Mycotoxin-Free Coffee Brands

Posted onCategoriesDiet, Lifestyle

I’ve been buttering up Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffee for awhile now.  Drinking it in the morning is hands down the most exciting part about going to bed these days, which means this coffee really is all that, or my life is really sad.  Probably a little of both but I’m a half glass full (of butter) kinda guy.  So what’s the problem?

Well, besides my issue with the utter lack of protein in Dave’s version (which I tried to rectify), the price of Dave’s Upgraded (i.e. minimal-toxin) Coffee gives me the gag reflex.  Keep in mind that one area I won’t cut corners on is good health, but $25 per lb of coffee when I’ve been buying organic, fair-trade coffee for $11 per lb?  You can’t blame Dave though, not when alternatives are so difficult to find.  (Try googling “mycotoxin-free coffee brands” and I’ll race you to see who finds the most useless info.)

“Ma it’s 2012!  If it’s not on the first page of google it doesn’t exist!”

But wait, being an internet-spelunker is one of my hobbies (euphemism for OCD), so of course I had to go on a scavenger hunt.  Here’s to the beauty of the free market and informed Bulletproof Coffee lovers:

Fermentation: The Scapegoat?

If you’re gonna go all the way with Dave’s philosophy, you would look first for mechanical process (forced demicuilage) with no fermentation.  The problem is that a few reputable sources don’t agree with this.
Ex: I was really impressed with (Dave likes them too) for their strict quality control standards and direct trade partnerships with several estates that use forced demucilage: Ethiopia Duromina, Costa Rica Marvin Robles, Costa Rica Montes de Oro, Panama Duncan Estate, Honduras Finca El Puente.  They told me that the mycotoxin issue has more to do with the quality control of the water tanks and water sources than the methodology., a leading source on green coffee beans and roasting also agreed and had this to say:

“(Mechanical process) is more about water efficiency. It’s more expensive because of the equipment, but it’s actually a lot more cost effective and can improve sorting and water efficiency.  (Dave Asprey’s) claim about the molds and bacteria is ludicrous though. That altitude on the farm isn’t really the greatest Guatemala has to offer either. These are some interesting claims. I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about mold or bacteria wise (with wet process).” –

So where does that leave us?  Well how about I give you both options and you pick?  Here are the criteria that I looked for:

1. Mechanical Process or Wet Process
2. High elevation
3. Single origin (single estate is best)
4. Available for purchase as of today (no point if you can’t buy it right?)

Disclaimer: I have no financial affiliation with or interest in any of the following companies.


Top Picks for Mechanical Process

Ethiopia Kaffa – Michiti Coop
Elevation: 6,200 – 6,900 ft
Roast: Unroasted green beans
Price: $7.30 per lb

Panama Carmen Estate
Elevation: 6,200 ft
Roast: Medium-Bold
Price: $12.75 per lb

Guatemala Huehuetenango – Financa La Providencia Dos
Elevation: 4,265 – 4,765 ft
Roast: Medium to Medium-Dark
Price: $24.00 per lb

Manzano Blend El Salvador
Elevation: 4,265 – 5,000 ft
Roast: Medium-Light
Price: $14.67 per lb


Top Picks for Wet Process

Panama Kotowa Duncan 2012 Microlot
Elevation: 5,500-5,600 feet
Roast: Medium-Light
Price: $14.95 per lb

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Elevation: 4,400 – 5200 feet
Roast: Medium-Light
Price: $14.00 per lb

Ethiopia Sidamo
Elevation: 5,000-6,000 feet
Roast: Medium
Price: $14.08 per lb

Pitalito Estate of Columbia (Huila Region)
Elevation: 5,500 – 6,000 ft
Roast: Medium
Price: $15.49 per lb

Mexico Chiapas “Altura”
Elevation: 4,000 – 6,000 feet
Roast: Medium
Price: $16.00 per lb

If any of you have tried Dave’s coffee and end up trying any of these or other alternatives, I’d love to hear how they compare!

64 thoughts on “Mycotoxin-Free Coffee Brands”

  1. Just to clear things up. Bulletproof coffee is $25 for 3/4 of a pound not for 1 pound, which makes it even worse that he charges that much.

