If you've been wondering how to make the "best chia choices" - well I have been too. I've been studying chia for a few years now and during the last two years I studied a few brands pretty intently. The results were quite surprising! I had a hard lesson to learn on this one... thought I knew and forgot one important lesson before recommending my choice.
I had a container of AZChia that was more than 3/4 full. I was comparing it against another brand called Rainforest. I became happy with the way AZChia was comparing. The Rainforest brand seemed to be surpassing AZChia in my most relied upon test (how much water did the chia seeds take in which resulted in more hydrated chia gel). One difference between Rainforest and AZChia is this: Rainforest flushes the seeds with nitrogen to keep them fresh. I know there are claims that the seeds last a couple of years or more out of the refrigerator, but I have found evidence of broken seeds amongst the whole ones which does not disqualify them to be included in my best chia choices.
I prefer to keep my chia seeds as fresh as possible (nitrogen flushed or not) so keep my chia seeds refrigerated in a tightly closed container.
After continuing to use Rainforest chia and very happy with the results I was feeling, I recommended this brand to a couple of people. Their results were not as outstanding as mine were. In fact, they were poor results. One person showed very poor results in my chia gel hydration test. The other person found them to have a plastic smell upon opening. He was able to send them back to the company for a replacement but found the replacement containing very small seeds. These small seeds resulted in poor chia gel hydration.
I had to open my eyes to some very important information that I was ignoring. After further research which entails looking more closely, I had to conclude the big difference in brands has to do with the source. I should never have claimed this product to be my best chia choice without having tested throughout the year.
When a large company buys products from many different farmers without having some control over their growing and harvesting procedures, that company will end up with a wide variety of seeds (the good and the bad). The lot numbers were all different between the three examples of Rainforest. And the differences were dramatic.
My conclusion, Rainforest chia can have great chia and very poor quality chia, similar to other brands I had been testing. The same basic reason, from my experience, is the demand for chia around the world has resulted in good companies meeting that demand without their ability to control their quality down to the farmers.
The other very important factor that can give the apparency of bad results when looking for special superfoods is small young chia seeds. As I continued to use my Rainforest chia, I found them to become less potent by test. I had reached the last 1/4 of my container and was getting more of the small young chia seeds. This reminded me of the "shaking container trick." I hadn't been doing that.
I found my AZChia that I had saved in my refrigerator and this time, I shook the container well and began using it again. It was testing much higher than when I had used it previously. I remembered that I had transferred the contents from the original bag into another container. This action ended up putting the smaller seeds on top. That is what I was comparing. This time, I shook the container well and it looks like they mixed back in with the larger seeds. I'm getting great results!
This is a good test for you to develop your list of best chia choices. It takes time but well worth it in the end.
I now make it a practice to shake my chia seed containers before use to avoid having the smaller seeds separate. I like consistency and I know that nature does not provide food right out of the ground from seed to harvest at the same time. There will always be large and small chia seeds in the same package. But sometimes you'll find companies with mostly small and others with mostly fully grown and ready when harvested. It's great to buy from the companies that have good control over that process.
So my top choice is still AZChia. It has been the most consistent in quality throughout the last two years. It's potency is not always as high as some others that I have found. But those "others" were never consistent. When I went back for more, their potency was gone and the quality poor more times than high.
The growers, the weather, the buyers are all factors and Mother Nature has had her hands full these last few years. I trust Wayne Coates to continue to do his job to ensure he delivers consistently good quality chia seeds throughout the year. (Update - This year of 2013, I am very happy to say the AZChia seeds are the highest quality I've experienced so far.)
You are the one that counts and money versus quantity and quality are very important factors. The above should give you some idea of what I've found.
Now its your turn to see what you choose for your best chia choice. I have not investigated all the chia companies around the world. I'm sure there are more.
For more information about chia, you might go to: