The Truth about Mold in Your Coffee


Mold in coffee is one of the most common concerns of coffee lovers and haters. It’s often caused by tiny fungi that grow on grain crops like coffee beans in storage. Some people believe these fungi could become toxic and, as a result, become poisonous when taken in large quantities. Furthermore, they may trigger ongoing medical issues or cause new ones. 

This article discusses the pros and cons of coffee mold and helps you decide if you need to be worried about them.

How Can Mold in Coffee Affect Your Health?

Molds create various compounds, some of which can be harmful or beneficial to human health. Among these are penicillin, an antibiotic, and ergotamine, a migraine medication. In addition, aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A are the most significant to coffee plants.

One of the many negative effects of exposure to aflatoxin B1 is that it plays a very important role in cancer development. Though fewer studies have been conducted on it, It’s believed that ochratoxin A is likely a mild carcinogen that can damage your kidneys.

However, remember that even though you only encounter mycotoxins in minute quantities, they are present in your environment constantly. Nevertheless, mycotoxins don’t accumulate in the body because the liver can deactivate them at low concentrations.

There are also at least a hundred countries with regulations on these chemicals, with some having more stringent rules than others.

Can Coffee Mold Make You Sick?

There has always been a risk of mold and mycotoxins in food. As a result, the food industry, and the coffee industry, have created effective ways to tackle this problem.

Wet processing is considered the most effective method for removing the mycotoxins and molds in coffee. One study found that roasting decreased ochratoxin A concentrations by 69-96%. In addition, toxic molds that grow on beans are eliminated during the roasting process.

The presence of mold or mycotoxins drastically reduces the quality rating given to coffee. In addition, crop yields are destroyed when they rise above a specific threshold.

Safe levels defined by regulatory bodies and proven to cause harm are much higher than those seen in lower-quality coffees.

Note that mycotoxins are typically found in higher concentrations in decaf coffee. Caffeine, which is eliminated in decaf coffee, inhibits fungal growth. Even though instant coffee has higher levels than normal coffee, such levels are still insufficient to cause concern.