Best Choices For Sustainable Coffee Mugs

sustainable, reusable coffee mugs

When you’re trying to be more environmentally conscious it helps to buy products that you know you can use more than one time. Keeping in mind what products you can and cannot recycle is important. If you’re the kind of person who likes to frequently drink coffee on the go, you may think that your paper travel mug is recyclable. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Paper travel mugs, the type offered by most coffee chains, are not recyclable because they have a thin plastic coating that prevents the cup from absorbing the coffee and getting soggy. That is not a good thing for the environment. If you want to truly help the environment while feeding your coffee addiction then the thing you need to have is a reusable travel mug.

Benefits of a Sustainable Coffee Mug

A sustainable coffee mug is a great thing to have because it is a small, but effective, way to minimize your waste footprint on the world.

Another benefit, depending on where you like to get your coffee, is that you can get a discount when you bring your own coffee cup. This may not work in all major chains, but it is certainly worth asking about, especially at your local coffee shop.

KeepCup Toughened Glass & Natural Cork Reusable Coffee Cup

A travel mug does not have to be aesthetically pleasing in order to be worthwhile, but it is certainly a bonus. The KeepCup reusable coffee cup is so pretty that it has actually inspired some inferior knock-offs. However, the knock-offs are not of the same quality.

This mug features a natural cork grip to prevent burns. It has a tempered glass body with a white non-spill lid. It is a fantastic eco-friendly travel companion.

Joco Glass Eco-Friendly Travel Mug

This tempered glass travel mug from Joco also has Instagram-worthy aesthetics. While there is nothing to confirm this, allegedly the design of the body of the mug makes for easier mixing of creamer and sweeteners. Like the option from KeepCup, it features a completely transparent glass body, with a silicone grip and a top with matching colors.

HereandNowPottery Large Reusable Mug

If you want a truly unique travel mug then it does not get more unique than these incredible handmade mugs from HereandNowPottery. Each mug is completely handmade and fired with a lead-free white glaze to keep your coffee-drinking experience a safe one.

These mugs are eco-friendly thanks to the fact that they leave zero waste behind. The company even uses an energy-efficient kiln that heats the ceramic material up to a stone quality. This prevents the mug from being able to absorb moisture from the coffee. Not only does it keep your coffee warm for long periods of time, but it looks beautiful too.

Yeti Rambler

If you are looking for a mug that can hold up to 20 ounces and get you through your morning routine, this option from Yeti is what you are looking for. It features a rather plain, no-nonsense design. But don’t let that put you off. This is a workhorse coffee mug made of stainless steel. While the lid does not prevent spills or leaks, it is magnetic, meaning it will lock tightly to the body of the mug. This mug will keep your drinks hot or cold for hours thanks to its double-walled insulation. Best of all, if it should become damaged, there’s a five-year warranty!

bioGo Cup

Sustainable replacements for common products often come with compromises. Fortunately, the bioGo Cup does not come with such compromises. This cup uses rice husk fiber, ditching the typical glass and stainless steel designs. One thing that it has that many travel coffee cups don’t have is a flip function on the lid. It is not spill or leak-proof, but it does offer a further degree of protection than many of the lids used on other travel mugs.

BruMate Toddy

One of the biggest drawbacks to most travel mugs is that they usually do not have leak or spillproof lids. That feature alone would make the BruMate Toddy easy to recommend, but there is thankfully much more going on with this mug. It features a handle, which is always a plus. The handle is placed higher up on the body so that it is easy to place in most cupholders.

Its body is specially insulated to keep your drinks hot or cold for up to seven hours. It is also dishwasher safe, which is not found in a tremendous number of reusable mugs.

Contigo Autoseal Travel Mug

This travel mug features a modern design that will keep your drinks hot or cold for up to 5 hours. It has a durable, stainless steel body and comes in a few different colors. It fits most cupholders, and best of all features an autoseal lid, which makes it spill-proof.

MiiR TruEnamel Camp Cup

If you truly want a sustainable travel mug then it does not get much better than a mug from a company that has been certified as Climate Neutral. This stylish and ergonomic mug may not be dishwasher safe, but it makes up for that with its lifetime warranty. On top of that, it features an ergonomic design that works with many cup holders. Its glass enamel design carries no odors from prior drinks.

