What’s Hot in Coffee Brewing

by Melody Morrow

Have you gotten in to the single cup or single serve coffee phenomenon? The Keurig Company took over the market by inventing these innovative brew masters for the 21st century. Supposedly in 2011 more than 5 billion K-Cups were sold for the Keurig, which is pretty incredible!

I got this marvel of a machine as a gift a few weeks ago and can’t help, but think of it as a new BFF (Brew Friends Forever)! Five of my friends already own one and although different models, the same size K-cup is used for all and… so simple to use. I hated to give up my Krups automatic drip I had for 20 years, but glad I finally did. Of course, I have kept it as a back up just in case. Can’t give up on a trusted old friend.

After wondering how this new way to brew would fit into my adopted eco-friendly lifestyle after many years of brewing with brown filters and an occasional fair trade coffee or green bean. I set out to investigate. My discovery and new found habit led me to a few options, which can also have less negative impact on the environment.

Keurig is a wholly owned subsidiary of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) offers sustainable coffee in their K-cups which look like cups you get with creamers, but bigger and made of plastic. Through GMCR’s “Brewing a Better World Initiative” they say they allocate at least 5% of pre-tax profits every year to support socially and environmentally responsible initiatives. In 2010, they were named the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in the world and bring a higher quality of life in coffee-farming communities. Other fair trade branded K-cup coffees offered include Timothy’s, Van Houtte, and Newman’s.

An alternative company that is green and less expensive is Eko Brands, LLC, a Seattle based company was introduced in early 2011. You can add organic coffee to their Eko filter to make it oh so green, but you do have to set up and clean up the grinds once you are finished. Keurig sells a filter too, but not a sustainable one.

You can also find K-cups for tea, cider and hot chocolate. There is one company on amazon.com who customizes your order so you can pick just what you like instead of buying a box of one type you may not like. K-cups aren’t the cheapest when it comes to serving up your brew, but they are the no fuss way to go. Still cheaper than buying a cup of coffee in NYC! K-cups can be found at discount stores, big club stores, such as, Bed, Bath and Beyond and even discount stores like TJ Maxx.

Try a fun mug instead of a paper cup, but there is no skirting the issue that these plastic K-cups are non-biodegradable and don’t decompose. There may be cups coming on the market, which could be sustainable.

I enjoy using cinnamon and organic half & half when I feel like splurging. However you choose to brew your coffee or other hot drinks, try to add a dash of green and go K-razy!

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