      1. Shipping costs suck but I lose money on shipping…which is why the 5lb bags are $15.80/lb, which is competitive for any high end coffee. Remember that I actually run biogenic amine and mycotoxin tests on these beans, which costs a lot to do, but guarantees purity.

        1. Welcome to the free market bro. You can defend the price all you want, but at te end of the day the number one concern to the consumer is the bottom dollar. If your prices were more competive you for sure would make way more money. I know I would love to buy your coffee, but my desire doesn’t chang the fact that I can’t afford it, thus I’ll be buying something cheaper.

          1. Maybe the dumb consumer who isn’t considering the effect of drinking or eating toxins has on your body. For $16/lb for that quality, I’ll gladly pay. Free market just means people decide, it doesn’t mean people buy the cheapest crap.

          2. Exactly Eric – welcome to the free market

            You’re making a few assumptions here which aren’t that accurate. Consider:


            but at te end of the day the number one concern to the consumer is the bottom dollar.

            At the end of the day, the #1 concern to the consumer is whatever the consumer is concerned about – health, customer experience, and a multitude of other items, including price… not it’s not just price.


            If your prices were more competive you for sure would make way more money.

            Would he make more money?

            – You’d have to know his margins. Do you?
            – You’d have to know the results of his testing on price points. I used to sell a golf product and I thought like you – that price was what people cared about, so I kept it low. However, I was judging an audience who made purchasing decisions based on different (note, not worse or better) reasons than my own biases. I bumped the price, and my sales shot up (# of units/100 visitors, not referring to the rev from price bump). Lower price does not = more profits. I’m guessing you haven’t sold too many things from the perspective of a business owner… or taken an econ class. That’s fine – most people work for businesses rather than running them. Just consider there is more going on behind the curtain.


            I know I would love to buy your coffee, but my desire doesn’t chang the fact that I can’t afford it, thus I’ll be buying something cheaper.

            You can’t afford it – I’m doubting that Eric. The much higher probability is you don’t find enough value in what they’re promising in order for you to choose spending your money differently. That’s fine – just be honest with yourself/us.

            I don’t really know Dave or his material much beyond flipping over there for the coffee article, but what I do know about the life-hacking audience is more about quality of life. Your concerns seem to be about price. You’re not his audience Eric, and one of the first rules for a strong business is to figure out who your hyper-responsive buyers are and cater to them.

            Finally, are you comparing apples to apples? Maybe if you compare price/oz of coffee. I saw a commenter above say they drink 1/2 the coffee they did after switching. Would you drink 1/2? Who knows – you’d just have to roll the dice & run your own test. Very few cool breakthroughs carry no risk.

            If you ended up drinking 1/2 the coffee for “better results” (If what they’re saying is true, regarding impact), then now you’re looking at 1/2 the practical price/day. Is it worth it then? Probably not to a person who lives on price alone. To a life hacker, or people who have other hinging points? Probably.

          3. Bullet proof coffee gave me anxiety. and Not only to me, to many people i talked about this coffee. not worth the money.

        2. It is a free market and I am glad that Dave is using it to bring true quality where none currently exists. If you feel that mycotoxin free coffee is important for health, don’t whine about the price, but instead find or create a better source.
          Dave has invested to create a truly effective nutrition plan. I am grateful for that. I will by his coffee and hope that other start to see a market and profitability in it.

        3. Hi Dave, Do you have any plans to make the upgraded decaf coffee available in retail stores in Manhattan soon?

        4. I have a bit of a renewed perspective on this. I think if you can’t find mycotoxin free coffee beans, spending top dollar for a guarantee is a no brainer. I allocate a significant portion of my budget to eating organic so this is really par for the course.

          As someone with high sensitivity to mold toxins, I find that trader joe’s organic Bolivian and Cafe Pajaro are fantastic, whereas their other organic beans triggered reactions. So for those that simply cannot afford the Upgraded beans, I would suggest these as a budget option. Of course I would be curious to hear what Dave’s lab finds in the TJ beans.

