Lifeboost Coffee Review: Is This A High-Priced Scam?


There are a million coffee companies out there, but when we came across Lifeboost Coffee, we knew something was different. The marketing, the health claims, the raving fans—we had to investigate it all for ourselves in this Lifeboost Coffee Review.

We tasted the beans, reviewed the health claims… and what we discovered surprised us.

This is an honest, in-depth Lifeboost Coffee review from real coffee professionals. We live and breathe coffee—so we got down to the bottom of this controversial brand to see whether it all adds up. 

Or if it's a high-priced scam.

In our review, we’ll cover things like… 

  • The 10 coffees we tasted… and how we rate them
  • Why Dr. Livingston’s history of wacky health claims made us skeptical
  • A big red flag on the brand’s trustworthiness
  • Why Lifeboost Coffee is so expensive (and if it’s really worth it)

By the end, you’ll know whether this is the right organic coffee brand for you! Let’s get in it.

Meet Lifeboost Coffee: Health, Flavor, And Sustainability

Lifeboost Coffee is the brainchild of Dr. Charles Livingston, a serial entrepreneur and board-certified chiropractor. It’s one of several brands, including a controversial fat loss program, that aims to bring Dr. Livingston’s lifestyle suggestions to a wider audience.

Lifeboost Coffee is all from Nicaragua—where exactly they don’t say, which is a bummer. The brand makes several big claims about why their coffee is different.

  • It’s “pure”. They focus a lot on the fact that their coffee is only made of one ingredient (coffee beans). However, they also sell beans flavored with aromatic oils (pumpkin spice and smoky butterscotch), so we’re not so sure about all that. 
  • It’s mycotoxin-free. Dr. Livingston’s big claim is that his beans are processed in a way that’s free of mold-growth and toxins. While mycotoxins can cause health issues in high doses, most coffee only has trace amounts, if any. We’ll dive deeper into this claim later.
  • It’s GMO and pesticide-free. A lot of low-grade coffee beans are grown with pesticides,  but nobody wants agrochemicals on their coffee! We love it.
  • It’s low-acid coffee. Lifeboost claims their coffee is easier on your stomach, but there’s conflicting evidence about whether “low acid coffee” even exists—it's all pretty acidic. We’ll dive into the research here too.

Lifeboost Coffee comes in several roasts: light, medium, dark, espresso, decaf, and a handful of flavored coffees. We tried 10 different coffees, and we’ll get to our flavor review in a moment. But first, we have to be honest about the reservations we had going in.

A Warning: Dr. Charles Livingston Has A Sketchy History

As coffee professionals, we’re generally skeptical about companies that lean too heavily on health claims—especially when it comes to coffee. We’ve debunked a lot of coffee marketing myths, like these:

We’ve seen enough fad diets and marketing gimmicks that advertise a product as the secret way to be healthy, that Lifeboost set off some red flags for us. When we looked up the man behind the brand, Dr. Charles Livingston, what we found didn’t look fantastic.

It turns out Dr. Charles Livingston has had a lot of negative press for some mysterious (and probably unethical) marketing tactics.

There are quite a few people who claim his brands delete negative reviews to skew the ratings, people say he makes unrealistic weight loss claims, and Buzzfeed even wrote a takedown piece revealing that his team markets weight loss programs directly to anorexic teenagers (serious yikes).

We ran a Fakespot review check for Lifeboost to see how legit the reviews look, and the site received an “F” rating, with up to 60% of the reviews being unreliable.

is lifeboost coffee legit

Here’s the thing: there are always some haters out there. People make up stories, sometimes people misunderstand the marketing or the product. Sometimes even marketers of a company misunderstand their own products.

We prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt—and this review is really about the coffee anyway. So let’s get into it.

We Tasted Ten Lifeboost Coffees… Here’s How It Went

We brewed ten different Lifeboost coffees so we could see if all the hype added up to high-quality flavor. The coffees we tried were:

  • Regular Coffee — Limited Collection: Pacamara, Light Roast, Medium Roast, and Dark Roast.
  • Flavored Coffee — White Russian, Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Macchiato, French Vanilla, Hazelnut, Highlander Grogg

Let’s talk about regular coffee first.

The Regular Lifeboost Beans

Lifeboost sells several roast versions of its one primary bean. This seemed a bit unusual to us, because coffee is typically roasted to a level where its natural flavors taste their best. Sometimes that’s a light roast, sometimes it’s dark or medium—but it’s never all three.

We generally found that the default flavors of each coffee were roughly the same, and the roast level primarily correlated with levels of bitterness.

Most specialty coffee brands have distinct flavors between their roasts. For example, a light-medium might have floral and citrus notes—and the dark roast might have caramel and dark chocolate notes.

But Lifeboost’s coffees didn’t have that diversity of flavor—they all tasted roughly the same: notes of nuts and chocolate, topped off with a mild acidic tang. The light roast was the least bitter, and the dark roast was the most bitter.

