthy arabica is actually one of the main components which also contributes to a smoother energy buzz without the caffeine spike, jitters or crashes in regular coffee. The main reason here is that the robusta spieces contains around 83% more caffeine inside every little bean! Woah. 

It’s our mission to bring the healthiest range of coffee products to the UK market to support your daily health and immunity, in addition to your longevity. 

4. Rich in Polyphenols

Polyphenols are extremely powerful antioxidants.  During our research stages, we found various studies that confirmed these beneficial compounds help to prevent a number of conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Choose Better Coffee For Your Body

The burning question you probably now have is, ‘where can I get healthy coffee free of the nasties and packed with naturally powerful health benefits?

Enter Balance Coffee!

Our founder, James Bellis has spent over a decade working in the coffee industry.

He quickly realised that the vast majority of the coffee being consumed globally was low grade coffee with inadequate testing and quality procedures. 

After many hours of research, James decided to launch Balance Coffee on a mission to bring a healthier range of coffee products to the UK market. 

Fast forward to today and our coffee is not only free from nasties like mould, mycotoxins, and pesticides but is packed with tons of health benefits that you probably never knew came from your daily caffeine fix! 

You’re probably interested in learning what measures we take to ensure we’re bringing you the healthiest cup possible, so let’s get into it. 

1. Our Coffee is Free from Mould, Mycotoxins, and Pesticides 

We source our coffee from the top 5% of farmers worldwide who hand-pick the ripest coffee cherries at higher altitudes in mountainous regions. This inadvertently helps to eradicate the use of pesticides during the farming process.

Today, we can boost of several coffee products such as the Espresso Taster Pack, Single Origin Taster Pack, Lion's Mane  Mushroom Coffee that our customers' love to come back to thanks to putting their health first.

At Balance, we only buy from approved farmers to guarantee a naturally clean coffee free from these nasties. 

Moreover, we use sophisticated coffee processing and storage practises to prevent nasty mould from creeping into our beans. 

Our coffee is also stored in temperature-controlled spaces to inhibit the growth of mould. 

Last but not least, we regularly carry out checks to ensure each batch of coffee is free from nasties.

 2. Our Coffee is Freshly Roasted and Specialty Grade

We source ONLY specialty-grade coffee which accounts for the top 5-10% of coffee consumed globally. This means our quality standards are significantly above the majority of companies lining the supermarket shelves)

We pay a 25% higher price to achieve these quality standards. Our specialty coffee achieves 80+ points or above on a 100-point scale by a certified coffee tasting panel (SCAA) or by licensed Q Graders (CQI). 

This ensures that the coffee you’re drinking is some of the best in the world as far as quality standards go.  

Our coffee beans are roasted to order too, which means you’re receiving the freshest beans possible.

3. We Source 100% Premium Arabica Beans 

As mentioned earlier, all of the coffees we source are produced from 100% premium Arabica beans which not only guarantee a sweet and rich taste but provide you with greater health benefits than Robusta beans. You can read this blog post on types of coffee to see the different types.

Our delicate roasting process means you’ll enjoy a naturally clean brew, free from bitterness too. 

4. Balance Contains 1000+ Antioxidants and Vitamin B3 

Access powerful antioxidants and Vitamin B3, so you can feel great about drinking your daily cup!

5. We Employ Sustainable Practises and Ethical Farming 

By paying a 25% higher price for our raw coffee, we are also able to support sustainability within the coffee industry. 

Helping to improve the livelihoods of coffee farmers, creating a sustainable supply of coffee for the future. 


If you care about what ingredients you put into your body, and Investing in your health is important to you, then subscribe to Balance today and join our healthy coffee community.

Want to try us out first?

Grab a bag of our organic coffee beans  and simply purchase one time to give us a try. 

Check out our highly popular Lions Mane Mushroom Coffee for a completely new definition of healthy coffee.

** These statements have not been assessed by the Food Standards Agency. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness.

**The information above is not intended to replace medial advise offered by licensed medical physicians. Please consult your doctor or health practitioner for any medical advise.