I remember when my son came home from middle school declaring that coffee was a drug. His science teacher suggested to the class that they might try taking their parents’ coffee away for a day or a week to observe a change in behavior. Fortunately the point was never pressed. I’ll tell you though, giving up coffee doesn’t make me as cranky as seeing the endless trash generated from Starbucks. If you ask me, “how do you take your coffee?” I’ll say “with zero waste.”
The first step in zero waste coffee is buying beans without any packaging. I do this by taking my quart Mason Jar to the store; I get a tare weight on the jar, fill it up with beans from the bulk bins, pour the beans into the grinder, and refill the jar with the ground coffee. I usually take a wide mouth funnel to the store and use when filling the jar to help keep the beans and grounds from escaping.
I only drink a cup a day – anymore and I get a raging headache, but that one cup has to count. My stovetop espresso maker brews a deep, rich cup of coffee that is satisfying. It’s not to be confused with shots of espresso that you might get at a coffee shop, but something between espresso and coffee. The beauty of this coffee maker is that there are no disposable filters, it’s simple to use and brews in less than five minutes. I recommend the 6-cup size, which yields enough coffee to fill a mug.
I don’t take sugar in my coffee, but if I did, I’d fill my jar from the bulk bins, making my sweetener zero waste. Oh, but my coffee has to be creamy. I eliminate the waste here by getting both cream and milk directly from a local farm that uses returnable and reusable jars and lids. My spent beans go directly into the compost bin.
There’s no guilt with my zero waste coffee, except, that point my boy made in middle school—it’s a drug. I can get past that.