Wake up and Smell the Coffee

The truly healthy environment is not merely safe but stimulating.” — William H. Stewart

It’s 6 a.m. The alarm goes off. You get up, get dressed, and go to the office.

At about 8:03 a.m. you’re ready for  your first (or second or third…) cup of coffee. As you wipe those little crusties out of your eyes, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is how your pick-me-up will affect the environment. Luckily, with a few simple changes, your daily “cup of Joe” can be yet another environmentally friendly endeavor.

Choosing your brew

The first step to more eco-friendly coffee is the coffee itself. There are several options available that all make a difference in their own ways. From promoting animal habitats, to maintaining healthy watersheds, to supporting good farming practices, drinking the right coffee can be a great way to do your part for the environment.

When selecting your brew, look for terms such as shade grown, organic, or fair trade”. These are signals that the coffee you’re thinking about purchasing is more helpful than hindering to the environment. You can also check to see that your chosen brew has been certified, which means it was made with a renewable mindset. Unfortunately, certification isn’t always a guarantee: While it can be expensive and in some cases next to impossible for some coffee growers to get their products certified, and other times a product labeled “certified” has only partial organic makings, a certified product is still typically a better bet than one that is not.

Photo courtesy kpcoffeshop.com

Preparing your brew

Once you’ve chosen your environmentally conscious coffee, you can continue help the environment by brewing it in a green appliance. Although coffee makers don’t top the list of big energy-wasting machines, they do have an impact, and models that use paper filters impose additional problems. To reduce these negative effects, consider replacing your coffee maker with one that provides filter-less brewing or reusable unbleached cotton or gold plated, stainless steel filters, such as Hamilton Beach’s BrewStation®.

If you’re looking for a total coffee makeover, Hourglass Coffee provides an interesting option: cold brew. This coffee maker boasts “no electricity to brew,” “no paper filters,” and “no coffee waste,” among other qualities, to help improve not only the environment but also your health. The company says coffee brewed in its coffee maker is less acidic, making it coffee much more stomach-friendly.

Sipping your brew

When you’re ready to enjoy your cup of environmentally conscious, eco-friendly coffee, don’t set back all the good you’ve done by pouring it into a plastic, paper, or styrofoam cup. Instead, opt for biodegradable cups or ones used from renewable resources. Of course, filling up your trusty mug is always a good decision because it’s reusable time and time again, and despite some rather unfriendly environmental effects, a ceramic mug is still a smart choice.

Let’s face it: That daily cup(s) of coffee makes life more bearable. So why not make life more bearable for the environmental by tweaking your brewing habits?

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