Starbucks Coffee may be tasty, but is it organic? 

I’ve recently become obsessed with organic coffee, and had the thought cross my mind. 

Organic coffee offers rich, unadulterated flavors and even better - it’s packed full of nutrients, better for the environment and communities, and so much more. 

I’m going to get into whether or not Starbucks serves organic regular and decaf coffee, what organic coffee is, and so much more!

  • Starbucks serves decaf organic coffee, but not organic regular coffee 
  • Starbucks offers organic ground roasts for purchase
  • Organic coffee is processed without chemicals/artificial agents and grown without synthetic pesticides or herbicides

Does Starbucks Serve Organic Regular & Decaf Coffee?

Starbucks serves organic decaf coffee, but they do not serve organic regular coffee. 

However, they do have organic ground roasts for purchase:

Starbucks Dark Roast Ground Coffee - Organic French Roast: This Starbucks coffee roast has a great smoky flavor and is perfect for coffee drinkers who enjoy bolder coffees.

It’s my personal favorite!

Starbucks Medium Roast Ground Coffee - Organic Yukon Blend: This Starbucks coffee roast comes with some earthy tones and has an acidic touch to it.

The types of decaffeinated coffees served at Starbucks are the Decaf Komodo dragon blend and the Instant Decaf Italian roast.

But is Starbucks coffee healthy? Is it GMO-free? 

Well, even though Starbucks does use GMO-free, non-organic milk in its drinks, it's difficult to say that all of the products that Starbucks has is non-GMO - especially since it isn't organic.

Starbucks instant coffee can also contain GMOs as they are a micro-ground coffee. 

Baristas working behind the counter at Starbucks serving drinks

What Makes A Coffee Organic?

You might be wondering, okay, so now I know whether Starbucks serves organic coffee, but what exactly makes a certified organic coffee?

A coffee that's certified organic is essentially:[1]

  • 1
    Made from beans that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or herbicides
  • 2
    Processed without chemicals or artificial agents

A great way to tell whether or not you're drinking organic coffee is to either look at the packaging or the website of the product.

The primary health benefits of drinking an organic blend are avoiding additional contents and good manufacturing practices.

If it's organic coffee, it should have the organic certification - a USDA Certified Organic seal on it.

To get the seal, the farmers from which the company buys the coffee beans must comply with the Certified Organic Requirements.

In the case of Starbucks, for the coffee to be completely organic coffee, it would need to make sure that EVERYTHING it was using to make its cup of organic coffee was sourced within organic guidelines.

This means:

  • Organic milk and coffee beans
  • Organic creams
  • Organic syrups and chocolate bases

As mentioned above, Starbucks does not have an organic coffee menu (other than decaffeinated coffee drinks) as it doesn't use organic coffee beans, and it also uses non-organic milk (the majority of their dairy products are non-organic other than Starbucks soy milk).

Hence, it constitutes as non-organic coffee.

Barista pouring organic coffee beans into a hopper

What Coffee Does Starbucks Use? (Guide For All Roasts)

Starbucks Beans: Arabica Beans

Starbucks uses solely 100% Arabica whole beans. However, they’re not organic. 

Arabica beans are known for having a great flavor and undergo a rigorous selection process before being roasted.

Starbucks Roasts: Dark, Medium & Blonde Roasts

So, what are the three different roasts that Starbucks has?

The Starbucks Blonde Roast, Medium Roast, and Dark Roast.

The Starbucks Blonde Roast is a lighter roast that has a shorter roasting time, resulting in more mellow flavors of toasted malt and milk chocolate.

The Medium Roast is what I’d expect a “regular cup of coffee” to be, with a smooth, balanced, and rich flavor.

The Dark Roast has a robust, bold taste with notes of dark cocoa and roasted marshmallow.

Starbucks mug sitting next to a small plate of coffee beans

Is Starbucks’ Claim of Ethical Coffee Sourcing True?

Is Starbucks coffee Fairtrade and organically-sourced?

Starbucks actually claims that it’s ’99% ethically-sourced”, but what does that mean? 

It means that they follow Coffee and Farmer Equity (CAFE) practices, which ensure sustainable agricultural practices and environmental measures are in place for managing waste, protecting water quality, conserving water and energy, preserving biodiversity and reducing agrochemical use. 

That 1% accounts for Starbucks working to help develop farms, cooperatives, etc. to help reach CAFE standards. 

With that being said, Starbucks's standard Espresso Roast is 100% Fairtrade certified and made with fair trade practices; hence, it's fair to say that they do have fair trade coffee.

All in all, I’d say their claim is true. 

organic coffee

Related Organic Starbucks Coffee Questions

Does Starbucks coffee have toxins?

Starbucks coffee does not have toxins, as they regularly test for them. However, all coffee has contains acrylamide, a chemical byproduct of roasting coffee beans.

Is Starbucks coffee full of pesticides?

Starbucks coffee is not full of pesticides, no.

How do you know if coffee is organic?

You know coffee is organic if it has the USDA seal stating that a coffee is certified organic.

Is Dunkin Donuts coffee organic?

No, Dunkin Donuts coffee is not organic, and they do not offer organic options.

Is Starbucks Winter Blend organic?

Yes, Starbucks Winter Blend is organic. 


Conclusion

So, while Starbucks regular coffee isn’t organic, it’s nice that there are options.

After all, their decaf is organic and they offer the option to by regular organic Starbucks beans to enjoy at home. 

It may not be ideal for many, but it’s frankly a much better option than many of the other top coffee shops out there. 

Plus, ethical sourcing and fantastic flavors go a long way!

References:

1. https://www.info.equalexchange.coop/articles/organic-vs-conventional-coffee
2. https://www.fairtradecertified.org/

Karmy Widjaja

Author

Karmy Widjaja
Karmy Widjaja, holding a degree in Hospitality Administration, combines her academic background with a profound passion for the world of coffee. Her work is enriched with a wealth of insights, not only about the art of coffee making but also about the broader aspects of the coffee industry. Her quest for coffee perfection is a central theme in her engaging articles, as she continues to explore the vibrant coffee scene in Perth. And when it's time for a coffee break? Karmy's all about a laid-back flat white with almond milk – it's her go-to for a tasty coffee kick.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... flat white with almond milk.

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