How do you set the bar for the healthiest, most delicious cup of coffee? Is it the way it’s grown or shipped? Is it the way it’s roasted or prepared?
The answer is yes, yes, yes, and yes to all those things–and more! The best coffee hits a high-standard for every step of the coffee production process from cherry to chalice. We call this complex combination of health and good taste The Purity Standard.
For Purity, a holistic approach to coffee and health is paramount. Our Director of Coffee, Ildi Revi, has used over twenty years of experience with coffee to inform a comprehensive list of benchmarks for health and taste.
The gold standard for healthy coffee
Our standards are grouped into six categories: organic, farming, processing, roasting, packaging, and sustainability. For each category there are multiple standards ranked from the essential baseline of one, to the outstanding score of three (though some criteria only contain one or two possible options). A total score of 22 is the baseline for a coffee to be good enough for the discerning coffee drinker–and the minimum to even come close to the standard of Purity Coffee.
We believe consumers deserve to know how their coffee is harvested, stored, tested, and shipped. We at Purity strive to hit the targets that we’ve set, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. For the sake of full disclosure, it’s important to let our customers know how we measure up.
A lot of coffee brands are amazing at meeting particular standards, but less so than others. Some, for example, reach full marks for organic growth and harvest, but fall short when it comes to roasting to minimize PAHs. Others may have high levels of antioxidants, but might not be organic. Some may not even reach a level 1 score for many of these criteria. A top score is 55. Our current score is 32, and we are always striving to reach higher levels of quality.
For every criteria, we know where we stand. We aim for consistency, and we maintain it through rigorous testing. Even though it may require going the extra mile when it comes to both time and money, Purity spares no expense. In fact, we have spent over $10,000 on testing every batch of coffee beans for toxins before and after roasting.
Organics, conscious farming, and sustainability
We consider it vital to know where coffee beans come from, and we are never complacent in our sourcing. As a baseline, our coffee must be organically grown to eliminate any chance that toxic pesticides have permeated the coffee cherries. We ensure our coffee is officially certified organic, but have yet to reach the highest standard of organic coffee: the Smithsonian Bird Friendly Certification. This is an aspiration that serves the cause of healthy coffee as well as environmental sustainability.
While many companies might choose a single farm and ignore variations in bean quality, we test every harvest. We maintain relationships with multiple conscientious farmers, consistency is our top priority–only the best beans make the cut. Ideally, we aim to someday collaborate with the farmers themselves on how to grow the healthiest coffee possible year after year.
Specialty grade beans and roasting for health
We test everything to ensure the harvested beans are as good as they can be. We test the coffee to ensure it meets the SCAA Green Coffee Grading Standards so that it qualifies as “Specialty Grade.” That means its beans are free of fungus, insect damage, sour or withered beans, and other imperfections–and that its flavor profile is first rate. While 80 is the baseline and 90 is the highest possible score, so far we’ve hit between 85 and 89.75 points every time.
We have our green beans tested at a third party lab to make sure the coffee is free of dangerous compounds like Ochratoxin A. We also want to be certain that our beans are below a threshold of 20 mold and yeast colonies–all coffee has at least a few trace amounts of these compounds before roasting. And once our beans are roasted in a smokeless machine, regulated by a computer-controlled algorithm, we are proud of the low levels of PAHs and acrylamide and the high levels of antioxidants. For chlorogenic acids, we consistently score 2.1g/100g while other brands average about 1.3. This careful balance makes Purity’s healthy roasting profile one of its greatest achievements.
Eco-friendly and freshness-focused packaging
We work hard to make sure we don’t overbuy coffee. That’s how beans can end up languishing on shelves, oxidizing and going stale. We preserve freshness by flushing coffee bags with nitrogen and getting oxygen levels down to 2%, even though 1% is a goal we would like to reach. We use as much repurposed and sustainable material as possible, though the coffee industry as yet doesn’t have materials made from 100% recycled products. As sustainability becomes an industry-wide priority, we are optimistic that will change.
