With a new coffee shop popping up every other week in Toronto, it’s not difficult to maintain an addiction to caffeine. From independent coffee houses to the drive-through window, there are no shortage of places to pick up a cup. Or perhaps, you make your own — brewing a Colombian Dark Roast to stir you from your morning fog or listening to the not-so-gentle hum of your espresso machine, signalling that coffee is imminent.
Here’s the kicker, though — however you choose to take your cup of joe, there’s a pretty good chance it’s not doing wonders for the environment (and if you’re not concerned about that in 2018, you need more than coffee to wake you up).
From the plastic cups and stirrers that are thrown away every day to the larger issue of water used to brew our coffee and the environmental footprint of shipping it across the globe, it affects the planet. And, since we’re not about to give up coffee any time soon, we need to think about responsible ways to drink it.
If you’re looking for a way to go green without sacrificing taste, here are some simple switches to make your morning coffee better for the environment.
Buy organic and Fair Trade coffee
Supporting small businesses is not the only reason to order your triple, venti, no-foam latte from a local coffee shop. There’s a good chance they’re purchasing their products locally, meaning less of a carbon footprint goes into brewing your cup of java. Choosing organic coffee means saying goodbye to unwanted pesticides, which in turn gives us a brew with even more flavour. Plus, when we buy Fair Trade coffee, we know that we’re paying farmers fairly and supporting small-scale harvesters. Taste good, feel good.
Use 100 per cent compostable coffee pods
Before we stopped to think about the environmental impact of of Keurigs, we were hooked on the super-convenience afforded by the single-serve coffee pods. But unfortunately for the 1.5 billion Canadians who use them annually, most of those pods are ecological dead-ends that fill up landfills.
Praise be then, for 100 per cent compostable coffee pods, like One Coffee. They’re made in Canada, K-cup compatible, (Keurig, Cuisinart or Hamilton Beach brewers) plus, they’re organic and fair trade. Finally, a coffee that’s as good for the planet as it is for mere mortals.
Use a travel mug
From plastic cups, stirrers, napkins and sugar sachets, the wastage involved in coffee shops is enough to make us start a new life in an eco-village. However, we can start by using our own personal mug for coffee. Plenty of travel mugs on the market keep your drinks cool and hot, so it can double up as your water bottle. Plus, a lot of coffee shops are catching on and will reduce the cost of your cup if you present your own travel mug. Thrifty and green? Go team.
Recycle your coffee grounds
By now, we're well-versed in recycling. But what about composting? You can compost your used grounds instead of chucking them in the garbage when you're done. Alternatively, you can add them to your soil if you have a garden — the coffee grounds will add organic material to the soil, improving drainage and water retention, and eventually will add nitrogen.
Don’t make too much
We know how strong the temptation is for coffee-coffee-coffee when you need that jolt of adrenaline. But you should only brew what you plan to drink to save on water. Making a vat of coffee when you know it's only you in the house is wasteful. To save on electricity, you could even invest in an eco-kettle if you boil yours multiple times a day.