June 5 is World Environment Day. Sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), this year's theme is "Think. Eat. Save. Reduce Your Footprint." In the spirit of brewing a greener cup of Joe, we've compiled a list of five ways to reduce your coffee carbon footprint.
1. Switch to a Manual Brewing Method
- For Espresso - Consider the Handpresso Wild Hybrid or the ROK Espresso Maker. Both will let you make great espresso without using one amp or volt of electricity.
- For Regular Coffee - Try a French press or pourover coffee maker. If you're going the French press route, consider a double-wall, vacuum-insulated model from Espro, Freiling, or Bodum to keep coffee hotter longer. Interested in pourover coffee? Take a look at the Hario line of easy-to-use equipment.
- For Drip Coffee - Ditch the warming plate for an eco drink. Consider high-end coffee makers, like the Bonavita Exceptional Brew. This SCAA-certified brewer has a stainless steel carafe to preserve drink temperature.
2. Make Your Coffee at Home - Not only will you be able to make a custom drink, tailored to your tastes, you'll be doing our planet a favor. Brewing at home means less wasted gas getting to and from your favorite coffee shop, as well as less disposable cups littering the landfills.
3. Use the Energy-Saving Feature on Your Home Machine - Most super-automatic espresso machines and some single serves, such as the Nespresso CitiZ Eco, have energy saving features that can make a world of difference. These eco features will often automatically switch the machine to standby mode or even turn it off after a certain amount of idle time.
4. Choose Earth-Friendly or Certified Organic Coffee - Coffee sold as certified organic must, by FDA standards, be sustainably grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Consider Caffe D'arte Organico Whole Bean Espresso if you're looking to give organic coffee a try. Looking for pre-ground coffee? Another great alternative is the Lavazza Tierra! line of Rainforest Alliance Certified sustainable coffee.
5. Compost Used Coffee Grounds - Once you're done brewing, don't toss your spent grounds. They contain 2% nitrogen and are an excellent addition to a compost pile.