        5. Do you have any suppliers of your products in Canada? It would be great to be able to go buy your stuff in Toronto.

        6. Have you thought of making your products available on iHerb? I believe there’s a huge market here. First buyer, me.

    1. I bought the Bulletproof brand the first time but also have a really hard time paying that much after shipping for 12 oz’s. I am looking at all of these wet process coffees and cant decide which Ill get. Did you ever try any of them? Or did you break down and buy Aspreys again?

      1. Hi Ashley,

        I never actually bought Asprey’s brand. Maybe one day when I’m filthy rich off of pitching alternative brands (which will happen never).

        I ended up trying an organic Kona coffee because my dad force-fed me them as a gift from Hawaii. I would not recommend buying Kona because of the premium (and it’s also not the ideal elevation for mycotoxins). It also doesn’t feel any different than the blended organic french roast from Cameron’s.

        After I run out I’ll definitely follow my own advice and buy one of these. I’ll be happy to let you know then!

        If you’re in a mad rush, the first one I’d try is one of the cheaper mechanically-processed ones: Panama Carmen ($18.25/lb includes shipping) or the Manzano El Salvador ($15.24/lb includes shipping)

        *Shipping is calculated to California

        1. I took the plunge and bought 5 lbs from Cafe Ibis to save shipping costs, found a 10% code off their FB page which made 5 lbs $63, I hope I like it after buying that much!
          5lbs of Aspreys was $70 or 80 before shipping :( boo!

  2. Here’s the deal – I spend thousands to lab test my beans to prove they have no detectable mycotoxins or biogenic amines. I designed the process (which is a lot more than just mechanical process) because of my own mold sensitivities. My small bag is $2 more than Peet’s or Starbucks or other artisan coffee. My large 5lb bag is $15/lb, not unreasonable for quality coffee.

    There are other studies of my coffee beans about to be published. There is a quantifiable difference!

    1. I had Bulletproof coffee beans and four others tested in a lab for OTA and mold colony comparisons; they were no mold colonies on any of the samples tested. However, OTA did occur in ALL samples tested. The range for the samples was 11-15 ppb of OTA; Bulletproof coffee was 12 ppb. The other coffee beans tested were right off the shelf from an organic supermarket and they were as follows: a French Sumatra bean; an espresso suave bean; a classic espresso bean; and a Costa Rican coffee bean.

      1. So, Dave Asprey claims he can “prove they have no detectable mycotoxins”.

        You had them tested and OTA WAS detectable, and, what’s more, the levels of contamination were middle-of-the-road, compared to several generic coffees. Why isn’t anyone making a bigger deal out of this fact?

        1. As a person with celiac disease, I know that the lowest contamination rate one can hope for is less that 20 PPB. That’s 20 parts per BILLION! As nearly zero as you can get in the real world.

          So12-15 parts is pretty amazing.

    2. Dave, I have not looked extensively for the publishings you referenced but are they currently available? I have just started educating myself on this subject so I would love to read any technical data that is available to support your statements.

    3. Too bad you don’t sell your beans “green”. I like to roast my own coffee beans.

  3. I ordered Dave Asprey’s Upgraded coffee, and yes, its a little steep after shipping. However, I have been making bullet proof coffee for the past 3-4 weeks and I do like it. Both taste and affect. One of the best coffee I have tasted, (of course this is personal opinion, I am no coffee connoisseur). With that said, as much as I like to order it again, I think I will have to look for alternative due to price and availability. I’ll totally paid $18.95/pound again if I can just get it off the shelf at my local store.

  4. Just like to add my two cents.
    Bulletproof coffee at $25 after shipping for 3/4 pound is simply too expensive (no matter how wonderful it is). The nearly $9 shipping fee is exploitative when postal service fixed postage is 5.50ish.

    I think $15 is pretty much the breaking point for most folks IMHO.

    If Bulletproof was $14.95 (without shipping) along with a reasonable shipping rate ʎǝɹdsɐ ǝʌɐp would probably be sell 10x more than he does now.

    Going to try Manzano Blend El Salvador next.

