Sustainable Coffee Habits for the Summer
Drinking a cup or more of coffee each day is not only an expensive habit, but it can also have an impact on the environment. Single-serve machines, disposable cups, energy consumption, and water usage all factor into how drinking coffee can increase a person’s carbon footprint. Beyond buying from fair trade suppliers, businesses and home drinkers can make their caffeine habit more sustainable by following these eco-friendly tips and tricks for caffeine lovers.
Cold Brew Coffee
Whether coffee is taken hot or cold, one of the most sustainable ways to brew a cup or more each day is by using the cold brewing method. There’s no need to heat water at all, which means no energy is consumed during the process. Coarsely ground coffee beans can steep in cold water for a prolonged period, usually around 12 hours, before the water is strained out. The grounds can be added to boiling water to make a cup of hot coffee, or use the chilled concentrate to make a cold beverage. This method uses far less energy than any other brewing method, and many experts agree that it results in just as smooth of a flavor. The end result also contains less acid than hot brew coffees, making it gentler on sensitive stomachs.
Keep Coffee Cold
During the summer, many coffee drinkers choose to ditch the traditional steaming cup of joe for a more refreshing iced beverage. Some baristas use the Japanese method to make iced coffee, immediately cooling the drink on ice as it’s brewed to create a rich and complex flavor while using a minimal amount of water. At home, many enthusiasts brew their coffee hot and immediately chill it in the fridge, but this method is fairly energy intensive. One of the eco-friendliest ways to prepare iced coffee is by using the cold brew method and drinking the beverage chilled.
No matter how it’s brewed, drinking iced coffee is overall a more sustainable habit than drinking hot coffee each day. There’s no need to use any sort of heat when making cold brewed iced coffee, and with drip-brewed varieties, caffeine lovers don’t have to use a coffee maker with a thermal plate. These can consume a great deal of electricity as they warm a full carafe throughout the day.
Use a Thermal Mug
Caffeine enthusiasts can drastically reduce their daily trash production by switching from plastic or Styrofoam cups to a reusable container, especially those who drink more than one glass a day. Thermal mugs also hold a beverage’s temperature more efficiently, allowing drinkers to enjoy both hot and iced coffee for longer. Coffee lovers who use disposable cardboard sleeves to protect their hands can further reduce their material consumption by switching to a reusable sleeve made of foam, cloth, or even biodegradable materials such as bamboo fiber.
Written By: Sally Perkins
Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.