Greenest Way to Drink Coffee?

What’s the greenest way to drink coffee? Jacob Leibenluft at Slate leads in as follows:

how to balance a caffeine addiction with a concern about responsible consumption [?]… You’ll have a hard time finding a more eco-unfriendly product than the material most of us call Styrofoam… Still, it may not always be the right move to switch over to ceramic or stainless-steel mugs. It all comes down to which aspects of the environment you care about most.

January MugsI was discussing this issue with a friend recently. I am fond of my reusable coffee mugs. I joined The Mug Project, which advocates the use of mugs to reduce waste caused by single serve beverage containers.

But is the per-use waste of paper and styrofoam cups really worse than the energy used to produce reusable mugs from plastic or other durable material? That’s the question raised in the Slate article. I’d like to see that question analyzed as well as raised (and sort of addressed), but I consider the article a good enough start to upmod it at Reddit, where I found it.

There are other ways of answering the question in the title. For example, how much greener is it to get coffee from Costa Rica (fairly near, and certainly good) than from Sumatra (much further away from Boston, and my favorite coffee)? And what about buying one’s coffee in the form of unroasted green beans, a la Sweet Maria’s?

1 thought on “Greenest Way to Drink Coffee?”

  1. That article raises some interesting points. While I am no expert in this area, I would say that for my situation, the best way to drink coffee would be by making it at home and taking it to work in my Thermos. I live in an area where there are no shortages of water so water usage when washing my Thermos is not an immediate concern to me. I would say that using reusable plastic mugs can be a prudent solution as long as people are limiting themselves (having only 1-2 mugs vs. buying more mugs than they need in order to have some sort of collection).

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