I Take My Coffee Black…with a Little Green

by Leesa Raab

Over the last couple of years I’ve become a little bit of a coffee snob–not to say I’m a connoisseur by any means, but I’m quite particular about where my morning cup comes from and how it’s made. I used to be fine just running in Starbucks and grabbing the sweetest drink on the menu, but then I moved to San Francisco for a year and was exposed to the local and organic brews and that’s when it all changed for me. As I started to learn more about organic blends and fair trade, I got a taste of what real coffee is like.

Every morning 1.4 billion cups of coffee are consumed on our planet, according to the International Coffee Organization, and if you’re like me, you want to know that your coffee is fair trade and maybe even organic—and brewed up in an eco-friendly manner. So here are some ways you can green your caffeine.

Let’s start with the beans. I’ll just go ahead and say it: I’m very partial to San Francisco-based Philz Coffee. I was first turned onto it when living in the Bay Area, as it was all my friends who lived in the Mission seemed to drink. Now that I’m in New York, I still make sure I get a taste of SF each morning as I now purchase it by the pound to make at home. Ok, ok, I know you’re thinking, well I should probably find a local blend and stop using the energy required to ship it cross-country, but the good news is it’s a sustainable company that I can really get behind. Also, I often try to pick it up when I’m visiting the area. They have a few organic blends–I especially like the Fair Trade Organic Peru. And really, if you’re in the Bay Area it’s worth your while to stop by and try their “one cup at a time” method of preparing.

Another coffee company I love is Blue Bottle–it also started in the Bay Area and has now, thankfully, expanded to Brooklyn! They are known for preparing their brew on vintage machinery and put it in compostable bags–and if you’re hoping to have it shipped, they promise delivery within 48 hours. For those of you in New York, look for the Blue Bottle “Summer in New York” series, which has them serving coffee all over the city, including The Highline and New Amsterdam Market through November. Also, Blue Bottle is participating in Edible’s How to Roast at the Brooklyn Brewery. They, along with Gorilla Coffee and Dallis Bros. Coffee, will be lecturing on how to roast your own coffee beans, September 28th.

And if you are just looking to grab a quick, reliable cup, I’m happy to say, Starbucks, which of course most of us have access to, promises all their coffee is fair trade and even has organic options.

Now coffee is going to be as green as the way it is made. I tend to use a French Press for a fuller flavor, plus it cuts out the use of filters. Although, if you prefer to stick to a traditional drip coffee maker, there are eco-friendly filters available. A couple of examples are GreenLine Paper Company and Hemp coffee filters.

And when it comes time to clean out your coffee maker, there is Urnex. A line dedicated to naturally cleaning all coffee necessities. I was especially excited about the Grindz™ Grinder Cleaner, which cleans out leftover residue in coffee grinders. I definitely prefer to fresh grind my beans before making a cup and there is no doubt that it’s hard to get the stale, leftover grounds out. Urnex also offers Cleancaf® Home Coffee & Espresso Machine Cleaner and Descaler and Cafiza® Home Espresso Machine Cleaning Tablets, for those of you with drip or espresso makers.

Now that we’ve given you the green ingredients for a great cup of coffee, go out and caffeinate! And of course, we’d love to hear what some of your favorite coffee is, so please share.

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