Harvesting coffee is a labour intense manual process that occurs once a year. Roaches are closely attached to coffee plants as pests and feed on coffee leaves. Once the beans are collected, they are roasted and fermented and then packed as beans or grounded into a powder.
Does Coffee Have Roaches? Yes! Theoretically, a grounded coffee contains roaches and fragments in levels considered too insignificant by regulatory authorities, including the FDA, to warrant action. However, because roaches are coffee’s natural pests, It is humanely impossible to get 100% roach-free ground coffee.
For most of us, coffee is a Kickstarter for a productive day. Coffee provides us with a dose of caffeine and contains disease-fighting antioxidants. However, recently internet flooded with news regarding the presence of roaches and their body parts in the coffee. I will try to analyse the truth behind these speculations in the blog below.
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Grounded Coffee have Roaches
Cockroaches are the natural pests of coffee beans. They feed on green leaves and beans. Sometimes much of the yields can be affected by the roaches. After the beans are hand-picked, they are screened for foreign objects, including roaches and fragments. Next, the beans are dried, fermented and then roasted.
The screening process is not 100% foolproof, and Many of the time, the roaches are not detected and consequently not removed. The cockroaches get grounded with coffee beans.
It is essential to know that FDA allows a certain amount of roaches within the coffee because it’s deemed harmless for human consumption. This limit is also allowed for almost every consumable good, from ketchup to peanut butter and water.
Every batch of grounded coffee undergoes strict laboratory tests to maintain the roaches fragments within the allowed limits approved by FDA. A batch exceeding the permitted limit is immediately discarded.
Do you know that peanut butter also contains bugs? Read Are there Bugs in Peanut Butter? to learn more.
Is coffee Made from Poop?
Coffee has many varieties, including Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica. They have a different taste profile. Many other varieties are made using different fermenting techniques. I
Indonesia probably produces the worlds most expensive coffee known as Kopi Luwak. This coffee is made using beans collected from the poop of a small animal like a cat called Civet. The intestine of the Civet has a number of bacterias that ferment the coffee beans. The beans are sort-after for their distinctive taste and aroma.
In short, coffee is not made from poop, but rather a type of coffee called Kopi Luwak is made from beans collected from the poop of Civet.
Both Nescafe and Starbucks have Roaches in their Coffee
Starbucks and Nescafe source their coffee beans from almost 30 countries, including a significant contribution from Colombia and Brazil. Similarly, The coffee you get from your local store or Walmart is also sourced from these countries.
Coffee weather from Starbucks, Nescafe or a local store all go through the same harvesting and processing techniques. Therefore, it is not surprising that both Nescafe and Starbucks also have roaches in their coffee.
How Do Roaches Get into the Coffee?
The coffee plant grows in a tropical and semi-tropical climate. Unfortunately, Cockroaches are found in abundance in these climates. The roaches love to feed on coffee cherries and leaves when they are green.
As mentioned earlier, once the coffee beans are harvested, they are screened for bugs, roaches and other foreign matter. Next, they are roasted, fermented and grounded into fine powder.
No coffee processing unit add roaches to their coffee intentionally. The roaches get into the coffee by,
- Accidentally passing through the screening process and are consequently grounded with coffee beans.
- The countires where coffee is harvested are usually poor thus lack necessary screening equipment to segregate coffee from roaches.
Bugs in a Coffee may Trigger Allergy
Allergies occur when our immune system overreacts to the foreign substances known as allergens (Source). It is essential to know that normal human beings do not react to most substances and are not deemed as foreign or allergens.
Cockroaches are known to trigger asthma attacks in atopic individuals.
The immune system of some of the people around us sense bugs in coffee as allergens and start triggering an immune response against it, resulting in an allergy.
The signs and symptoms of allergy include
- Genralized body rash
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Nause and vommiting
- Head ache
Therefore, it is advised not to consume coffee by people who are known to be allergic to roaches. Or else consult your registered medical practitioner.
If you are afraid of roaches, you might be interested in reading Katsaridaphobia, An Extreme Fear of Roaches! A very interesting blog.