6 Tips for Buying and Enjoying Sustainable Coffee

Sustainable Coffee

Coffee is a wonderful drink that is highly valued all across the globe, and that has been enjoyed for centuries. The history of coffee is rich and full of interesting developments. More recently, folks have become more concerned than ever about purchasing and enjoying coffee in the most sustainable ways possible.

Keep on reading for some ideas on how to buy and enjoy coffee sustainably.

Do Some Research

Coffee is considered to be sustainable if the growing, harvesting, roasting and selling of the coffee product is invested in:

  • Conserving nature
  • Improving the livelihoods of its growers
  • Sustaining the supply of coffee
  • Strengthening the demand for coffee

Doing a deep dive into your favorite coffee brands, and investigating things like where they source their coffee, how they reciprocate the community for it, and how they package and sell their coffee is an important part in buying sustainable coffee. It is a healthy habit to know more.

Connect with Local Roasters

Local roasters are the best place to start your coffee journey. Like with fruits and vegetables, coffee is often higher quality and more sustainable when you buy closer to home.

Plus, you can get a much better idea of where the coffee is coming from by speaking directly to the experts at your local roastery. They can tell you about how they source the beans, and the relationships they have with their suppliers.

Check the Label

Labels can tell you a lot. Especially the labels on coffee. Labels on the side of your coffee can tell you if its organic, fair trade, or if the bag itself is made from recycled materials.

If you are concerned about the sustainability practices of the coffee brand you like to drink, or lack thereof, then perusing the labels, and the significance of the labels, can tell you a lot.

Avoid Big Brands

As with agriculture, the bigger the brand, the more likely that the coffee comes from less sustainable practices.

Smaller brands and independent coffee roasters have smaller footprints. They take up less space, spend less money and energy, and create fewer outputs. They tend to pay their people more, source their coffee more equitably, and be more concerned for the natural environment.

Use a Plastic-Free Coffee Maker

Keurig coffee machines, and other single-serve brewers, are far from sustainable. They rely on single use plastic pods to brew small batches of coffee. Millions of these pods end up in landfills every year.

Yes, it may be true that single-serve brewers use less water and consume less electricity. But they are notorious for producing a lot of plastic waste.

If you must rely on a single-use brewer, it’s worth looking into recyclable pods, compostable pods, and reusable pods. Cleaning your coffee maker right is also important. However, even the solutions to the original K-cup problem have their setbacks.

Compost Your Grounds

Coffee grounds make excellent compost. Even most coffee filters can be composted. By adding your used grounds to the compost pile, or fertilizing your plants directly, you can sustain the usefulness of coffee.

Coffee grounds in soil is good for:

  • Adding aeration
  • Increasing organic matter content
  • Retaining more water
  • Enhancing drainage

From your cup, to the compost, it is possible to purchase and enjoy coffee in sustainable ways. By following some tips from above, and investing in reputable coffee brands, you can be a part of the solution that helps keep quality coffee around forever.

How to Clean a Coffee Maker

Coffee Maker

Every coffee lover knows how frustrating it can be to clean out all the build-up that accumulates in your coffee maker over days or weeks of regular use. Even with careful scrubbing, warm water, and dish soap, those stubborn stains and residue just won’t get out. The worst part? They can make your coffee taste bitter and remove a lot of the aroma and flavor from the roast.

Since you’ll be drinking the stuff it makes, you should never use strong cleaners to get rid of coffee build-up. Yes, they’re totally effective at getting the gunk out of your coffee maker, but you’re risking poisoning your next cup of joe! Not to mention the effect those harsh chemicals have on the environment when you throw them out. That’s why we’re here to show you how to clean a coffee maker the eco-friendly way.

Here’s the full list of everything you’ll need to clean a coffee maker:

  • Vinegar
  • A clean rag or tissues
  • Clean coffee filters
  • Water (preferably running water from a sink)

That’s it! No need to resort to expensive cleaning solutions; everything you need can be bought at your local drugstore for less than $10. This is one of the ways you’re wasting your money on unnecessary purchases.

Now that you’ve got everything ready, it’s time to get to cleaning!

Fill your pitcher to the brim with a mixture of half vinegar and half water. Now, let it sit for a few minutes while the solution works its magic. The acetic acid in white vinegar will slowly kill bacteria and munch away at the calcium buildup in your coffee maker.

Now, stick a clean filter on your maker and pour about half of your water-vinegar solution into the reservoir. Power on your coffee maker and let it brew for a few minutes.

Next, turn off the coffee maker and let it just sit. Again, leaving it to rest will allow the acid in the vinegar to get to work tearing down mineral buildup. The heat from the brew will accelerate the process.

It’s time to pour all of your vinegar-water out of your pitcher and reservoir and down the drain.

You don’t want your coffee to taste like vinegar, so we’ve got to get all of that stuff out of there! Fill your coffee maker with regular water and let it brew. Do it twice to make sure all the vinegar’s gone.

Now, grab a rag or tissue and dry it out.

See? That wasn’t so hard! Do this at least once a week to keep your coffee maker clean and brewing consistently delicious coffee.

