Green Your Coffee

Once I became a mom, I discovered the wonders of coffee. And, I’ve been hooked ever since. Often, it’s the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning when I just want to stay under the covers. And, when my husband wakes up before me and makes it and brings me a cup, wow, there are few things better.


While it’s just a small part of our day for coffee drinkers, how you drink your coffee does matter. Coffee is the number two import in the US, right behind oil. Since we buy so much of it, our purchasing decisions can have a big impact. Fortunately, you can have your cup of joe and support workers and the environment.

Here’s how:

The cup – Reusable or disposable – this post from slate.com covers the dilemma much better than I can. After reading it though, my choice and recommendation remains – a reusable ceramic mug.

The coffee beans – fair trade, shade grown, bird-friendly, organic – the labels can be confusing. Just remember to look for the fair trade logo (insert attached photo below this paragraph) on the coffee bean package. 85 percent of fair trade coffee is also shade grown and organic. You’ll get a high-quality cup of joe and ensure that your purchase will help coffee growing communities worldwide. You can find fair trade coffee at most any store that sells coffee, or search for local fair trade coffee suppliers here.

The machine – There has been an obsessive amount of analysis on this topic – sustainability experts must be a bit sleep deprived. The bottom line is: a coffee maker with a reusable metal filter and a thermos-style metal coffee pot is the greenest way to go. You can also forgo the coffee maker all together and go with the French press, which is what I use to make coffee when we are camping. Takes a bit of work to learn how get it right but makes a great cup of coffee.

Finally, the best way to green your coffee is to brew at the home or office, and avoid the drive to the coffee shop. Brew at home and bring it with you in a to-go mug. That way, you can pass on the four dollar cup of coffee and the long line that you have to wait it to buy it. 

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