Zero Waste: Coffee
I love coffee. The smell of coffee. The taste of coffee. Coffee shops. I simply love coffee. Good coffee is just a part of my life and now good zero waste coffee is a part of my everyday life.
This year has been about being more intentional in my life. Intentional about my time, the products I use, the amount of trash that I use and slowing down to simply enjoy the moments in life. So, I could go into details about how much waste is produced every year by the massive amounts of trash caused by coffee drinkers, but I will leave that research for you to do, for now. Today, I am simply sharing how our family has gone zero waste when it comes to our coffee.
I ended up spending a lot of time researching grinders, filters and pour over coffee kettles. I have already been purchasing my coffee beans in bulk from one of our local stores and just needed to take the additional steps to begin our zero waste coffee mornings.
buy fair trade coffee
Coffee can only be grown in certain parts of the world and so, coffee beans are imported. There are only two states in the US that can grow coffee, one of them is California and the other is Hawaii. Coffee is a popular beverage and there is a lot of money to be made in the industry. Fair trade simply means that certified coffee producer organizations are guaranteed to receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for their coffee, which aims to cover their costs of production and act as a safety net when market prices fall below a sustainable level. I purchase my coffee from a local store that sells in bulk which means that I can take my jar in, place my choice of coffee beans inside and then pay for them. There is no throwing away another package once I get home. I know that not everyone has access to stores that sell in bulk but these types of stores are becoming more popular and you can also check here to see if there is a local store near you.
grind your own coffee
If your purchasing whole beans, you will need a way to grind them. When you buy coffee that is already ground, you have lost the freshness of the taste. Using fresh ground beans will result in a much stronger flavor and the subtle tastes of your specific type of bean are more noticeable.
In my research for a high-quality coffee grinder, I found the Camano Coffee Mill. The Camano Coffee Mill is made in the USA, which is important to me. I enjoy knowing that my money is supporting another family and their dream. The Camano Coffee Mill offers settings for a super fine grind (Turkish) to a coarse grind (French Press) and everything in between. The ceramic burr provides an extra consistent grind and there are more settings for additional grind options. The top arch is cast iron & a cast iron arch inside the hopper offering further stability for the shaft which allows for a much more consistent grind.
buy a reusable filter
In my old way of making coffee, I used a white paper filter each day that I threw away each time I was finished. In pursuing the zero waste coffee lifestyle, I knew I would need another option. I found several options but ended up going with Coffeesock. These filters are made of organic cotton and completely reusable. Taking care of the reusable Coffeesock is so simple! After brewing, discard your coffee grounds and thoroughly rinse your filter. Rinse you Coffeesock and squeeze out excess water, then hang to dry. Once every 6-8 weeks boil filters in fresh water for 10 minutes to remove accumulated coffee oils. It is that easy to use the Coffeesock and there is no longer a need for throwaway filters.
compost the grounds
Composting your coffee is a great alternative to just tossing the used grounds in the trash. Coffee grounds help to add nitrogen to your compost pile.
pour over coffee method
So, now you know how to live the zero waste coffee lifestyle but how do you make coffee with these products? It is called the pour over method and I will have my own video coming soon to show this method but here are the details listed in steps.
Step 1. Boil your water. I own the Ovalware RJ3 Stainless Steel Drip Kettle. I love that it comes with a built-in thermometer so that you know when your water is right around that 200-degree temperature, which is what you want.
Step 2. Grind your coffee. I prefer to grind mine to the coarseness of sugar and I use about 3 tablespoons each time I make a cup. One of the things I like most about pour over coffee is that I have control over the boldness of the taste. Use less coffee if you desire coffee that has a taste of being more lightly toasted.
Step 3. Place your filter into the dripper.
Step 4. Add your coffee to the filter and place your cup under the dripper.
Step 5. Begin the pour over process. The first pour will consist of allowing the coffee grounds to "bloom" When the hot water first hits the grounds, Co2 is released creating a blossoming effect. This will cause the grounds to rise up, allow this process to happen for about 30 seconds. Then, pour slowly in concentric circles over the coffee grounds until the desired volume is reached.
Step 6. Wait for the water to drain all the way into the mug and then enjoy the most delicious cup of coffee!
Not only do I love the taste of pour over coffee better than the old drip machine method but I also love that this grinder doesn't use any electricity and that I can take it with me where ever I go. Red Rooster Company sells the Pour Mason that you see pictured above. It is a wonderful product that fits onto a wide mouth mason jar. It is lightweight and perfect for traveling or using at home if you don't have the Home Brew Kit.
Have you ever had pour over coffee? I would love to hear your thoughts on this process and what you think about living a zero-waste lifestyle when it comes to drinking coffee.