Circular & Co. Travel Mug

If you want evidence that a travel mug is reusable, then perhaps the best evidence for this offering from Circular & Co. is its own existence. Not only is this travel mug recyclable, but it’s also made up of recycled coffee cups. It, admittedly, only keeps your drinks hot or cold for roughly 90 minutes. However, it is guaranteed to last up to ten years and features a fully leakproof lid.

Stojo Collapsible Coffee Cup

One of the most frustrating things about carrying around a travel cup is the amount of space the cup takes up when you are done drinking from it. This unique, collapsible travel cup from Stojo solves that problem beautifully. With an integrated straw, you can sip to your heart’s content while you are on the go. When you are finished you can simply collapse the cup to a size that fits perfectly in a purse or even in your pocket.

 

How to Find Sustainable Coffee Shops

sustainable coffee shop

People are looking for all the ways they can reduce their carbon footprint: driving electric cars; buying alternative home fuel. One small way to lower one’s carbon footprint gaining popularity is seeking out sustainable coffee shops.

A sustainable coffee shop goes beyond being a coffee shop that recycles its garbage. They are committed to keeping their waste and carbon footprint very low. If you’re trying to find a coffee shop committed to sustainability then here is everything you need to know from what to look for in such a shop to how to find one.

What a Sustainable Coffee Shop Does

A sustainable coffee shop will engage in practices that set it apart from regular coffee shops. Here are some of the practices that you can immediately notice about a coffee shop to tell you whether or not it is running on a sustainable model.

An Emphasis on Recyclable Materials

One of the most obvious signs of a sustainable coffee shop will be a reliance on recyclable materials. So many coffee shops utilize coffee cups that are made of paper, save for a thin veneer of plastic that coats the cup’s interior. A sustainable coffee shop would be using totally recyclable coffee cups.

Instead of plastic trays and cutlery, they may place an emphasis on cardboard trays or wooden cutlery. They would also be using absolutely no Styrofoam as it is a non-recyclable material. You will likely not find any plastic drink stirrers either. For stirring you’ll find they use good old-fashioned metal or wood spoons.

Contributing to Recycling Efforts

One of the easiest things to notice about a coffee shop to determine whether or not it is sustainable is if there is an active emphasis on recycling. It does not simply mean that there are recycling bins, but that they are giving clear instructions on what items you have in your order that can be placed in those bins.

Bring Your Own Cup Incentives

One mark of a coffee shop that is dedicated to the ideals of sustainability is the BYOC (bring your own cup) incentive. There are coffee shops that offer a discount to customers willing to bring in their own coffee cups rather than use the disposable options from the shop. This practice not only saves you a little bit of money, but also water.

Do They Use Sustainable Coffee Brands?

There are numerous brands of coffee on the market that have made a commitment to being sustainable and environmentally friendly. You may have to ask around at different shops to purchase their supply from sustainable brands.

What makes coffee sustainable?

A coffee brand is sustainable if it makes the living conditions for the environment and people who cultivate it better. The sad truth of the coffee industry is that many of the farmers who grow and cultivate coffee face poverty. Buying from brands that pay farms fairly is an important marker of sustainability.

Coffee brands that are made from coffee farmed on land that promotes biodiversity are also important. Most coffee farms tend to rely on pesticides and other chemicals that can harm local wildlife. A sustainable farm finds concessions to promote biodiversity so that the growing of coffee beans is a process that does no harm.

Another mark of a sustainable coffee shop is whether or not they place emphasis on using paperless receipts. If they participate in compost programs in your area is also a fantastic sustainable move they will likely make. They will also use either reduced lighting or LED-based lighting to cut back on energy use and promote energy efficiency. There are even coffee makers and espresso machines that are designed to use minimal amounts of energy.

How do I find a sustainable coffee shop?

As with most things these days, if you want to find something you usually want to start with the internet. Coffee shops with sustainability as a point of conduct will typically advertise themselves as such. You can also call around to various coffee shops in your area and ask them directly if they are sustainable. However, this is a benefit that is typically only available to those who live in big cities.

The sad truth is that if you live in a small town, then your local coffee shop is still your best source of coffee. Driving a considerable distance to find a coffee shop that is sustainable burns more gas, which goes against the entire point of sustainability. However, if you are going on vacation or traveling for some other reason you can always have sustainable shops marked for your destinations.