    1. $25 is small potatoes. I’m sure you and everyone else has spend more on a movie or a meal. Plus, if you want “Bulletproof coffee” you have to buy the butter, coconut oil or MCT. Those products alone are more than the coffee per serving. Complaining about price for something that is better for you needs to be looked at from a different perspective. Why continue polluting your body with a product that is known to contain toxins when there’s a product for a few dollars more that doesn’t have it? It’s like buying a car that takes premium, but you can’t afford the premium gas so you put regular in the tank. Eventually you’re going to not only get shitty performance, but you’ll have issues with your engine over time. Besides, if you can’t afford premium gas, then you probably can’t afford a premium car. This type of analogy shouldn’t be considered when it’s regarding your health.

      IMHO, people should invest in the Bulletproof kit. Two 12oz bags of coffee and 32oz of MCT oil. $60 shipped. It’s like getting free shipping + you’re saving a few bucks because the MCT oil by itself is normally $29.

      1. Tried buying two kits and shipping ALONE to Canada (very close to the border) is $48.20. Sorry, but that’s too much. I don’t even spend that much watching movies and eating out in a restaurant.

        1. Judy, recently Upgraded Self has made changes to shipping, and the Bulletproof Forums report that it’s a lot less expensive.

  5. I order the Bulletproof Coffee even tho it’s a little expensive.. Dave gives great information on his blog & his products are the shit !

  6. How come nobody has asked the most obvious question? Absent a lab to test for molds and mycotoxins, and since there are no FDA standards for these, how on earth can you tell WTF your coffee beans are contaniminated with? Claims from vendors just don’t mean much to me when I know their primary motivation is to get me to open my wallet.

  7. Can any of these no-mycotoxin coffees be purchased at Whole Foods Market? Im not a fan of online shopping

  8. So here’s the rub: You can reduce the likelihood of mycotoxins with some of the coffees above. But in addition to my Bulletproof Process – which is a lot more than just mechanical process – I lab test Upgraded Coffee for a huge list of toxins to verify my in-field and curing process worked. I’ve tested Cup of Excellence winners and found toxins in them.

    I also completed a study of Upgraded Coffee on cognitive function vs mass market arabica beans. The difference was profound.

    And when you buy a 5lb bag, it’s exactly $15/lb. Not bad given the thousands of dollars of lab testing…I’m not getting rich on this stuff.

    I make lots of cool things like supplements. It would have been much easier for me to just buy the beans above if they met the standards…it was a big pain to create this stuff, and I did it because the other options just didn’t work.

    1. Hi Dave. I notice your online store says to store excess beans in a cool dry place. If I drop $79 on a 5lb bag I want to make sure they’re kept in absolute perfect condition, so would freezing them be ideal? Or would the extreme temperatures do something weird to them?

      I know it’s an anal question, but I’d be choosing Bulletproof coffee because I believe you when you say it’s the best, so allowing it to degrade AT ALL during storage would defeat the point! :)

      1. Hi James. The best way to store them is vacuum-sealing them before you freeze them, and let them fully thaw before opening them up again. A lot of people buy the 5 lb bags and freeze half of it. So you should be fine!

        1. I was under the impression that freezing coffee actually ruins the beans because the moisture of the freezer-especially when it automatically thaws and re freezes-causes the beans to absorb the moisture. (Thus being a problem for mold?) Wouldn’t it be better to store them in dark, airtight canisters away from extreme temperature changes?

  9. Why not take coffee with its associated costs and “toxin” issues out of the equation entirely? There must be another liquid that could be used as a carrier for the fats/MCTs. If caffeine is a necessary component, a pill like Jet-Alert could be taken and maybe throw in some B-complex vitamins.

  10. Most people like myself can’t afford $25/lb coffee so, with much sadness, it looks like I will be giving up my precious treat :-(

  11. Just buy the Bulletproof Coffee Kit (49 – 2 bags of coffee and one quart of MCT Oil) and a bag of the amazing whey with colostrum (69) and your over a $100 (119) and shipping is free! That makes the coffee $10/bag. It’s a no brainer – but I’d pay the full price if I needed to. I buy quality beef for $20-30/pound – which I used to think I would never do! At some point you gotta decide were you are going to make your investments! Since I’ve been working on the bulletproof way (not perfect but learning and changing) – I’ve lost 50lbs and feel better than I have in decades! The last time I weighed 150 lbs was when I was 18 yrs old – and now I’m 61. I thank God for Dave Asprey and others like him (Jimmy Moore/Dr. Tom O’Bryan etc) who are educating us on the truth about nutrition! Saved my life!! I was headed for an early grave!

