Coffee or tea? The age-old question that most people have rather strong opinions about. But whether your team coffee, team tea, or team “I don’t really care” these two beverages are present in your life. Here’s how you can have ensure your morning cup (or cups) are both delicious and sustainable.
Perhaps the most obvious way to make your morning cup sustainable is to get a reusable cup. The important thing is to get one that you really enjoy, this way you’ll be that much more likely to use; both at home or on the go.
Before you feel the need to go out and buy the “latest and greatest” coffee cup, I encourage you to check out your local thrift store first. You’d be amazed at how many high-quality cups end up here. Better for the environment and easier on your wallet.
Now lets talk about coffee. I’ve got a bit of a love hate relationship with coffee. Drinking more than half a cup with practically ensure that I’m bouncing off the walls vibrating. However, I know just how many people have coffee every single day. Here’s how to make your morning cup of joe a sustainable one:
Fair Trade: Look for certified fair trade coffee. What does this mean exactly? This means that the individulas who grew, harvested, and produced this coffee were paid fair wages. They are paid a livable wage just as they deserve! Does this coffee tend to cost a bit more? Yes. But when you buy this coffee you are supporting a worthy cause. You are using your money to show the importance of fair wages for all people.
Buy in Bulk: When possible opt for buying your coffee in bulk. Bring your own container and fill it on up. A large majority of coffee bags and cannisters and made from and/or lined with non-recyclable plastics, meaning that bag is going to end up in the landfill. When you buy in bulk you eliminate this waste and are also able to get the exact amount you want/need.
How to Brew: There are literally countless ways to brew a cup of coffee. My favorites are French press and pour over. Why? Besides from the way the coffee tastes, these methods reduce the amount of plastic being used. Look for a French press at your local thrift store, ideally made from glass and metal but no worries if there is plastic. This way, if your French press breaks beyond repair, you’ll be able to recycle materials that are much easier to reuse than plastic. Pour over is another great method because all you need is.a ceramic pour over and a filter. We have grown accoustumed to dispolable single use filters. To minimize this waste I reccomemnd using a metal filter or a reusable hemp one.
While there is no one “superior” way to brew coffee, these methods also eliminate the need for a fancy applicane. Coffee makers rarely outlive our own lifetime which means they end up in our landfills. If you do truly enjoy a tradtional coffee maker, be sure to take care of it so it can lasts many years. Treat it well and do your best to repair it rather than tossing it at the first sign of a mishap.
K-Cup Conundrum: Ahh the dread K-cup. The trend that is filling our cups and our landfills. I understand the draw of wanting to brew a single cup of coffee but goodness gracious these “pods” are wasteful. If you’re an avid Keurig user, purchase a reusable K-cup. This allows you to fill your own pod with your favorite fair trade coffee and avoid tossing a plastic pod in the landfill each and every day.
If I had to choose between the two I’d choose tea. Good tea is better than…well a lot of things really. Like coffee, there are many ways that we can make our consumption of tea more sustainable.
Fair Trade: Yup, just like coffee purchasing tea that is fair trade ensure that all parties involved are receiving fair and safe wages. Also like coffee, be sure to look for the “Fair Trade Certified” label on any tea you are purchasing.
Loose Leaf: Purchasing loose leaf tea is another simple sustainability swap. Also, doing so reduces the overall amount of waste (i.e. no bags, tags, or boxes), it is usually more vibrant in flavor, AND cheaper than buying many brands of tea. When you buy loose leaf tea you may be amazed at how little you actually need to brew a strong cup. At major grocery stores loose leaf tea can be found in the bulk food section among the spices.
Best Brew: Similar to coffee, you can brew loose leaf tea in a French press. Another method is to buy a tea diffuser. I recommend finding a very fine metal diffuser. This will ensure that all of your tea doesn’t escape through the holes and end up in your cup.
Bag Free: Does this mean ALL tea bags are bad? Nope! A very large majority of tea bags are actually made from plastic meaning you can’t compost or recycle them…aka they end up further polluting our planet. Thankfully, there are some brands that are focused on making a sustainable tea bags. My two favorites are YOGI and PUKKA. Both companies ensure that all aspects of their tea is compostable and recycle. This means you can compost the tea bag, the package, and recycle the box (woohoo).
Making your coffee and tea time sustainable doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s all about making simple swaps that help the planet we all share.
Certified Fair Trade: https://www.fairtradecertified.org
French press: https://amzn.to/2UZvP03
Pour over: https://amzn.to/2SAHb95
Metal filter: https://amzn.to/3211YG6
Hemp filter: https://amzn.to/37HmJYI
Reusable K-cup: https://amzn.to/2u8kwaX
Tea Diffuser: https://amzn.to/38NefRb
Pukka Tea: https://www.pukkaherbs.com/our-mission/