There are also online resources that can help you find sustainable coffee shops. These lists are always updated as shops open and close, so you can stay up to date on the locations you may want to visit. Social media is also a great, real-time solution to finding sustainable coffee shop options.

What You Can Do

If you do not have any sustainable coffee shop options in your area, you may feel somewhat defeated on the subject. That does not mean that you should give up. If you don’t mind stirring the (coffee) pot a little bit, then you can start asking your local coffee shop what they do to be sustainable. Use it as a conversation starter. Make suggestions. If your local shop does not have a “bring your own cup” incentive, then suggest one.

The most important thing you can do is get the word about sustainability and what it can do for the planet, and how even your morning cup of coffee plays a part. The more that people learn about sustainable coffee, the more likely they will be to ask for it in their local coffee shop.

What is the healthiest coffee maker?

healthiest coffee maker

Recently, more and more coffee drinkers have become conscious of the health benefits and side effects that a cup of joe can have on you. And while the filters you use and the blend you choose can affect the strength and healthfulness of your final brew, many are shocked to learn that their plastic coffee maker could be responsible for leaking chemicals into their drink. This has led to increased interest in finding the healthiest coffee maker for one’s coffee.

Many plastics are produced using an old technique that dates back to the early 60s, which relies on the use of an industrial chemical called Bisphenol A, or BPA for short. Multiple studies have shown links between BPA consumption and infertility or even cancer.

Fortunately, many of the companies that manufacture plastic coffee makers have begun removing BPA plastics from their products. These products usually carry the BPA-free label, which indicates they are assembled using non-BPA plastics. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not just switching out BPA with another harmful chemical. And if your current plastic coffee machine doesn’t have the BPA-free label, there’s just no way of knowing how much contaminated liquid you drink in with every cup!

The only way to keep these dangerous chemicals out of your coffee is by using a coffee maker that contains no plastic parts. The good news is that there are tons of options if you’re looking for a non-plastic coffee maker that’s free from BPA. Here are a few of the healthiest coffee makers for true coffee lovers, made from non-plastic materials and free of BPA.

The Chemex

Coffee maker Chemex
Source: SIX CUP CLASSIC CHEMEX®,  CHEMEX® Coffeemaker

There are several reasons why the Chemex has maintained a spot as one of the most popular manual pour-overs since its introduction in 1941. First, it features a timeless, award-winning hourglass design. In fact, a version of the Chemex is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Second, the Chemex is made of glass, with a sophisticated wooden handle wrapped neatly around its body. If you prefer, there’s a newer redesign with a glass handle. Finally (and most importantly), in the hands of a skilled barista, it produces some of the cleanest coffee you’ll ever taste.

The Chemex takes a degree of skill and familiarity with your roasts to get the best brews. The Chemex produces a great cup of coffee with a range of coffees styles. It’s best for light-to-light-medium roasts.

You can purchase the company’s proprietary bonded paper filters, available in natural and bleached variations. However, there’s a wide selection of filter alternatives produced by third parties that are compatible with the Chemex. So, if you prefer a thicker coffee with more oils, you can always purchase a compatible metal filter online.

Hario V60

Coffe Maker Hario V60
Source: Hario V60 Glass Coffee Dripper Olive Wood – Hario UK

The Chemex is a beautiful product, but comes at a premium price tag. That makes it unaffordable for many people. The Hario V60 brews excellent coffee at a fraction of the cost of a Chemex.

There are several variants of the V60, giving you a great selection of looks and colors to pick from. The cheapest option is the clear plastic design, made from solid, BPA-free plastic. For just a bit more, you can get the classic white ceramic, stainless steel, or glass models — designed so plastics don’t contact the hot coffee.

Generally, coffee is best brewed at a stable 195 to 205 Fahrenheit. The heat retention capabilities of ceramic make it one of the best materials to keep your coffee at that ideal temperature range.

As with all pour-overs, the V60 isn’t the right product if you’re looking for something that you can turn on and leave to percolate. Making a great brew with the V60 will require attention and care. The effort is well worth it if you’re a fan of clean, flavorful coffee (who isn’t?).

Tons of research shows that drinking coffee regularly in the long term is beneficial for your health. But those benefits could be canceled out by the dangers of brewing coffee in a plastic coffee maker. If the Chemex or Hario V60 isn’t for you, don’t fret. There’s a huge variety of non-plastic coffee makers on the market. Research and you’ll find the perfect one.