Cuppa Joe

Are you a slave to your cup of joe? Of all the vices to indulge in, it turns out that the humble bean – when roasted and brewed to perfection – offers health benefits well beyond the obvious jolt to your system. Knocking back a few cups a day not only aids the liver, enhances memory and reduces the incidence of Gout in post-40 males, it also makes pain killers work more effectively and helps to thwart the occurrence of type 2 diabetes. Mmmm, make mine a double with a caffeine-kick chaser.

With so many body-boosting positives, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the dark side of this beloved brew. But, the typical coffee ritual is actually rife with easily preventable waste. The good news is that with a few basic tweaks, you too can green up your brain juice without compromising your tastebuds, budget or – most importantly – Mother Nature!

Become A Bean Snob

Conventionally cultivated coffee may bring a more affordable brew to the masses, but it ultimately comes at a far higher cost when you factor in the detrimental effects of monoculture, excessive use of pesticides, wildlife habitat destruction and social injustice that is committed against plantation workers. Spend a little extra money to seek out greener beans with a Rainforest Alliance Certified, bird friendly, USDA-certified organic and/or fair trade label.

Use A Sustainable Filter

Disposing of a flat paper filter may not seem like a big deal, but even if you brew just one pot a day, the landfill accumulation is entirely unnecessary when you can easily compost both the filter and grounds in one fell swoop. At the very least, fans of one-time-use filters can transition to brands that use unbleached Forest Stewardship Council certified wooden pulp or rapidly renewable bamboo, but if you don’t mind ‘rinsing and repeating,’ reusable hemp fabric filters that can be hand washed and air dried on a daily basis are a far greener option, as are fine metal mesh filters.

Kick Your Garbage Habit To The Curb

Show your commitment to the environment on a daily basis by shunning one-time-use spoons, stirrers, napkins and/or cups in favor of versions that can be washed and reused. If you purchase a festive-looking java-designated set (or get crafty with your bad self on a few upcycled pieces), you’ll find that you may really want to keep them in top form – plus taking a minute or two to soap up and rinse off your totally customized gear won’t end up compromising your busy schedule all that much.

Give Your Java ‘Mud’ A New Lease On Life

Spent coffee grounds may look like nothing more than an unappetizing pile o’ sludge, but they can morph into so many handy household aids that you’ll want to bug your friends for their beany leftovers. The naturally exfoliating powers of coarsely ground java will bestow a glow to your skin, work wonders on gunky pots and pans, serve as the foundation of a nutrient-rich houseplant tonic and even camouflage scratches in wooden furniture. Time for another cup, aye?

Eco-Clean Your Coffee Machine

Water deposits and coffee pigments can leave even five-star brewing machines looking like they haven’t seen a dentist in 20 years. As tempting as it may be to bring in the big guns with that ginormous bottle of chemical contraband still hiding all the way in the back of your cleaning cabinet, you’ve already got the goods necessary to blast through the nasty business. Yup, with plain old white vinegar, hot water and a little scrub-a-dub action. (Is there anything that clear, zippy eco-savior can’t do? Um… the answer is ‘no.’)

image: spaceageboy