Nothing quite like enjoying a piping hot cup of coffee in the morning IF YOU WANT TO DESTROY THE PLANET!
· Jan 22, 2023 ·

They really can't stand the fact that you are not as wretchedly miserable as they are.

Here's how your cup of coffee contributes to climate change

Imagine how unhappy you have to be to think like this, to view every human activity, every small pleasure, the very fact of your mere presence, as a mortal threat to the planet.

As researchers working on assessing the environmental impacts of products and services, we often discuss coffee's carbon footprint.

I have no doubt of that.

Also, remind me to never be around you.

But there's a twist to this story.

They buried the lede.

We decided to study the carbon footprint of several techniques used to prepare coffee at home, and it turns out that coffee capsules aren't the biggest carbon culprits.

It turns out those evil "coffee capsules," the Keurigs and Nespressos and the like, which have been vilified endlessly for their presumed environmental crimes, aren't the biggest problem. You can sense the regret coming through the text. They even link to an old story in a kind of wistful nostalgia when times were simpler, as was moral preening.

But before they get to that, the authors want to remind you that growing the food you consume and getting it to you is… problematic.

The pollution resulting from the preparation of coffee at home is just the tip of the iceberg.

Wait, what iceberg? I thought they were supposed to have all melted by now.

Before you can enjoy a cup of coffee,...

FYI, they don't want you to enjoy a cup of coffee. goes through several steps, starting from the agricultural production of the coffee beans, their transport, the roasting and grinding of the beans, right up to the heating of the water for the coffee and the washing of the cups it is poured in.

Basically, enjoying that cup of coffee makes you a criminal psychopath, laying waste to everything around you.

Our analysis clearly showed that traditional filter coffee has the highest carbon footprint, mainly because a greater quantity of coffee powder is used to produce the amount of coffee. This process also consumes more electricity to heat the water and keep it warm.

For their analysis, they reviewed the available literature and prepared this exhaustive chart detailing the life-cycle impact of your cup of coffee, and by "exhaustive," I mean exhausting to look at.

They really are obsessive.

When consumers use the recommended amounts of coffee and water, soluble coffee appears to be the most environmentally friendly option.

"Soluble coffee" is instant coffee, also known as "the worst coffee in the world."

Good news, though! The coffee pods are the real winner when prepared correctly.

On the other hand, when consumers use a 20 per cent surplus of coffee and heat twice the water needed (which is often the case),... capsules seem to be the best option. Why? Because the capsules allow you to optimize the amount of coffee and water per consumption.

I don't know about you, but when I'm sitting back to enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee the main thing I'm thinking about is optimizing the amount of coffee and water per consumption.

Also, optimizing that doughnut I saw in the break room if you know what I mean.

As it turns out, I use a Keurig. I know many people don't like the coffee that comes out of a Keurig, but over the years I've found a number of brands and brews that produce excellent coffee when using the right settings.

Also, it appears I am unexpectedly morally superior to traditional coffee drinkers.

How does that work, exactly? Is there a T-shirt or something I can wear so I can let the world know, or should I just tirelessly lecture my co-workers about life-cycle agricultural optimization and carbon remediation or something.

Interestingly, in covering this study, the Washington Post seized on the Keurig angle, almost as if to assuage the climate guilt of their upper-income readers.

However the study itself undermines that take, as it asserts that how you prepare your coffee is, once again, dwarfed by the fact that it is produced at all.

Regardless of the type of coffee preparation, coffee production is the most GHG-emitting phase. It contributed to around 40 per cent to 80 per cent of the total emission. There are many reasons for this.

Those "many reasons" boil down (heh) to the fact that growing things require water, energy, and fertilizer, you know, basically how agriculture works.

But not to worry, there are still things we can do to make our lives less pleasant and make them feel a little less dead inside.

At the consumer level, beyond reducing coffee consumption,…

Consuming less of the things that bring you joy and happiness is always the first thing to go, of course. It's presumed. But there's more.

You can drink cold coffee out of a dirty cup!

If you live in a province or country with carbon-intensive electricity production, not using the coffee maker's hot plate and rinsing the cup with cold water can help reduce carbon footprint.

Human joy doesn't even enter the equation.

Limiting your contribution to climate change requires an adapted diet, and coffee is no exception.


Flying to Davos on private jets is an exception.

But your hot cup of coffee?

Choosing a mode of coffee preparation that emits less GHGs and moderating your consumption are part of the solution.

The climate god is a demanding one.

And no, he doesn't love you.

Change begins at home.

Good, because I'm going to change my mood and have a piping hot cup of climate-friendly(ish) capsule coffee out of a clean cup.

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