Frugal Living 

5 Ways To Green Your Coffee Beans

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Organic CoffeeOne thing I have learned during my time on this earth is that there are two kinds of people… those who drink coffee and those who don’t.

I have always been the first kind.

Growing up, at special family gatherings, the adults would make a huge pot of black coffee on the stove, laced with sugar. Everyone, kids included, would get a glass mug of this beautiful dark creation and added a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. I can’t remember whether it was a caffeinated brew or not but based on the noise and activity level that quickly ensued, I bet that it was a full throttle coffee simmer. 🙂

These days, the tradition continues (minus the cup of java for my toddler). My mornings start out with a first-rate hot cup of coffee. The debate regarding the health benefits of coffee will go on endlessly. In the meantime, I drink plenty of water, eat my veggies, and make my coffee eco-friendly.

Here are 5 ways you can go green with your coffee beans, guilt free:

  1. Organic Beans – Just like any other crop, organic grown coffee beans are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Choosing organic means that the soil and trees are naturally enriched and alternative sources of pesticides are used (like birds).
  2. Fair Trade Certification – Most coffee beans are grown in countries that don’t have strict employee guidelines in terms of fair labor practices. One way to ensure that your beans are harvested by fairly compensated workers is to look for the Fair Trade label. Fair Trade doesn’t mean organic, but many are grown without the use of GMO’s (genetically modified organisms or pesticides). Another benefit of Fair Trade coffee is that it supports a region’s community and infrastructure.
  3. Go Ahead and Go Local – If you are not going to make your own brew at home, the next best thing is to support a local coffee house which serves organic coffee. If your local coffee shop does not offer organic or Fair Trade brew, speak up and let the owner know that you (and many others) would love to support a new organic grind.
  4. Bring Your Own Cup – According to, Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day — that’s 146 billion cups of coffee per year – and growing! Want to know how much you contribute? Check out this handy “coffee waste calculator“. Do your part by purchasing a high quality stainless steel coffee mug. Make sure the cup is stainless steel on the inside as well as outside to avoid any leaching from the plastic next to hot liquid. These make great gifts as well.
  5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – This little trio of R’s applies to your morning coffee routine as well. Gone are the days of mindlessly using paper coffee filters. Today, there are some amazing choices to get eco-friendly with your caffeine. If you prefer a paper filter, you can choose from bamboo, hemp or recycled paper to help reduce waste.

    Another great option is to buy a good reusable filter that can last for years. Made from stainless steel, nylon and even gold, these high quality mesh filters are easy to clean and can actually enhance the quality and taste of your brew.



(Photo: richardsummers)

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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12 Responses to “5 Ways To Green Your Coffee Beans”

  1. This post comes at a bad time, as I’m nearly two weeks into my giving-up-coffee experiment, which I’ve covered ad nauseum on my blog. If I ever start drinking the java again, I’ll be sure to use your tips. For now I’m caffeine-free.

  2. I’m always open to new ways that I increase my sustainability as well as save money. Thank you.

  3. Keith says:

    I used to be a Starbucks man. I would have a venti black brewed coffee every morning ($2.07 / day). For my B-day, I got a coffee maker that grinds the beans before brewing. As luck would have it, my wife works with a guy that roasts beans for a local coffe shop and charges $8 / lb. I estimate that I am saving about $35 per month, I get double the coffee every day, and most importantly the coffee is much better.

    Now, I even feel “greener”. Thanks.

    • Elena says:

      There is something great about making your own cup of organic brew in the morning. I love the ritual of making my own coffee. I am also lucky to have some amazing organic local coffee in my town.

      Enjoy your coffee 😉

  4. Chuck says:

    I eliminate filters with this guy:

    It also makes much better coffee because the water temperature is naturally regulated (by the boiling in the pressure chamber), and the lack of paper filter means that all the delicious oils make it to my brew. And I basically brew one cup of coffee at a time. No waste.

  5. I’m definitely NOT a coffee drinker, but my roommates are and the used grinds make excellent compost material.

  6. a.b. says:

    My mother uses the used coffee grinds to keep the cats out of her herb garden. Seems to work well enough.

  7. zach says:

    I use a French Press to make my coffee and I love it. Definitely saves you money on endless coffee filters.

    You also, of course, don’t have it plugged in using electricity all the time…alas, you also cannot set it to make your coffee before you wake up.

  8. Patrick says:

    I’m not a big coffee fan, but I do apply the same things to tea as Elena mentioned above. I love point 3. It’s always good to support our local businesses that use products from sustainable sources.

  9. Carla says:

    Since I like to filter the volatile oils that’s naturally in coffee, I still used the non bleached paper filters in my one cup coffee filter cone. You can compost them instead of throwing them away.

  10. Meagan says:

    Great tips! I use a Keurig one-cup brewer which would normally be a huge waste of paper/plastic with those k-cups, but I bought a reusable nylon filter and I use that. I do have some k-cups, but we’ve found that it is sooo much cheaper to use store-bought coffee.

    I prefer to drink my coffee from a regular mug and I always request one when I have coffee in a cafe or restaurant, and a lot of places will give you a small (ten cents?) discount if you bring your own cup.

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