Related Reading: 6 Ways to Make Your Coffee Habit More Sustainable

6 Ways to Make Your Coffee Habit More Sustainable

Make Your Coffee Habit More Sustainable

Coffee is the second most sought after commodity in the world. There is no denying that coffee has a large impact on the environment. Unfortunately, that impact is mostly negative. Many factors involved in coffee consumption and production are harmful to our planet. However, this does not mean that we have to give up our daily coffee. Instead, we can become more mindful and make small adjustments to make our coffee habit more sustainable.

1. Coffee beans

Buying coffee beans is the first step you can change to make your coffee habit more sustainable. The choice you make when selecting coffee beans can make the most significant contribution to your sustainability efforts. This will not only influence what type of coffee production you support, but also the social and economic effect on the coffee producers. Therefore, you should pay attention to labels that are Fairtrade or organic. By opting for Fairtrade coffee, you can support coffee farmers around the world and help protect the environment. You should also buy your coffee beans locally to reduce negative environmental effects of transportation.

2. Use more sustainable preparation methods

There are a lot of different methods and appliances to prepare your coffee. However, some of these appliances create an incredible amount of waste. Pod-machines, such as Nespresso, consume a lot of energy and produce waste that often cannot be recycled. More sustainable alternatives include drip coffee makers, the French press or aero press. If you prefer filter coffee, you should use reusable filters that are made out of metal or cloth. This will prevent additional waste from paper filters.

3. Buy a reusable coffee cup

Many coffee shops sell coffee in single-use plastic cups. These cups are not very environmentally friendly as they are often not recycled properly. If you are prone to buying takeaway coffees, you should bring your own refillable cup or flask. Coffee shops usually offer incentives for customers who do this and you may even get a discount on your coffee. However, if a disposable cup is unavoidable, you can use a 100% compostable coffee cup.

4. Reuse coffee grounds

Reusing coffee grounds does not necessarily mean putting them back into your coffee machine. To get as much use as possible out of your purchase, you can use the grounds for other benefits. Coffee grounds can act as a skin exfoliator, plant fertilizer and deodorizers for your fridge.

5. Milk and sugar dispensers

In order to avoid additional waste, you can use glass dispensers for your sugar. Single packaged coffee creamer and sugar creates a lot of harmful waste in the environment. By switching to glass containers, you not only reduce waste but you can also recycle them once you are finished with them.

6. Dispose of coffee grounds in compost bins

Approximately 6 million tonnes of coffee grounds get sent to landfills every year. To prevent coffee ground build up, you should use a compost bin to dispose of your grounds. These must be composted for around 100 days before you can use them as fertilizer. 

Related Reading: Coffee Brewing Method and Health – What You Need to Know

Coffee Brewing Method and Health – What You Need to Know

Coffee Brewing Method and Health

As coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, it is easy to understand why it comes in so many forms. In fact, each coffee brewing method produces a slightly different result and can be linked to varying health benefits. Over the years, researchers have shown that drinking coffee can lower the risk of diabetes and heart failure.  However, these benefits are dependent on the type of coffee and brewing method you use.

Unfiltered Coffee and Health

According to a study in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, you will only experience positive health benefits if you drink coffee that is prepared with a filter. “Unfiltered coffee contains substances which increase blood cholesterol. Using a filter removes these and makes heart attacks and premature death less likely,” said Dag Thelle, the author of the research. “Our study provides strong and convincing evidence of a link between coffee brewing methods, heart attacks and longevity”.

The research implies that those who make coffee using a French press may experience a rise in blood cholesterol. This is because unfiltered coffee contains greater amounts of kahweol and cafestol, which are chemicals in the oil droplets within the coffee. These substances can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, thus increasing the risk of heart problems. Thelle advised that people who know they have high cholesterol levels should stay away from unfiltered brew. For everyone else, be aware of the potential risks or switch to a filtered brewing method instead.

Filtered Coffee and Health

Coffee lovers may wish to opt for filtered brewing methods to keep enjoying their coffee with a clear conscience. In fact, drinking filtered coffee can be healthier than drinking no coffee whatsoever. Filtered coffee is made by pouring the coffee through a paper filter. This brewing method is often referred to as drip or pour over. Both men and women who drank filtered coffee experienced a 15 percent reduction in the risk of premature death. People who drank filtered coffee also presented lower risks of having heart disease or a stroke.

The study also found that those who drink between one and four cups of filtered coffee a day have the lowest mortality rate out of all of the analyzed groups.  “The findings showed that those drinking the filtered beverage did a little better than those not drinking coffee at all. This could not be explained by any other variable such as age, gender or lifestyle habits. So we think this observation is true,” Thelle said. These findings are important and other studies have corroborated the evidence. The American Heart Association found that filtered coffee can also improve mental focus and performance during exercise. Consuming coffee from this brewing method can also lower the risk of different types of cancer, liver disorders and melanoma.

  • Conclusion

Many research findings have confirmed that your choice of brewing method can have different effects on your health. In order to avail of the benefits of drinking coffee, you should consider opting for filtered coffee. Also, make sure you have a BPA free coffee maker.