How to Be an Eco-Friendly Coffee Drinker

When most people think of conservation and sustainability they usually focus on what’s going into their gas tanks. The price of a gallon of gasoline is always on the news and in your face when you pull into the filling station, and it’s one of the most obvious indicators of environmental issues we have. That’s why many people try to take public transportation whenever possible, or consider buying an electric or hybrid gas/electric vehicle when they make a new car purchase. But there’s another resource that you buy even more often, which makes just as large an impact on the planet. It’s your cup of coffee. Coffee beans are the top food import in the United States, and over one hundred million people drink that delicious roast every single year. There are huge disparities in the quality of a bean based on the farming methods, and that extends to the damage the farming causes to the planet or the protection it affords Mother Nature. If you want to make sure you aren’t getting you caffeine fix in an unsustainable way, follow these tips and be an eco-friendly coffee drinker.

This probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but you are always better off making your coffee at home than buying it a cup of a time in a Starbucks or Coffee Bean. Their brews may be very nice, and some of them even support sustainable farming. But if you use another paper or plastic cup each time you go you are doing the planet a serious disservice. Buy your beans one pound at a time and grind up just enough each morning for what you need. The flavor will be better than you’ve ever thought possible, you’ll waste less resources and be able to more easily control what you are buying.

When you do pick up those fresh beans, make sure you are looking for a seal that informs you the beans were grown responsibly. The best seal you can find is the ‘Bird Friendly’ certification, given out by the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center. This basically means the strictest environmental standards were upheld in order to grow this coffee. Biodiversity was maintained, and the negative impact to the planet was absolutely minimized. Also keep your eyes out for the Organic seal, given out by the USDA. You can expect organic beans were grown with some amount of shade cover, which is healthier for the soil and the animal life than sun grown coffee plants. You can also expect that chemical fertilizers were minimized during the process. They may still have been used in some way, but it’s better than nothing. Don’t be fooled by the Rainforest Alliance seal, however. A brand can use that even if less than one-third of their beans are actually certified.

It’s also a good idea to support the farms of certain countries over others. It comes down to voting with your dollars, and you want the shade farmers to get the seal of approval. In general you can rest easy if your coffee comes from Nicaragua, Honduras, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Peru or Bolivia. By contrast, avoid coffee that has been grown in Columbia, Vietnam, Kenya, Brazil or Costa Rica, unless the beans come with the Bird-Friendly certification.

As far as the specific bean variety, you’ll see a lot of names out there. You’ll always be well served buying 100% arabica beans. These are high quality and don’t rely on chemicals. Robusta coffee, which you’ll find in most of the major brands available in the supermarket, fall on the environmentally dangerous other side of the spectrum. If you don’t want to worry about it, skip the major chains and buy your coffee from specialty shops, co-ops and small roasters. TheĀ mobile coffee bar in the mall may be convenient, but the beans you get for a little more money from the shops that truly care about what they’re serving will be far more eco-friendly.

Related posts:

  1. Will Green Coffee Bean Extract Help You Shed Pounds?
  2. 5 Health Benefits of Adopting an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
  3. Eco Friendly Universities Lead the Way in Sustainability
  4. How to Motivate Your Friends and Family to Adopt a Green Lifestyle
  5. 5 Eco-Friendly Picnic Essentials