There is nothing better than waking up with a fresh-brewed cup of coffee. Coffee fuels our lives, but if we’re not intentional with our consumption, our morning coffee habit can damage the planet.
Fortunately, a lot of this damage is avoidable with the right consumer choices. Understanding the environmental impact of coffee can help you understand what to do instead.
Here is some information on how coffee drinking can harm the planet and some tips to make your coffee routine sustainable.
The Ways Coffee Consumption Harms The Environment
Commercial coffee farming can be a destructive force. Coffee farming contributes to deforestation, soil erosion, and habitat destruction.
Further, large-scale coffee production requires a significant amount of water, putting a strain on local water resources. Producers will also use pesticides and fertilizers that jeopardize both water and soil resources with pollution.
The production and transportation of coffee beans also contribute to increased carbon emissions. Finally, you can generate a lot of waste with single-serve and disposable packaging.
Fortunately, you can reduce your impact at every level from the coffee farmer to the last drop in your cup.
To make a positive impact on your coffee consumption, here are some tips to make your morning coffee routine more eco-friendly:
Choose Environmentally-Friendly Beans
The best way to reduce the environmental impact of your coffee consumption is to select the finest quality, environmentally-friendly beans. For an eco-friendly option, look for beans with:
● Organic Certification: Organic certification means the beans were produced without the use of environmentally damaging, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.
● Fair Trade Certification: Fair Trade certification promotes ethical social and economic sustainability for coffee farmers.
● Shade-Grown Coffee: Grown under the canopy of trees, this environmentally-friendly coffee production method promotes biodiversity and protects natural habitats.
● Rainforest Alliance Or UTZ Certification: Both certification programs ensure the coffee has been grown with sustainable farming practices.
Finally, choose local coffee roasters to help reduce the carbon footprint from transportation. It’s also an excellent way to support small businesses. Further, small businesses often source their coffee beans from sustainable farms.
Brew At Home
Another way to reduce your coffee footprint is to brew your cup of joe right at home. First, you’ll be sure that the coffee beans you are using are eco-friendly.
Next, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by conserving energy when brewing. You’ll also reduce your carbon footprint because you won’t be driving anywhere. You won’t use disposable cups or any other single-use packaging, so you’ll also be reducing your waste.
Overall, brewing coffee at home reduces your impact, but it also ensures that your coffee is made the way you like it every time.
Invest In Sustainable Brewing Tools
When you brew at home, you can reduce your footprint even further by investing in sustainable tools.
Rather than using single-serve items like Keurig coffee machines, invest in coffee-makers that are more sustainable. These coffee-makers can make either iced or hot coffee but do not need single-use items like filters, pods, or stirrers:
● French Press
● Pour-Over (Chemex)
● Moka Pot
● Espresso Pot
● Copper Turkish Coffee Pot
If you still just love drip percolator coffee, you could also just invest in reusable or biodegradable coffee filters. Another good investment is a manual coffee grinder that can take fresh beans and make grounds without using energy. Finally, invest in high-quality stoneware coffee mugs. They’ll last a lifetime and preserve the flavor and temperature of your coffee.
A great way to maintain an eco-friendly morning coffee habit is to set up a coffee bar.
At your coffee bar, you can have all your coffee-making tools and store your reusable mugs at home and on the go. Then you can set up all your creamers, syrups, and beans in reusable containers. You can then buy or batch them in bulk to help save energy and resources. That way it’s easy, eco-friendly, and a fun morning experience.
Reduce Your Impact At Coffee Shops
If you don’t brew at home, don’t worry! You don’t have to give up visiting coffee shops. Instead, have a strategy to reduce your impact when you go to your local cafe. Here’s how:
- Choose a coffee shop that uses organic, fair-trade coffee and local roasters.
- Bring your own reusable travel cup if you are getting a to-go order. If you are staying, ask for a mug or a glass instead of a single-use paper or plastic cup, or bring your own.
- If you are getting food, bring your own reusable container and utensils.
- Pass on any single-use products like straws, stirrers, or coffee sleeves. If you will need to stir your drink, bring your own reusable straw and spoon.
- Choose plant-based creamers like almond, oat, and soy because they have a lower carbon footprint than milk.
By following these tips, you can reduce your impact without giving up a trip to your favorite coffee shop.
Manage Your Coffee Waste
Another important part of reducing your footprint from your coffee consumption is to reduce the amount of waste created.
Make sure that you reuse all your coffee-making and drinking tools, rather than use single-use products to cut down on your waste. Also, always use your travel cup and utensils when you take coffee on the go.
Finally, brew only the coffee you need to reduce wasting any beans. The best strategy for this is to simply brew your coffee one or two cups at a time. You can also keep your coffee in a carafe so it can be saved for the next day.
Next, make sure to have a plan to reduce your unavoidable waste. Start by recycling your coffee bag. Then compost your coffee grounds and biodegradable coffee filters.
Following these tips will significantly reduce the negative impact your coffee makes. Further, you’ll be supporting small businesses and contributing to the local economy. Best of all though, you’ll be drinking a better cup of coffee.
If you’re looking for a great coffee producer to get started, check out this list of 5 Coffee Companies With Giving Hearts. They not only have environmentally-friendly practices, but they also support important causes like raising money for local schools and fighting hunger. Shopping with them is a great place to start making your morning coffee routine more sustainable.