Overall, we found the flavor to be simple and familiar, the kind of thing you might enjoy at a classic diner over a stack of pancakes. In the end though, it was too monotone to get very excited about (a bit disappointing for a $35 bag of beans).

lifeboost coffee review scam

The Flavored Lifeboost Beans

To be honest, we’re pretty against artificially flavored coffee beans—and these Lifeboost beans reinforced our beliefs that artificially flavored coffee just isn’t worth it.

The flavoring just didn’t blend with the natural flavors of the coffee, and it seems the extra flavor oils were used to cover up a lot of bitterness.

Why buy oil-sprayed beans when you can get coffee with rich flavors of spice, roses, tangerine, and even strawberriesall occurring naturally in carefully-grown, freshly roasted beans.

Great coffee needs no artificial flavoring. We stand by that!

We Researched 4 Questions About Lifeboost Coffee

With our coffee tasting out of the way, we started digging into some of our biggest questions about Lifeboost Coffee’s beans, health claims, and other considerations.

Why Is Lifeboost Coffee So Expensive?

Here’s the thing: most coffee is unsustainably cheap.

In our article, How Much Should You Pay For Coffee Beans?, we explore why $8 bags of coffee are bad for the coffee industry and conclude that $16-24 is what it takes to help coffee farmers get out of poverty.

That said, Lifeboost Beans are a stunning $35 for 12 ounces. That’s about 30-40% more expensive than other sustainability-focused brands. 

The idea is that the beans are Fair Trade, ethically sourced, and benefit the environment—but all that’s true of almost all coffees sold for $20 per bag. 

The justification for the high price tag didn’t seem backed up by the evidence, especially since many of Lifeboost’s claims are true of virtually all coffee brands and not unique to Lifeboost’s coffee.

Is Lifeboost Coffee Healthier?

Lifeboost makes several big health claims. Let’s review each of them.

  • Mycotoxin-free coffee. Lifeboost claims that mycotoxins (created by mold in the air) are all over low-quality coffee, and that their beans are mycotoxin-free. While it’s definitely possible, it’s a bit misleading. Virtually no high-quality coffee has dangerous mycotoxins, since good farming practices are common and roasting destroys up to 98% of any toxins that remain. Verdict?True, but not unique to Lifeboost.
  • Low-acid coffee. Lifeboost claims their coffees are easier on the tummy because they’re “low acid”. Unfortunately, they don’t define what that really means. The truth about coffee acidity is that all coffee has roughly the same acidity (4.85 to 5.10 pH), even if it doesn’t taste very acidic. Verdict?False, Lifeboost beans are just as acidic as any other coffee, even they don’t taste as acidic.

Read: 3 Reasons Coffee Upsets Your Stomach (And What To Do About It)

  • Pure, clean ingredients. Lifeboost claims their coffee “contains only one, simple, pure ingredient”. However, they sell flavored coffee beans, which are made with artificial flavor oils. Verdict?False, many Lifeboost coffees have flavor oils sprayed on them.
  • Pesticide, chemical, GMO-free. Lifeboost ensures their coffee is grown without any chemicals or GMO crops. We think this is great! However, it’s not as unusual as it sounds. Many, many farmers never use chemicals—they just can’t afford the certifications because they’re small, family-run farms. Verdict?True, but not unique to Lifeboost.

When it comes down to it, coffee is coffee, and most claims about mycotoxins have been thoroughly disproven. Unless you’re buying coffee as cheap as you can find, you have nothing to worry about. All that said, it makes Lifeboost’s strong claims seem like a lot of hype, and not a lot of unique value.

lifeboost low acid coffee review

Where Is Lifeboost Coffee From?

Lifeboost coffee all comes from one farm in the Nicaraguan highlands. They don’t say the exact farm, which is a bummer for us super coffee fans—we strongly prefer buying coffee with greater traceability and transparency.

We believe coffee companies should be up-front and honest and who they buy coffee from, and put the farmer’s story first (otherwise, how are we supposed to know it’s not just marketing fluff?).

How Much Caffeine Is In Lifeboost Coffee?

One mug of Lifeboost Coffee has between 80 mg and 120 mg of caffeine, like most coffee. Differences in caffeine levels depend on the soil health, climate, plant genetics, and even how the coffee is brewed, so we can’t really say an exact number, because it’ll change based on the year and brewing method.

The Verdict: Is Lifeboost Coffee Legit?

We tried to be as up-front as we could here with our skepticism, as well as address the questions we had with real research—and in the end, we didn’t come up very impressed.

Here’s how it shaped out in a pro/con list.

The Pros

✅ Sustainably grown beans

✅ Single origin coffee

 

The Cons

❌ Monotone, uninteresting flavor

❌ Extremely expensive

❌ Over-hyped health benefits


👎 We found Lifeboost Coffee to be far less flavorful than we would expect from a $35 bag of coffee, with over-hyped health benefits that turned out to be marketing gimmicks.

Lifeboost is a good pick for people who enjoy that classic, earthy, somewhat bitter coffee. But for the rest of us who want to explore the diverse and interesting flavors of specialty coffee, we believe it won’t quite satisfy. 

Happy brewing!