Enjoying coffee sustainably
Eco-friendly tips for your regular coffee
A cup of coffee wakes you up in the morning. You savour its aroma in the arvo. It’s a time to relax and recharge. Most people can’t imagine a life without coffee. Drinking coffee runs in our veins and it is a preferred choice of drink for many. It is perfectly fine to drink coffee as often as you want—so long as you pay attention to the environment. In this article, we’ll provide tips on how to enjoy your caffeine fix as sustainably as possible.
If you want to enjoy excellent coffee with no guilt, go for a high-quality option. These days, wherever you are in the world, you can find certain certifications and logos that guarantee fair trade and environment-friendly coffee. Look for the following sustainability marks when choosing your coffee:
- The Fairtrade mark tells you that your coffee has been fairly traded. Small farmers are paid at a higher purchase price for their coffee, protecting them from the highly volatile coffee market.
- Rainforest Alliance focuses on the relationship between coffee producers and the environment. Agriculture and sustainability should not be enemies. Instead, they should work together in harmony. To this end, farmers are trained locally in sustainable lands.
- UTZ Certified denotes a focus on individual steps in terms of production and end product. Any coffee carrying this mark has been grown to specific sustainability standards such as no child labour and no clearing of forested areas.
That unique coffee flavour is no coincidence. Roasting the beans produces those unmistakable aromas that make coffee what it is. The most environmentally friendly option is probably to buy your sustainable coffee direct from the roaster.
And it is especially important to support small, local roasters. They work differently to large corporations: they truly value top quality green coffee and process their beans with real care. The gentle slow roasting process used by small roasters is better for the environment.
Now that you have an eco-friendly, high-quality coffee, think about how to make a good cup. Bean-to-cup machines and pod solutions are still highly popular, but they are certainly not the sustainable options. The raw materials used to make coffee pods, and the energy required to make the drink may harm the environment.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good cup of your beloved coffee. There are other far more sustainable ways to brew your morning caffeine fix. The following methods enable you to enjoy a freshly made coffee that is both tasty and sustainable.
French press: this method requires only boiled water and freshly ground coffee. This manual coffee machine scores highly on sustainability because it produces no waste – no paper filters or pods are being used.
Moka pot: this method is a favourite in Italy that is highly sustainable. Just like a French press, the use of a Moka pot produces no nasty waste.
Hand filter: a truly classic method of coffee making. It uses home made fabric filter instead of single-use paper filters, which puts it on top for environmentally friendly options.
None of these methods produce any polluting waste. The only residue is used coffee grounds, which should not be thrown away since you can use it for a variety of purposes. You can recycle used coffee grounds to grow mushrooms, as a cleaning product, or as a face mask - which are just a few great ideas.
Use compostable coffee pods
It is well known that regular coffee pods are damaging to the environment. They quickly result in growing mountains of aluminium and plastic. These materials are a particular problem due to the levels of polluting carbon dioxide released during their manufacture, among other concerns. If you don't want to give up on pods entirely, though, there is an eco-friendlier option you can choose.
Compostable coffee pods are made from 100% organically grown plant fibres. Once used, you can simply throw them in with your organic waste and they will simply decompose. These sustainable coffee pods are available to eco-conscious coffee lovers all over the world.
Enjoy coffee alternatives
Coffee beans travel a long way to get to the supermarket shelf. So if you like to drink lots of coffee, it will be better if you support locally grown coffee alternatives. These are a good option when you are craving the coffee flavour rather than the caffeine fix.
- Lupin coffee is made from lupin seeds. This coffee alternative may not contain any caffeine but it tastes almost exactly like normal coffee made from coffee beans. With it, you can enjoy the wonderfully fresh and mildly aromatic flavour of lupin coffee.
- Grain coffee is made from a variety of grains like spelt, barley and rye. Like lupin coffee, it is completely caffeine free but delivers a similarly bitter flavour to the coffee we know and love. Aside from being eco-friendly, it also offers many health benefits, too. For example, it is gentle on the stomach, gluten free, and packed with nutrients.
- Acorn coffee, as you may have guessed from the name, is coffee made from acorns. It is known for its earthy flavours and health benefits. It boosts the immune system and lowers blood sugar.
- Chicory coffee is made from the roots of the chicory plant. The roots are finely chopped, dried, and then roasted. The juices in the roots caramelise on roasting, giving chicory coffee a similar flavour to standard coffee. You do not need to make chicory coffee at home since you can buy it in many health food shops these days.
Initially, sustainable coffee may seem like a contradiction in terms. However, there are several ways to make your coffee habit as environmentally friendly as possible. Purchasing high quality coffee from small roasters or choosing locally grown coffee alternatives while using sustainable ways to make the final drink all help to clear your coffee conscience. And what about eco-friendly coffee on the go? More and more businesses and consumers are starting to think about this issue. Michael Andresen believes that single-use coffee cups are simply not an option. His company has declared war on the billions of single-use cups in the world. Together with his customers, they have put together a circular solution. Read all about this environmentally friendly takeaway coffee concept here.