Coffee, Anyone? Quick Switch #001

Hey, folks! I decided to begin another series: Quick Switch. It is about small, practical ways we can care for the world and make a positive impact in our community.

Sometimes small efforts can seem laughable in the face of climate change, etc. Other times personal “green” habits become a source of pride that keeps us from making deeper changes (i.e. “I recycle. That’s enough. It’s fine if I want to xyz…”). Instead of perpetuating these realities, I see small changes as faithful steps forward. They may seem insignificant alone, but together they make a real impact.

Quick Switch – a small, EASY, practical change to daily routine for the good of our common home

And, after all, we gotta start somewhere.

With every small decision we make out of love for our ecological neighbors (that’s everyone—fellow humans and the rest of the earth), we not only do LESS harm to God’s beloved creation, but we ADD to its goodness.

Even our choices about, say, our morning coffee can make a difference…   

4 Ways to Quick Switch Your Coffee Habits:

1. Purchase fairly.

Buy the coffee that is the most transparently and sustainably sourced that you can afford. Not all of us can spring for organic and fair trade and locally roasted, but if we are coffee drinkers we can aim for at least one of those.

Bottom line: Ask questions. Learn where your coffee comes from and how it gets to your cup.

2. Find ways around packaging.

Many grocers offer bulk coffee and the option to grind in store. Take a jar, fill, and do a dance because you just eliminated the need for packaging!  

If your local shop does not offer bulk coffee, consider talking with a manager or submitting a comment card.

Another option is to purchase coffee in bulk—like, Costco BULK—with some friends and distribute evenly into jars. Share the cost AND enjoy less packaging.

3. Green your brewing methods: Eliminate waste and inefficiency in the coffee brewing process.

For instance, the French Press method uses less—like, half as much—grounds than a conventional drip machine, does not require a paper filter, AND has little to no plastic parts. Save money and enjoy that tasty cuppa!

Our beaker broke in the dishwasher—bye, bye, beaker!—but I have my eye on this stainless steel model:

Also, I will say this. It is usually a good idea to use up what we have before buying new. Making sustainable changes does not have to mean rushing out to buy the latest green-tech. Within reason, I think the best thing to do is to do the very best with what we have. Then, when an objects useful life is over, replace it with an efficient and sustainable product.

The carriage house boasts a really great little conventional drip coffeemaker (above). To do the best with what is available to us, Aaron and I use compostable (bleach free) coffee filters that get buried with our table scraps in the compost pile out back. We have been using the same pack of coffee filters since we got married almost two years ago (and I think I brought them from my old place; I used a drip back then).

If we use them all before moving from here, however, we will look into these cloth drip coffee filters. All you have to do is rinse and reuse!

[I am not even going to talk about K-Cups. Their entire concept simply doesn’t make sense to me. Read here and decide for yourself.]

***Bonus Points! Remember to unplug the machine when not in use. I was making coffee this morning--that is why our machine is plugged in above. :) Every little bit of energy saved makes a difference—for the grid and your energy bill!

4. Coffee to go?

This is sooooo easy and makes soooo much sense: Make coffee to go at home!  

Saves money. Check out this coffee cost calculator.

Saves time. No more waiting in line or the drive thru!

OR, if the coffee shop is an indispensable part of your daily ritual, ask your favorite barista to fill your travel thermos/real mug. This will keep disposables out of landfill. Sometimes it saves money, too. :)

So there you have it, four ways to Quick Switch your coffee habits.

Know any other ways to love the earth and get your fix?

Share below!