(Coffee beans that were just picked)
Realizing how we impact the world around us is a vital realization to create the future we want to see. Our days consist of a multitude of decisions, actions, seemingly meaningless. However, many little splashes can make a wave. This week we offer you, our fabulous readers, some beans for thought on how to be a more sustainable consumer and some best practices when it comes to picking your daily caffeine dose. There are always constant improvements we can be making in our lives to be more sustainable people and to fight for a future we want to see; however, having small goals to implement in our lives can help us remain grounded in this journey as well as grow more aware of our actions. We are not saying these actions we lay out for you today are going to change the world, but by a bunch of us, each a consumer, taking small actions, we have the power to influence the market and create change. Now lets get into our five tips to being a more sustainable coffee consumer
1. Drink Less Dairy
(Almond milk-an excellent dairy alternative)
This is an easy one and we’ve all probably heard it before: ditch the whole milk and ditch the creamer. No, this has nothing to do with calories. The dairy industry is a massive contributor to CO2 emissions. Milk production alone contributes to around 1.3% of all the United States GHG emissions. Saying no to dairy is a super easy, actionable step to take in our everyday lives, especially as alternatives become more readily available. Ordering your morning latte? Try oat milk instead and we promise you won’t know the difference. As consumers begin to shift their habits towards dairy alternatives, cafes will follow suit, purchasing less and less dairy products. Over time, this will lower the entire industry’s need for dairy one cafe at a time.
For more information on how oatmilk is making an impact in reducing emissions, check out this super cool post by the Carbon Collective on Oatly Group AB.
2. Buy Local
(Pilllar Forum, a brand new climate positive shop that just opened on 3/7!)
We’ve said it before, we will say it again. Support your local coffee shops. Small cafes often have much more intimate relationships with not only their roasters, if they don’t roast their own beans, but also growers and individual bean farms. Let us not forget that behind every cup of coffee is a long chain of livelihoods that are built off of these magic caffeine beans. By supporting small shops, we can create a more transparent industry and allow less room for both unsustainable practices and inhumane treatment of workers within the industry. Simply put, buying local is in most cases the safer, more sustainable approach to coffee.
There are also some really rad shops diving into sustainable practices. Newest on the scene, Pillar Forum in Northeast Minneapolis has a fully transparent coffee process and is carbon negative. Swing by their shop or check out their webpage here for more details!
For even more reasons to shop local, check out our previous beans for thought piece: Why to Shop Local.
3. Pick Coffee That’s Sustainably Grown
(Little beans being grown!)
Your money matters and we, as consumers, hold great power with it. This tip is going to require a little deeper research on your end, but we promise it’s worth it. Sustainably grown coffee means the beans have been grown in a way that both preserve nature and provides a stable livelihood for those who depend on the crop (i.e. farmers and farm hands). By buying coffee that is held to these standards, you are helping ensure a safe work environment and protect the future of coffee as well as promote biodiversity around the globe. Coffee is predominantly grown in tropical areas where rainforests are constantly at risk. Deforestation of rainforests contribute to more than 10% of global warming pollution. Coffee farming is one reason for deforestation and as its popularity and demand grows, so will its infringement on biodiversity. By buying from farms that work against these practices we are aiding in an important role to ensure a future for our lovely earth and slow the rapid progression of climate change.
There are some really easy labels to look for on your bag of beans to know if the coffee you’re buying is sustainably grown. For all the details on what to look for, check out this post by Green Matter. To go more in depth on what sustainable coffee truly is, check out this great post by Conservation, What On Earth is ‘Sustainable’ Coffee?
4. Walk, Bike, Or Take Public Transportation To Your Next Shop
(The Blue Line Light Rail)
Minneapolis is one of the most bikeable and walkable cities in the United States. Yes, winter does unfortunately roll around every year ruining those plans, but that doesnt mean public transportation is out of the question. Choosing to take public transportation, walk, or bike instead of driving reduces your own personal carbon footprint aka reducing your emissions and contribution to climate change! Starting with finding alternative ways to visit local cafes is a great way to start switching our mindsets about transportation. Make it a fun outing! Go on a walk with a friend to a new shop, check out a bike trail, get active AND get your caffeine dose in.
Minneapolis is packed with shops located right off the metro transit train lines, bike baths, and skyways. Here’s a couple of our favorite most accessible shops:
- Vitality Roasting, located in Downtown Minneapolis inside the Skyway
- Hark! Cafe, located directly next to the Warehouse District light-rail stop
- Fiddlehead, located directly off of the Bloomington Central light-rail stop
- Graze Provisions + Libations, four blocks from the Target Field light-rail stop
- Workhorse Coffee Bar, one block from the Raymond Ave light-rail stop
- Black Coffee and Waffle Bar (Como), walkable from University of Minnesota campus or across the street from a Bus Route 3 stop
5. Talk To Those Around You
(Sam & Dil outside of S.K. Coffee)
Spreading our knowledge may be the most important piece of this complicated puzzle. Humans are creatures of habit, but we are all creatures of influence. By sharing with those around us and involving them in our pursuits, we can slowly contribute to small changes with big impacts. Reshare this post, consume content around sustainability, focus on shopping local, and above all, remain aware. Having knowledge about and mindfulness within each of our actions and decisions can have much bigger impacts then we will ever know.
There you have it 16oz family. Five super easy ways to be more conscientious about your coffee habits and become a more sustainable consumer. Change starts from within and we hope that today, this post has caused you to stop and think about your own actions and where you may have room for improvement. We are thankful for y’all. As always, enjoy your week and don’t forget to tip your barista.
-Written by Grace McDonald