7 Ways to Make Your Coffee More Sustainable
If we had a shot of espresso for every time we saw a coffee meme on Instagram then we’d be… ridiculously caffeinated. Usually accompanied by a grumpy cat on a Monday morning, all of them are variations on a theme: “First I drink the coffee… then I do the stuff”’, “depresso: the feeling you get when you’ve run out of coffee” and “hakunamacoffee ”. No doubt coffee is one of the world’s best-loved beverages, and so on International Coffee Day we wanted to take a moment to pay our respects.
But rather than just show our appreciation with a meme, today we want to look at how we can change our coffee habits for the better. To make an impact that lasts longer than it takes to say #keepcalmanddrinkcoffee.
Don’t worry, we’d never try and take your cup away from you completely (we value our lives). We love coffee as much as the next person. Why do you think we spent all of last year coming up with our new Good Hemp Barista Seed Milk (and all day making hemp latte art with it)? But we do want to make the point that not all rituals are created equal. If you’re a drip-filter kind of guy have you thought about where that piece of paper ends up? If you grind your own beans then where do you dispose of them? And if you’re a pod popper then…oh dear.
Read on for some tips on making your coffee sustainable….
1. Remember your keep cup
Has anyone else noticed the dirty looks you get in coffee shops these days when you accept one of their single-use plastic cups? You might as well as light a cigarette and blow smoke in people’s faces, so uncool is plastic. And so it should be. Every year, over 500 billion takeaway cups pile up in landfills. Reusable cups are a way for individual consumers to do their bit to reduce this seriously ugly footprint – because nothing changes if nobody changes. We personally love Sol cups for their range of colours and materials. Oh and the personalisation option, of course.
2. Check out Volcano Works Coffee
These are the guys that do the coffee at places like WeWork and provide beans to the best cafes all over England. They’re leading the charge when it comes to better coffee with better standards. They create their own 100% ethically-traded freshly roasted coffee and are taking on Nespresso with their 100% compostable coffee pods.
3. Buy Fairtrade
So the term Fairtrade gets thrown around a fair bit. In plain terms it’s a certification which requires businesses to pay farmers a fair price for their produce, and so helps create a more transparent supply chain. It also includes rules for working standards (like the prohibition of child labour and discrimination) as well as environmental regulations (no pesticides, no GM). Coffee prices can vary from year to year, mostly due to weather conditions which are becoming all the more volatile thanks to climate change. Fairtrade laws means that even if the price of the commodity varies, there is less risk for farmers whose survival depends on them producing lots of it. When you put it like this it’s a no-brainer right?
4. Use Good Hemp Milk
As if we could mention coffee without bringing up our Good Hemp milk?! Especially our Good Hemp Barista Seed Milk, which – humble brag alert – has been voted one of the best vegan milks by Forbes. Oh actually that might have been a straight brag? Soz. But when it comes to sustainability and hemp, it’s hard to be humble. Hemp is one of the most sustainable plants on the planet. It breathes in four times more CO2 than trees, put nutrients back into the soil and irrigates itself naturally as it grows. Plus it tastes delicious – like a cross between a sunflower seed and a pine nut. See how it adds up in this totally neutral review of all dairy-free milks.
5. Ditch the Pods
Okay brace yourself coffee pod poppers. It’s not good news: K-Cup coffee pods generate huge amounts of plastic waste that does not biodegrade and cannot be recycled. This is terrible for the environment, so bad that the inventor of the K-Cup regrets ever making them, telling The Atlantic “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it”. Nespresso pods are better because they can be recycled, but unfortunately not many people actually do it. For better pods try Volcano Works capsules . If only there was a way of making coffee without waste…
6. Brew Manually
You mean like instant granules, cafetieres, stovetop percolators, or drip filters? Yup all of these methods are much more environmentally friendly than those pesky pods. Turns out instant coffee is one of the most sustainable methods on offer as it extracts a lot from the bean so uses less coffee per cup. If you’re going for a drip filter or Aeropress then make sure the filters you’re using are free from chlorine breach which can end up in landfill. Better yet try a steel filter. Apparently coffee brewed through metal tastes richer. Do it for the eco creds but stay for the flavour.
7. Recycle your Beans
Wet coffee mess is icky, we know, but you should think twice before chucking it in the bin. If you’re at home, make sure you dispose of old beans your food waste bin where it can decompose. And if you’re part of a larger organisation then check out bio-bean, a company which turns spent coffee beans into biofuels and essential oils. Better than it ending up in landfill where it can emit harmful greenhouse gasses amirite?