Across the country, our roasters are working to reduce their carbon footprints with initiatives both big and small. From recycling coffee grounds, to running on 100 percent solar power, here are some ways that our roasters are bringing their coffee back down to Earth.
At Tandem Roasters in Portland, Maine, efforts to reduce waste led to the creation of compostable cups and bags, with new initiatives in-store, “All of our cups are take-away compostable and by the end of 2019, all of our retail coffee bags will be as well," Tandem's Co-Founder Will Pratt says. "This year, we started a new cup initiative which should be pretty impactful — we are lowering all of our drink prices by 25 cents, but we will begin charging 25 cents for a compostable cup. We currently offer a discount when you bring a travel mug, but it's not really that well used. We're hoping to turn that on its head.”
In Boulder, Colorado, Boxcar Coffee Roasters has also sought to encourage reusable packaging in the form of its Vessel program, “Which acts like a library for reusable cups where customers can check out a stainless steel cup and return it within a week.”
At Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, sustainability is a major consideration at every level. Though their home state of Wisconsin might not be known for abundant sunshine, the team has made the most of its renewable resource: “The field of solar panels outside our roastery is as radiant as the wildflowers that surround it. These panels provide 100 percent of our electricity, greatly reducing our carbon footprint.”
While these efforts have certainly reduced impact, the question remains: What to do with all those used coffee grounds? For roasters like Panther Coffee, DOMA Coffee Roasting Company, and Tandem, grounds are composted, a process through which they can bring new life to the soil. At Austin, Texas-based Cuvée Coffee, composted grounds came to the aid of local farmers, "We send our spent grains from the Cold Brew-ery to local farmers for composting," Cuvée's Founder and CEO Mike McKim tells us. "In 2011, we had devastating fires and one local farmer credits the tons of spent coffee to bringing his land back to life." Now that's some good coffee!
Augie's Coffee Roasters' Co-Founder Austin Amento thinks a little more outside of the box with his coffee grounds, “Low-calorie meat substitute, firm pillow stuffing, throw some at your friends as a substitute for snowballs, or just stare at them all day instead of your phone.” Proof: there are no wrong answers when it comes to coffee!
Looking to get involved? Here are some expert tips that you can implement today!
Weigh your water before heating, thereby using less water and electricity.
— Terry Patano, Co-Founder of DOMA Coffee Roasting Company
I send my kid to school with a sandwich in an old resealable coffee bag.
— Will Pratt, Co-Founder, Tandem Coffee Roasters
Two drinkers, one brew. Typically drinkers make their own pour over, requiring each to rinse their filter. But if you brew a large enough pour over for two to share, you only have to rinse one filter.
— Austin Amento, Co-Founder of Augie’s
There are a lot of unique repurposing ideas for coffee grounds — body scrubs, face masks, coffee ground-powered busses in London, just to name a few!
— Intelligentsia Coffee