Doing Good in a Cup ‘o Joe

It goes without saying that coffee isn’t what it used to be. No longer just an a.m. jolt that gets us up and going, coffee, paired with a newfound coffee culture, has revolutionized itself in the past decade. Tastes have changed (when did ordering drip become equivalent with boring?), as newly engineered coffee concoctions are whipped up and marketed weekly as the next best thing (next to plain-old coffee, that is). The image-conscious got it’s mark with nonfat syrups, milk substitutes, and other sugar-replacements mapped out all over the menu making it that much more difficult to decipher which item most closely resembles a simple cappuccino. Coffee became trendy and we got confident parading down the street with a cup of coffee in hand as our newest accessory.  As freelancers, telecommuters, ‘flexible work schedules,’ and virtual-offices took center stage, coffee houses became office space for all. With wireless, comfy couches and plentiful caffeine, it’s no surprise that our intake of joe just kept brewing.

At the expense of all the coffee madness, however, came high environmental costs. Non-biodegradable cups, filters, grounds and everything in between has taken a huge environmental toll. The good news is that a lot of coffee companies have an extraordinary sense of social corporate responsibility and have been -or are beginning to- explore environmentally friendly coffee-brewing practices. Some such companies include Green Mountain Coffee, TerraCycle and Newman’s Own Organics.  Ask your local coffee joint about how green they brew and shop around until you find one that respects the land we live in.

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