Review: Coffee with Health and Eco Benefits

I love coffee, love trying new coffees and love the mild buzz I get from coffee. Once upon a time I tried to resist being a regular coffee drinker and felt smug about smashing 6:30am crossfit and olympic lifting classes on caffeine-free energy (until I got more experienced and swinging a barbell around in a half sleepy state no longer felt safe). These days, on training mornings, coffee is a given. On rest days, it’s less important but still enjoyed.

My morning habit consists of getting the filter machine percolating while I hydrate with a ginger tea. Then I sit back and sip my caf (black, no sugar) slowly while writing in my journal, reading or doing my mobility moves and yoga to gently wake my body up before my work out. By the time the magic is seeping through my system I’m dressed and ready to train.

My coffee purchases range from budget supermarket buys to single estate, freshly ground from artisan roasters. So when I heard about Exhale Coffee with its health claims and sustainability efforts I was keen to know more. The brand kindly sent me a pouch to try.

How is Exhale Coffee different to other coffee?

Exhale Coffee is said to contain more polyphenols that other coffee due to the way it’s sourced and roasted. One of the many compounds that coffee contains, polyphenols is one of them – these are plant-based phytochemicals with antioxidant properties.

We’re the only company in the world to source and roast our coffee to first maximise the number of polyphenols and then to measure their antioxidant power using different independent, science labs across the UK and Europe


How does Exhale Coffee contain more polyphenols?

Ten roast and ground coffees were tested for total polyphenols at independent labs and that gave the team a benchmark to beat. A combination of factors seem to go into making a high-polyphenol and therefore ‘healthy’ coffee:

  • sourcing toxin-free, organic coffee
  • roasting at no more than medium roast ‘to optimise for chlorogenic acid which drops rapidly as you go darker’
  • roasting in multiple different ways and testing each different roast profile for polyphenols to find the best one
  • testing the brewed coffee for active antioxidants once it’s ready to drink
  • testing the brewed coffee for Niacin too, ‘to prove it can provide essential vitamins’

If you care about chemicals in your coffee then did you know about the decaf process? I didn’t previously know this but Exhale says: ‘the decaffeination processes use chemicals that not only leaves those chemicals in the beans, but it leeches out healthy compounds. We source only beans processed chemical-free.’

I’m quite sensitive to caffeine – no caffeine after 11am for me! – so I’ll definitely be keeping that in mind for the next decaf I buy.

What are the eco benefits?

There are a few interesting sustainability efforts that Exhale Coffee has in place. The labelling also proudly puts people and planet front of mind, which is a big thing for this blog.

Here’s how they make their coffee eco

  • coffee is sourced from organic farms and then ‘tested to ensure it’s free from mycotoxins, pesticides, toxins and heavy metals. While we’re not currently organic certified ourselves we’re working towards it. In the meantime rest assured, your coffee is organic even if it doesn’t say it on the packaging.’
  • coffee beans are tested at independent labs to make sure they’re free from pesticides and toxins
  • coffee is fully traceable to individual farms and even to individual farmers 
  • farmers are paid above fair trade price for their coffee – according to Exhale, ‘currently around five to 10 time above!’
  • coffee housed in a compostable pouch made a plant-based renewable material (PLA) and posted in 100% recycled and recyclable FSC certified paper
  • working towards a plastic-free pouch made from FSC certified waterproofed paper, which is fully recyclable AND compostable 

What does Exhale Coffee taste like?

The first thing that came to mind when I sipped Exhale Coffee was chocolate so I was chuffed to see it was the first word they’d used to describe it – glad to see my coffee tasting skills were on point!

The rest was super smooth, without any bitterness, subtly sweet and very rounded. I usually like a deep almost smokey coffee but I’ve really enjoyed this medium roast, with no spikiness or edges. Gorgeous – and I look forward to trying the decaf!

Let me know what you think and if you have a favourite eco (and delicious) coffee. Find me on Instagram @yanarfitness

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