Working for a specialty coffee company means I should have certain standards when it comes to brewing coffee at home. To be honest, I used to. I would grind my own coffee beans, carefully measure out the correct ratio of ground coffee per ounces of water – boiled to the correct temperature of course – and brew in my beloved Ava Solo coffee carafe with its sexy neoprene wetsuit.
Then I had a baby. My standards slipped a little (a lot) to hap-hazzardly throwing tablespoons of pre-ground coffee into my french press, topping up with boiling water, stirring vigourously and pushing down the plunger. Sometimes I’d be pleasantly surprised that it turned out okay, but mostly I’d just be happy that I had a hit of caffeine to help me wake up at 4:30 in the morning while my baby boy happily gurgled away as if everyone woke up at such an ungodly hour every day.
My baby is now two years old, and I like to think I’ve got the swing of this motherhood thing. I started taking more time to make a good cup of coffee at home. I considered it a part of “me time”, something that allows me to feel human and important again. It was enjoyable.
My husband, who is new to drinking coffee, and only started drinking it when our son was born in order to stay awake and keep his sanity, doesn’t really have a baseline standard for the coffee he consumes. Anything will do with enough cream and sugar added to it.
When we moved into a house with a bigger kitchen and more counterspace, he would occasionally mutter something about getting a Keurig machine. I’d go on my usual rant about the poor quality coffee, the cost per cup and all the waste it generates, and how I didn’t want one in the house. He’d respond by saying, “…but it’s convenient and easy.”
I woke up one morning to the smell of coffee and my husband proudly displaying his “convenient and easy” cup of coffee made with the Keurig machine he impluse bought on a late night grocery store trip the night before. I ranted about the wastefulness of it all, but grudgingly accepted a morning cup of coffee that I didn’t have to make myself. And there you have it – the slippery slope.
My husband had the foresight to purchase a reusable metal k-cup coffee filter to check mate my argument about the wastefulness of those horrible little plastic cups that go straight into the landfill. I still grumbled, but I started using it. I figured out the perfect amount of pre-ground coffee to put in the reusable cup, and you know what? It’s not bad.
And it’s convenient. When my son is demanding an immediate mummy cuddle and I’m desperately in need of a cup of coffee with only 15 minutes before we have to get out the door, this takes as much time as I have to make a cup of coffee – which is no time at all. The reusable cup is super easy to empty out and clean. Just a tap into the bin (or compost bin), a quick rinse under the tap and it’s ready to go again.
So, the moral of my story? If you’re feeling the same niggling guilt about using a single serve coffee machine and the amount of landfill waste you’re producing with by using plastic k-cups, there is a way to balance it out. Switch to using a re-usable k-cup and buy a fairtrade certified organic coffee option like Ethical Bean Coffee.