Lesson 5: Greening your coffee habit

Author: Caitlin Jacobs, Office of Sustainability

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Coffee Beans
Living a greener lifestyle can include what coffee you purchase. Buying shade-grown coffee beans helps prevent tropical deforestation.

If you are among the more than half of all Americans who drink coffee daily, your coffee setup is another opportunity to act sustainably and care for the Earth. 

Start with your beans. Shade-grown coffee beans prevent tropical deforestation, and fair trade means that your farmer was appropriately compensated for the difficult, multi-year process of getting those beans to you. Local roasters are often able to provide better insight on this than larger companies. If you buy whole beans in bulk at the grocery store, there’s no packaging. You can grind the beans yourself at home, which makes the coffee stay fresher-tasting for longer and you’re more likely to use it all. If you often find yourself with excess brewed coffee but don’t want the plastic waste of a single-cup brewer, consider something like the Aeropress or a single-cup pour-over maker. I have one for my office. Another option is to invest in a quality thermos for carrying your coffee to work each day. In the summer, I use a reusable cotton bag (coffee filter) in a pitcher to make cold brew coffee concentrate for use in many café-style iced lattes and other treats.

What helps me: Aeropress single-cup brewer, classic thermos, reusable straw for iced coffee days

Caitlin Jacobs is the sustainability program manager in the Office of Sustainability. You can find more sustainable living ideas on the Vatican’s new Laudato Si' Action Platform.

Originally published by Caitlin Jacobs, Office of Sustainability at ndworks.nd.edu on February 08, 2022.