One thing that is important to me is the ability to give sustainability tips on this blog without making people feel bad. We can’t all have a small farm and unlimited free time. This is about small things that you can do to make a difference. One of those small things is learning how to make fast and easy single-serve coffee without a Keurig. My spouse doesn’t drink caffeinated coffee, so I make a single cup when I make coffee. Sometimes that single cup is quite big, but it doesn’t approach even half a pot of coffee.
I learned about this trick from my in-laws. Single cup coffee is incredibly easy with an inexpensive coffee filter holder (like this one). It goes right over your cup. Instant human, just add a #2 filter, 1 tablespoon coffee, and hot water. If you don’t want to wait for a tea kettle (and who does), I highly recommend an electric kettle. It boils enough water for one cup insanely fast. I became hooked on them after a trip to Scotland. It seems like everyone has one for making tea over there. Mine is a super-cheap version similar to this one that has been helping me survive mornings for about 13 years.
Benefits: Just as fast as a Keurig if you use an electric kettle, no waste from coffee pods, cheaper in terms of both initial investment and per cup of coffee. Remember to compost your filter and coffee grounds. Even if you live in an apartment, you can use a community composting resource or give a worm bin a try.
French presses also make small amounts of tasty coffee, but I find them to be too annoying to clean out for every morning use. I have one I use for cold brew iced coffee, though. One benefit is that no filter is needed, so there is zero waste.
Please don’t judge me, but of the two coffee filter holders we have I like the plastic one better than the ceramic one. The holes on the bottom of the plastic one are small, so there is no worry that the weight of the water will cause the filter to break, unlike my ceramic holder with one large hole in the bottom. I’ll probably try to upgrade my coffee game at some point to use materials other than plastic (like stainless steel or glass), but my electric kettle, favorite filter holder, and I have been through a lot together.
Fun Facts: According to The Atlantic, even the guy that invented the Keurig feels bad about how much waste it produces. If you took all of the Keurig K-cups that were sold in 2014 and placed them end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times.
While there are refillable K-cup pods, cleaning them out looks like a pain. However, this is coming from a person who uses filter bags for loose leaf tea due to being too lazy to wash out a tea ball, so take that with a grain of salt. Regular tea ball use should probably be my next small step towards sustainability.
Featured image from Black River Roasters.