Exceptional customer service
Conscientious coffee harvests, painstaking tests for toxin and antioxidant levels, and the freshest storing and shipping are among our many targets for excellence. But at the heart of it all, it’s our customers who inspire us to do better every day. We take all these steps so that you, can enjoy as many health benefits that a balanced cup of coffee can offer. And that’s why we consider amazing customer service integral to the Purity Standard.
Below is a more detailed depiction of everything Purity Coffee does to maintain a baseline level of quality, and where we still have room to grow.
|Basis||Essential||Outstanding||Exceptional||Purity Score||Impact Multiplier||Total||Total Possible||Minimum|
|The green coffee is organic.||The coffee has been sourced by an importer with whom roaster has a direct relationship; the importer has visited the farm and confirmed that the coffee is produced organically, although does not have certification. The coffee is tested free of pesticide residue by 3rd party lab.||The coffee is officially certified; Meets the USDA Commercial Item Description (CID) and is roasted by a Certified Organic roaster. http://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/CID%20Coffee.pdf||The coffee blend contains at least 30% Smithsonian Bird Friendly, which is the highest level of organic certification.||2||5||10||15||5|
|The coffee is traceable.||The farm, its location, and altitude is stated. The importer has visited the farm and can provide information to demonstrate traceability.||The coffee is sourced directly with the importer and farmer by Purity Coffee staff members, who have visited the farm.||The coffee farmer(s), importer and Purity collaborate on improving the coffee with a focus on health.||1||2||2||6||2|
|The coffee is conscientiously farmed.||The farmer answers questions about the farm and practices basic sustainability practices: Conscientious water use, adheres to labor laws, ensures soil management and conservation.||The farm documents and provides proof of social and environmental management systems, ecosystem and wildlife conservation, integrated crop-pest-soil-waste management. The coffee has Rainforest Alliance or Utz certifications.||The coffee is farmed with standards for caring for the environment. Demonstrated practices in forestry, integrated pest management and conscientious intercropping. Social environment for employees is positive.||1||4||4||12||4|
|There is a clear chain of custody of the coffee throughout each stage of processing.||The farm is stated, the importer communicates location of coffee upon request.||Coffee processors have provided information on coffee custody from wet mill through containerizing to verify the coffee. Timeline of coffee from harvest to arrival at US warehouse is documented.||Purity Coffee manages the import of the coffee from farm gate to Purity warehouse.||1||2||2||6||2|
|The coffee is specialty grade.||The coffee meets the SCAA Green Coffee Grading Standards for "specialty" (standards for insect damage, fungus, blacks, sours, unripes, floaters, withered, etc.). Coffee scores 80 to 84.75.||Coffee scores 85-89.75 points on the specialty coffee scale cupped by Q-grader.||Coffee scores 90 points and higher on the specialty coffee scale cupped by Q-grader.||2||2||4||6||2|
|Drying and storage are appropriate to maintain healthy coffee.||The coffee may be any drying method (parchment-dried, fruit-dried, pulp-dried or seed-dried). Drying is sustainable and healthy for the environment and employees. Storage is according to Organic standards||Coffee is stored in climate controlled warehouse before transferring to roasting.||1||4||4||8||4|
|Coffee is bagged in GrainPro® or its equivalent.||Coffee is bagged and packaged to maintain health, protection and custody during shipping.||1||1||1||1||1|
|The coffee is current crop year.||The coffee is not more than 1 year since arrival at roastery.||Coffee is current crop year.||2||1||2||2||1|
|The green coffee is sampled throughout the process and meets specialty grade.||Pre-shipment and arrival (at roaster) samples are within 5 points, not falling below 80-point specialty grade.||Coffee is sampled and each sample is documented: Pre-shipment, Arrival at US warehouse, Arrival at Roaster. Arrival sample scores 84 points or higher. Roast score stays above 82 points.||All samples score 90 points or higher.||2||2||4||6||2|
