Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eco-friendly coffee practices

Now that the health benefits of drinking coffee are well established (as long as it’s regular, black coffee), here are some ways to improve the sustainability of your coffee practices (and save some money):
  1. Beans. It all starts with the beans. Obviously it’s hard in most places to get truly local coffee. Do the next best thing and buy beans that are certified fair trade. Fair trade ensures that the coffee farmers are compensated fairly and ensures sustainable growing practices. If you can’t get fair-trade, go for organic, and if that’s not available go for high-end like Starbucks coffee. These are generally all shade-grown.
  2. Brewing. Use a standard drip coffee maker instead of individual-serve makers (unless you’re just making a single cup a day). Make all the coffee you will need for the entire day, so you only need to brew once. As soon as the coffee maker is done brewing, pour the coffee into a thermos (ours will keep coffee reasonably warm all day).
  3. At work. Bring your home made coffee along in a sturdy steel thermos or thermal mug – this way you know you’ll get good coffee instead of that bitter office coffee that’s been simmering for hours! And you will save time and money from running to your local coffee joint.
  4. At the coffee shop. If you’re unable to bring your own coffee (traveling, meetings etc), bring your own thermal mug to the coffee shop and ask them to pour your coffee in there. At Starbucks, you’ll save 10 cents per cup, and you’ll save the environment from all the paper or Styrofoam cups. I haven’t checked other coffee places (I don’t go to them often, because I bring my own coffee), but you can probably get a break if you ask.

What do you do to minimize the environmental impact of your coffee habit?

1 comment:

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