Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia around 800 A.D.; can you imagine ever having to wake up without your warm, comforting boost of energy? The world drinks over 500 billion cups of coffee per year, so it comes as no surprise to hear that it’s the second most traded commodity on Earth, right after crude oil.
When I think about coffee I think of chic Italians drinking espresso by the canal. I think of the morning commuters in New York at their favorite local cafe. I think of catching up with friends over Sunday brunch. Coffee itself is a culture, one that is spread out all over the world.
But coffee has changed. Gone are the days of the percolator and traditional espresso makers, replaced by the ever-evolving Nespresso and Keurig single-serve systems. Not only are they easy to operate and quick to serve you your favorite brew, but you don’t have to make a whole pot anymore! No more coffee filters! The days of waste are over! Not.
K-Cups Are Killing the Planet
These single serve machines use coffee pods (K-Cups), a plastic container designed to make you one cup of whatever drink you choose. 2013 was the year Green Mountain Coffee (Keurig’s former name) produced enough of these coffee pods to wrap around the equator 10.5 times. That’s a lot worse than pouring half a pot of hot water and coffee grinds down the drain. These coffee pods are made of No. 7 plastic, which can’t be recycled in most places. And even if they could, their tops are made of aluminum, making it nearly impossible to separate and recycle correctly. The source of these facts? Kill The K-Cup. Yup, there’s an actual organization dedicated to getting rid of them.
With the original version of the Keurig, it was possible to purchase a reusable pod that you could refill with your own coffee grinds. The latest versions, however, make it so you can only purchase the actual K-Cup brands with the barcode, or else the machine is rendered useless.
It’s not just coffee either. Pods can be purchased to make flavored drinks, tea, soda… And they aren’t cheap.
& Your Budget
At Wal-Mart, an 18 pack of Folgers Classic Roast K-Cup Coffee Pods will run you $10.97 CAD. That might last you a little over two weeks if you’re a one-cup-a-day type person. Folgers Classic Roast Ground Coffee 920g will ALSO cost $10.97 CAD. The difference? It’ll last you about 4 months, and that’s for the two-cups-a-day person.
Get your hands on a french press. DO IT! DO IT NOW! I got mine for $9.99 at IKEA. You can get fancier ones of course, but my basic college budget only has room for basic college things right now. Not only does the french press eliminate waste and cost less, but it looks SO MUCH classier in your kitchen!
TIP: Don’t stir the french press with a metal spoon, it could break the glass! Use a wooden chopstick instead.
And don’t think you’re limited to only making coffee! There are tutorials all over Pinterest about how to make a chai latte, steamed milk, hot chocolate… the list is never ending! (Here’s a recipe for an optionally vegan French Press Chai Latté from the blog Brewing Happiness.) Such a simple change can create so many positive changes for you, your wallet, the planet, your children, their children, the future of humanity… and they come in a wide range of colors and sizes to suit everyone’s needs.
(ESPRO – from $39.99 to $119.99 – www.thebay.com)
(BARISTA – $79.99 – www.thebay.com)
CHALLENGE: TRY USING A FRENCH PRESS FOR 1 WEEK. LET ME KNOW HOW IT GOES IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
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