Your morning cup of coffee carries with it a fairly large carbon footprint. Now don’t get us wrong—when it comes to keeping you in coffee, we are all for it, but there are some green living ways to mitigate the impact your fav drink has on the planet.
Thou shalt not buy a coffee machine that brews from a little plastic cup….
More than 5 billion K-cups (from the Keurig brand of coffee brewer) were used in 2012 alone. These plastic containers are difficult to recyclable and come with a hefty carbon footprint. In terms of green living, the single-cup coffee brewers suck so hard, not even George Clooney can convince me otherwise. Still, it’s the ease, the convenience and the sumptuous luxury of having such sweet-ass coffee at the touch of a button that lures us. If you must… then at the very least, go for sustainable coffee in reusable pods (rather than the pre-packaged kinds).
Bean there, done that…
To get the greenest cup of coffee, stick with organic and opt for fair trade or Rainforest Alliance where possible. Organic coffee is fairly ubiquitous, but if you are wondering if you should care, here’s why:
- No pesticides are used in the making of your morning mocha
- Organic coffee farm workers are spared exposure to pesticides
- Chemicals used in non-organic production strip coffee of its anti-oxidant qualities
- Organic coffee provides a habitat for local bird and insect species
When choosing between Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance blends, opt for the latter. From the UK Guardian: “The Rainforest Alliance certification system has been the choice of the key game players in the coffee industry with companies such as Costa, the high street coffee chain with the largest market share in the UK, and Kenco now both sourcing 100 per cent of their beans from Rainforest Alliance certified farms.”
Feeling bummed out?
Well, here’s some good news! The idea that coffee is bad for you is correct only when it is consumed in abundance. In moderation, green living enthusiasts can enjoy organic coffee which offers a plethora of benefits including:
- The anti-oxidant qualities of organic coffee help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, Parkinson’s disease, dental cavities, gallstones and stroke
- Coffee elevates mood and prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Coffee can help ease the pain of headaches
- Coffee drinkers have better editing skills
If the last one made you say “Say what?!” then we’ll explain: a recent study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology discovered that students who drank caffeine were better at spotting grammar errors.
So the greenest cup of coffee you can drink? Organic Rainforest Alliance in a French press with water boiled in an Energy Star kettle. This has the lowest carbon footprint in terms of energy usage, transportation and impact on the environment.
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I really have never given my coffee carbon footprint much thought. In fact, I haven’t ever really even made an effort to buy Organic or Fair Trade coffee – guess it just got in under the radar! Now that I am thinking about it – I’m really glad I never got one of those pod thingies. I will buy organic from now on and Rainforest Alliance or Fair Trade too. Your Cappuccino Cat is awesome!
To get the cleanest taste and the least negative effects from your coffee habit, consider trying organic coffee. Because coffee beans absorb the flavor of virtually everything, they are exposed to, those that are processed with chemicals tend to have a muted or distorted flavor. On the other hand, organic coffee beans offer a very clean and pure brew.
Jeez, thank you very much for posting this! I found a good recipe for an Iced Green Tea Latte. You should really check it out, it was easy! So succulent!