One Moldy Green Bean – “How about some cancer-causing mycotoxins with that?” You probably never heard your barista ask you this question.
However, much of the world’s coffee contains dangerous mould and mycotoxins, which, according to the WHO, are the primary causes of long-term health problems such as:
- Immunodeficiency is a condition in which the body’s immune system is
- Allergies that are extreme
- Unfortunately, cancer is one of them.
- Isn’t it incredible?
- Here are some stale coffee facts:
- Ochratoxin A was found in 45 per cent of commercially available coffee beans (Source)
- Aflatoxins were found in up to 55 per cent of green coffee beans. (Source)
Toxins are reduced by roasting coffee. Despite this, Ochratoxin A was found in nearly a third of roasted coffees (27 per cent). (Source)
So, how do you know if the coffee you’re drinking isn’t mouldy?
First And Foremost, Why Is Mold In Coffee?
The trip from the field to the cup is a vibrant one. Grab a cup of mould-free coffee because the coffee route may take hours to describe.
Is there just enough time for a shot of espresso? Then here’s a rundown of everything that influences mould growth in coffee:
The Coffee – Growing Regions’ Climate
Coffee isn’t a common crop in Scandinavia. Tropical climates are ideal for growing coffee beans. It’s only natural that a hot, humid climate would increase the likelihood of mould formation.
Mold Risk And Coffee Processing
Getting rid of the mucilage, the outer covering of coffee beans might take a lot of water (washed processing). Coffee beans offer an excellent breeding ground for mould if not appropriately dried.
During natural processing, the risk of coffee mould is significantly higher. The exterior pulp layer of the coffee cherry is left to dry rather than being washed away.
It takes longer to dry process coffee because the beans spend more time wrapped in the pulpy, damp outer layer.
Green Coffee Beans Are Being Shipped
Green coffee beans usually travel for weeks in multiple shipping containers before arriving at the roastery. They are packed in large burlap sacks for the journey. What exactly is the issue, you might wonder?
Burlap is formed of jute, which is cellulose in its purest form. And can you guess where the most dangerous mould thrives? Natural fibres, such as cellulose, are the answer. (Fortunately, our coffee beans follow a healthier path.)
Mold In The Coffee While It’s Being Roasted
So you believe mould only grows on coffee beans that are still green? Reconsider your position. Mould toxins can form in the roastery as well. When roasting beans, there are several procedures involved.
Mould has plenty of possibilities to develop in warm temperatures. It has plenty of time to multiply in each phase, especially when there isn’t any airflow (this is called an anaerobic process).
And if that wasn’t enough, heat shock proteins are another mould-maker (HSPs). When heated to a high temperature, they can transform and become dangerous mould growth stimulants.
This is undoubtedly great news for our senses of taste!
However, coffee mould spores do not necessarily indicate a health risk. Mould isn’t always dangerous to your health.
Symptoms And illnesses Related To Mold In Coffee
Headaches, dizziness, anxiety, irritability, and stomach issues are the most prevalent symptoms of coffee mould growth. People who drink coffee frequently or in significant amounts may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of coffee mycotoxins than others.
Coffee isn’t hazardous for most individuals because of the coffee mould poisons. However, due to the toxicity induced by these toxins in the body, coffee mycotoxin poisoning can cause liver problems in some people.
Coffee mycotoxin symptoms appear 12 to 36 hours after exposure to coffee mould. Coffee toxins can cause short-term health problems that last a few hours or days, but they can create long-term health problems that last weeks or months in other situations.
People who drink a lot of mouldy coffee or have mould sensitivities are more likely to be affected by mould in coffee. Those who are impacted may experience the following signs and symptoms:
For the most part, mould in coffee does not cause significant ailments that necessitate medical attention. The primary source of concern is mouldy coffee, which has been linked to liver failure in rare instances.
After drinking mouldy coffee, gastrointestinal symptoms are prevalent, although they can be managed with over-the-counter nausea and stomach pain drugs. However, if you know you are allergic to mould or are sensitive to it, you should seek medical help.