One of the most exciting parts of being a dedicated coffee lover is trying out new coffee beans. You never quite know how it will work out. It is almost like opening a present at Christmas. Will you like it? Will you dislike it? Will it taste similar to other beans you have tried? Or completely different? And ultimately will it become your new normal or simply another temporary fix?
Which is why I am excited to introduce you to another coffee bean to try. Lifeboost coffee is a company that has grown in leaps in bounds. It is widely advocated and is particularly known for producing coffee that is ethically conscientious and 100% organic. And if that isn’t enough to convince you to read on then how many other coffee roasters do you know that have a song about their coffee!?
Our recommendation is that Lifeboost coffee is great for those who love good coffee, care about environmental and ethical issues around where coffee is sourced from, and love organic products.
Understanding Lifeboost Coffee
What is Lifeboost all about?
Lifeboost coffee is the brainchild of Dr. Charles Livingstone who made it his quest to find coffee that he could love drinking without harming either his body or the environment. This quest led him to the mountain ranges of Nicaragua where Dr. Livingstone was convinced he could source coffee that was delicious, entirely organic, and completely ethical. From this discovery he went on to start Lifeboost coffee; a coffee roaster committed to an organic growing and harvesting process, to fair and humane treatment of coffee farmers, and to getting the best flavoured coffee possible.
As a result this company comes with a rather ridiculous amount of certifications and accolades. They are USDA certified organic, single origin, shade grown, Fairtrade, 3rd party tested for Mycotoxins, kosher, and active sponsors of the Rainforest Trust for wildlife conservation. This company has a purist approach to coffee growing. Their philosophy is that the more natural the coffee growing and harvesting process, the nicer and more healthy the final brew.
The Growing Process
This growing philosophy works itself out in a process of ensuring the best possible conditions for the coffee cherries. The coffee beans come exclusively from a single farm in a nationally protected area of Nicaragua. The coffee beans are grown at an altitude of more than 5,700 feet above sea level. This high altitude is deliberate to slow down the development of coffee cherries for better flavour and more nutrients in the coffee beans.
In additional to the high altitude, the beans are exclusively what is known as shade grown. This means that the smaller coffee trees grow under the shade of larger, in this case Guava, trees. The idea behind this is that as well as protecting the coffee plants and making life a little more pleasant for the coffee farmers, the larger ‘shade’ trees cause leaves to fall among the coffee plants which when decomposed provide needed nutrients and help prevent the growth of weeds. The use of shade can also aid the development of natural sugars in the beans.
When the coffee cherries are finally ripe they are hand picked and fermented for exactly 26 hours. The coffee beans are then hand washed in natural spring water before being dried in the sun to bring their moisture to exactly 11.5%. The beans are then rested for a month before being shipped to the roastery. For a more detailed discussion of where coffee comes from see our article here.
The point of this meticulous process is that the coffee beans are as natural and organic as they can possibly be. There is zero use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides. These are 100% organic which means better for the natural environment, better for the health of those drinking the coffee, and better for the coffee farmers.
So at least one real positive about Lifeboost coffee is that they are as natural as they can possibly be which is good for the environment and good for your health!
Lifeboost coffee is also Fair Trade certified. In its simplest terms this means that there has been a conscious effort to make sure the coffee farmers get a fair price for their beans and that the coffee has been grown in a sustainable environment. While the Fair Trade model is actually more complicated than many believe, it guarantees that that collected groups (co-operatives) of coffee farmers gets a base price that is sustainable for the workers and above a base price.
So perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to try Lifeboost coffee is their utter commitment to ethical standards and to humane conditions for the coffee farmers. In an industry that has a dark history of exploitation, it is great to see Lifeboost’s commitment to both ethical and ecological concerns.
This video gives a helpful if simplistic overview of why Fair Trade matters when it comes to coffee beans.
Perhaps both the most important and most difficult to judge aspect of any coffee beans is how they taste. Because no matter how many other boxes they may tick, if the beans don’t actually taste nice then there is no way you will stick with them. However, this is really hard to judge for the simple reasons that taste is subjective and that poor tasting coffee may be the result of any number of different factors. If a coffee tastes bad it may be due to the beans but it also may be due to over or under extraction in the brewing process, to bad brewing technique, to wrong grind size, or to the wrong water temperature.
So over that lengthy caveat, how does Lifeboost coffee actually taste? Well there are a wide range of customer responses with some loving it while others being less than impressed. Common descriptions of Lifeboost coffee are that it is a bold but smooth flavour. Depending on which roast type (light, medium, or dark) you go for, Lifeboost coffee is typically very clean with low acidity. Another common description of this coffee among users is that there is very little bitterness when brewed correctly. This fits with what coffee expert James Hoffman says in his book The World Atlas of Coffee
“A range of flavours are found in Nicaraguan coffees. They are typically quite complex and capable of pleasing fruit-like flavours and clean acidity.”James Hoffman
Another key part of what Lifeboost is trying to achieve is delicious coffee that is as healthy as it can be for the body. This comes out in their 100% organic policy and also in their intentional effort to keep their coffee free of mycotoxins and low acidity.
A large part of Lifeboost’s marketing strategy is that their coffee is in their own words “Helping you achieve the healthiest, tastiest cup of coffee possible.” Low acidity is a technical way of talking about the pH content in coffee. While acidity in itself is not a bad thing, some people with gastric problems respond negatively to the acidity in coffee or other products. Being low acidity Lifeboost coffee is great for people who are sensitive to acidity and/or those who are lactose intolerant or Coeliac.
So while all coffee has a wide range of health benefits, Lifeboost intentionally seeks to grow and harvest their beans in such a way as to negate some of the possible negative health issues around coffee.
The Verdict: Who Is Lifeboost Coffee For?
So we have spent a fair bit of time discussing Lifeboost coffee, so what is the final verdict? Who should try Lifeboost Coffee? Well in our opinion, the most compelling reason to try Lifeboost coffee is their complete commitment to ethical standards and ecological concerns. We live in a day and age where we are all participating in the global market whether we realise it or not. And with that participation comes a responsibility to ensure fair treatment of those producing goods and sustainable environmental practices. While many third wave coffee roasters are now increasingly aware of ethical issues and ecological concerns, Lifeboost stands out as a great option for those looking for completely organic coffee that is ethically sourced.
As to the flavour, the only real way for you to really know is to give it a try. Many people have loved the flavour of the beans, some haven’t. But you never really know until you have brewed the beans in your style and how you like it.
So who is Lifeboost coffee for? Well it is for those who love coffee, who prefer organic, and who care about the ethical side of coffee consumption
What are the Different Options Available with Lifeboost Coffee?
There is a daunting amount of different types of coffee that Lifeboost offers. You can get anything from dark roasted whole beans, to pumpkin spiced coffee, or decaf.
The beans usually come in 12 oz bags and can either be shipped as whole beans (our recommendation) or as pre-ground. You also have the option of buying a single bag of beans, three bags, or six bags. They also even sell Coffee Mugs and nutrient supplements. Here are some of the main lines of coffee available:
- Espresso Roast
- Light Roast
- Medium Roast
- Dark Roast
- Flavoured Coffee
- A Custom Bundle which allows you to pick any three different types of beans
- Special Flavours- everything from Caramel to Cinnamon
Well we hope this article has been useful in helping you figure out whether Lifeboost coffee might be a good option for you. To reiterate, our recommendation is that Lifeboost coffee is for those who enjoy good coffee, care about the environment and the treatment of workers, and are pro-organic.
But we would love to hear from you. Have you tried Lifeboost coffee? How did you find it? Did you enjoy or dislike the flavour? How was the customer service?