K-Cup or Not?
Throughout coffee’s long and storied history, people have constantly tried new and innovative ways to brew their daily cup of joe. As a result, today’s average coffee consumer has a large variety of choices when it comes to coffee machines and brewing equipment.
In relatively recent history, one of the most famous pieces of equipment has been the coffee pod machine. Also known as K-Cup machines, thanks to the Keurig K-Cup pods that began the trend, these machines have exploded onto the scene over the course of the last twenty years.
The premise is simple; just slot in your coffee pod, hit a button, and get fresh, hot coffee in a matter of minutes. As far as convenience goes, it’s just about as streamlined as you can get. Unfortunately, however, that convenience comes at a pretty hefty cost, especially to the environment.
Here are a few reasons you might want to ditch the K-cups and look into some more sustainable coffee options.
Lots of Litter
When it comes to brewing coffee, drip coffee machines are the only thing more popular than K-Cups. According to a survey of coffee drinkers in the US, about 45% of people still use drip coffee as their primary method, followed by 27% of people who use K-cups. When you compare the two approaches, it’s easy to see how much more waste K-Cup machines produce.
When you use a traditional drip coffee maker, the biggest waste produced is the discarded coffee filter, most often made of paper. Each filter will take roughly 6 to 8 months to decompose, and in return, you’ll end up with a full coffee pot suitable for two or three cups of coffee. It may not be perfect, but comparatively, it’s a pretty good system.
K-Cups, on the other hand, are made of plastic pods topped by foil lids. In drastic contrast to paper filters, a single K-Cup is estimated to take more than a century to decompose. With the number of people that use K-Cups in mind, this means billions of these pods are sitting in landfills in exchange for a single cup of coffee each.
As if you needed any further proof of their unsustainability, the creator of the K-Cup has since said that they regret their invention, citing the blatant environmental issues that have become apparent.
Some (slightly) Good News
Though that number above is staggering, the coffee industry is already starting to pull support for K-Cups. Ethical coffee farming and sustainable coffee production have become pressing topics for many people, and rather than focusing on convenience, organic and fair-trade coffees have taken the spotlight. It’s a start, but hopefully, signs of a more significant trend towards sustainability.
The greatest selling point for K-Cups is their ease of use. However, while K-Cups are arguably the fastest way to make coffee, speed and convenience are not the same thing, and what you gain in time, you lose in quality.
Coffee producers all around the coffee industry will tell you the same thing; you can’t beat freshly ground coffee. When you use K-Cup coffee pods, you’re using old, stale coffee, resulting in old and stale tasting brews! Besides, there are plenty of brewing methods that don’t involve K-cup machines.
If you’re in a rush- For those in need of coffee ready to go in the morning, drip coffee machines from companies like Hamilton Beach are faster than ever and can still produce a great cup of joe.
If you like a routine- Pour over coffee is for people who love to take the time to make fresh coffee each morning. All you need to get started is a good ceramic dripper, like this Hario v60, some paper filters, and you’re set.
Simply put, K-cups are not the best option for coffee drinkers.
Reusable Coffee Pods
Despite their enormous levels of waste, and lower quality coffee, the convenience factor of K-Cups is undeniable. For many people, it’s the only option for their coffee-making needs. That being said, if you’re simply unable to give up on your K-Cup machine, you can still help reduce the amount of waste coming from them.
Reusable coffee pods are good for two main reasons. Firstly, they drastically reduce the amount of waste you produce from making coffee! Reusable coffee filters in pod form make it easy to avoid single-use plastics, and you still have the convenience of quick coffee. For the most sustainable impact, look for metal filters or reusable filters made of BPA-free plastics.
Secondly, reusable coffee pods allow you to use whatever kind of coffee you want in your machine. Not only does this give you more options, but it also gives you better quality coffee! All you need is some fresh-roasted, whole bean coffee, such as Amora’s specialty Peaberry Blend from Tanzania and voila! Gourmet quality coffee at convenient coffee speeds.
As you can see, with a bit of extra effort and a focus on coffee rather than convenience, we can all help to reduce the waste of K-Cups.
At Amora, our most significant focus has always been bringing you, the customer, the freshest coffee possible. We want the world to know what great coffee tastes like, and we have our coffee to back us up! Our blends are made for all types of coffee drinkers, and you’re sure to find a coffee that you’ll enjoy.
We make sure our beans are roasted to perfection with our 9-step roasting process and that every bag is filled with warm, freshly roasted beans to ensure they get to you in the best quality possible. Subscribe today to get your choice of one of eight custom gourmet blends shipped directly to you.