|The green coffee is laboratory tested for purity and composition.||The coffee is tested at independent 3rd party laboratory free of Aflatoxin B1 and Ochratoxin A. Green coffee yeast and mold count is recorded, and food safety cross-contamination measures applied at roastery.||Green coffee has fewer than 100 colonies of yeast and/or mold, and food safety cross-contamination measures applied at roastery.||Green coffee has fewer than 20 colonies of yeast and/or mold, and food safety cross-contamination measures applied at roastery.||2||5||10||15||5|
|Chlorogenic Acids||Healthy Chlorogenic acids are maintained- sum of 11 compounds: at least 1.7g/100g||Healthy Chlorogenic acids are maintained- sum of 11 compounds:1.7-2.1g/100g||Healthy Chlorogenic acids are maintained- sum of 11 compounds:above 2.1g/100g||3||3||9||9||3|
|Trigonelline||Trigonelline* measures at least 1.0g/100g||Trigonelline* measures 1.1-1.3g/100g||Trigonelline* measures above 1.3g/100g||1||3||3||9||3|
|Acrylamide||Acrylamide is as low as possible, while still producing acceptable flavor: Does not exceed 300ug/kg dry coffee basis.||Acrylamide is as low as possible, while still producing acceptable flavor: 150-200ug/kg dry coffee basis.||Acrylamide is as low as possible, while still producing acceptable flavor: No higher than 150ug/kg dry coffee basis.||2||3||6||9||3|
|PAH||Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon is minimized via monitoring of Agtron level of no less than 50 on the gourmet scale with no tipping, scorching or facing present on the roasted beans.||Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon is minimized via monitoring of Agtron level of 50-60 on the gourmet scale with no tipping, scorching or facing present on the roasted beans.||(NO 3RD LEVEL-- should not roast above a 60 Agtron because of acrylamide production)||1||3||3||9||3|
|Profile roasting to bring out the best in the coffee.||Each standard is tested during profiling, and once the profile is established, it is followed via computer during roasting. Profile graph available to Purity QC upon request.||Every batch of coffee is labeled with profile graph attached to ensure it matches the original profile. Each batch is cupped before bagging.||1||2||2||6||2|
|Verification||Coffee is tested twice a year to check for antioxidant and trigonelline levels.||Coffee is tested every lot to ensure the content levels of substances listed above.||1||2||2||6||2|
|FSMA compliance||Roasting facility maintains FDA compliance (food safety, handling, storage, etc.), OSHA standards and organic certification standards always. Purity retains internal records of batches.||1||1||1||1||1|
|Coffee is labeled with batch to determine age.||Best before date is 10 months printed on each product.||Best Before date is 4 months.||Roast date is printed on bag.||1||1||1||3||1|
|Oxygen exposure is minimized.||The natural de-gassing of coffee displacing the O₂. Packaging standards range from less than 3% O₂ versus the natural de-gassing of coffee displacing the O₂.||Coffee is nitrogen flushed, yielding less than 2% oxygen. This can be confirmed upon request of roasting facility records for nitrogen stocking.||Less than 1% oxygen, lab tested.||2||3||6||9||3|
|Packaging is safe.||Shelf life, one-way valve, drop/burst/abuse-resistance, food safety ensured, FDA approved. K-cups are made of recyclable materials with instructions on the box for recycling.||Minimum material thickness to food safety levels used for sustainability/source reduction.||Sustainable packaging is used once it becomes available to the coffee industry and meets safe standards. DOES NOT YET EXIST IN COFFEE INDUSTRY (they're working on it)||1||2||2||6||2|
|Purity Coffee is conscientious of sustainable practices.||Shipping packaging (mailers) are made from partially recycled materials.||Burlap bags are re-purposed and/or donated to non-profits or local community members. GrainPro® or other plastic is re-purposed sustainably.||Packaging is made from 100% recycled materials, is food safe and has excellent barrier protection to keep the product safe and shelf stable.DOES NOT YET EXIST IN COFFEE INDUSTRY (they're working on it)||2||4||8||12||4|
|Purity Coffee maintains open communication with its consumers.||Customer receive a reply to enquiries within 24 hours. 100% satisfaction guarantee. Company pays for return of coffee from unsatisfied customers.||1||2||2||2||2|