  12. I just got a bag of Upgraded Coffee. It is one of the best coffees I ever had. I drink 1/3 of the coffee I used to. And this concoction is actually energizing. I used to drink 3 to 4 cups per day of standard, high-quality and end up tired.

    People complain about price. But Dave’s claims cover why coffee producers use a method that creates infections – price. Not only has Dave put a lot of work into this, but he is a small producer. He has a lot of competition. There is no economy of scale for his product. Had he put his same energy into deceptively marketing a fad product, I am sure he would have profited far more.

    I have found no one duplicating his methods nor challenging his claims. I will try some of these other producers. But if you do not want to pay a higher price for coffee, then why not give up the drink. The idea here is to stop putting harmful food into your body. I have to thank Dave for applying OCD to a useful result.

  13. People complaining about the price should read this. Forget comparing prices to other competitors. That’s the logic people use to justify mcDonalds > subway, or whatever. Your #1 expense in life should be your health. What is more important. Think of a time when you’ve felt shitty, ailments, aches, pains, etc. Think about how much you would pay to have them go away? How much you would pay to feel 5/10/20/40 % better?

    The real crime here is not the seemingly high price of Upgraded Coffee, but the low price we’ll happily pay for foods that do nothing for us, and worse, are hurting us. Doesn’t it seem crazy to pay 3$ for poison instead of 10$ for medicine? The same argument is made for organic products, grass-fed meats, higher quality anything. It’s because we have this ingrained value for everything that we compare anything new to.

    It’s difficult to do, but for one month change the way you spend your money, and prioritize nutrition (what one thinks is ‘good nutrition’ is another argument), what you put in your body, food and drink. At the end of the month see how you feel, make the case for or against continuing, and move forward. But at least you’ll have SOME IDEA of what you can feel like. Some sort of baseline to compare against.

  14. For all those talking about price, just how many cups of coffee does a pound make?

    I took the price of the 5lb bag of Upgraded Coffee, (including shipping costs to my area), divided it out to per-cup servings (which is easy for me because of the fact that I have a grinder that precisely grinds certain amounts and use a Keurig to make it per-cup, and accounting for some loss via the grinder, it came out to just over fifty cents worth of beans for a cup of black coffee.

    Being that the cheapest possible pre-made stuff I can find at McDonalds is $1 (a previous standard) and any other K-cup (also a previous habit) is $1 each minimum, I actually spend less and get higher quality coffee.

    Your numbers may be different depending on brew methods and the like, but my point remains. It’s a lot cheaper than some options.

  15. I think you are all nuts. I buy green beans for $3/pound that is shade grown fair traded and organic. I roast it weekly and grind it daily. It is delicious. Let me know how any mold can survive roasting at 482F.

    1. Efithian. It’s not about molds; it’s about mycotoxins which cannot be destroyed by heat and you cannot see them by naked eye!!! Please read before blunting.

  16. I haven’t read much on this yet so perhaps this is a question that already has an answer, but for people who aren’t big fans of coffee can something like tea be used as an alternative?

  17. Hey everyone,

    I thought I’d chime in here with a recommendation, as I was in a pinch today having run out of my Upgraded Coffee and needing to find something local. There’s a brand called Tom’s at Whole Foods that seems to fit the criteria for having reduced mycotoxins: it’s organic, single-origin, and wet processed. Also, it’s Fair Trade Certified, and Tom’s is an extremely socially-responsible company, so there’s that added benefit. I haven’t tried it yet, so no idea how it tastes, but it seems like it might do in a pinch. :)

  18. You cant digest unfermented beans of any kind. They take nutrients from our body so than can grow when we pass them. The wet process is the only way to go and with all those probiotics your immunity is high to fight of bad bacteria. This is simple processed food is only hampering our health and we need to boycott these companies for trying to create faster and more efficient ways of production only to benefit them. Yes they will lie to you about health benefits.

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