i like getting coffee. i used to be a starbucks gal who recently switched to peets, and am trying even harder to hit up my local mom & pop cafe/bakery as much as i can. my (pretty much daily) coffee. it's something i think very hard about giving up, only to reconsider a moment later. i'm stuck here wondering why that is, and why i can't just do without. i'd save money--a lot of money. $3 per day = nearly $1100 over the course of a year. i'd save calories--a lot of calories. 147,450, to be exact. but this isn't a budgeting blog, and it's not a dieting blog either. so i suppose i should focus on the cups. here's what i found on the subject:

“In 2005, Americans used and discarded 14.4 billion disposable paper cups for hot beverages. If put end-to-end, those cups would circle the earth 55 times. Based on anticipated growth of specialty coffees, that number will grow to 23 billion by 2010—enough to circle the globe 88 times. Based on hot cup usage in 2005, the petrochemicals used in the manufacture of those cups could have heated 8,300 homes for one year.”

"but," says i, "i forgo the little plastic lid, and i take my cup and i throw it into my compost bin at home, where it turns into lovely dirt for my garden. doesn't that kind of help offset the fact that i am indulging in serious disposability?"

the answer is not in my favor:

"Today, there is no way to compost or recycle the billions of disposable coffee cups used in the U.S. each year. It’s all due to a simple fact: the cups are lined with a petroleum-based plastic (polyethylene) to prevent leaking."

are you serious?



anyway, further research led me to cups lined with corn, instead of plastic. not widely used, and certainly not used at any of the big chains. plus, once a little light has been shed on just how much energy is needed to produce a mass amount of coffee cups, corn-lined or otherwise, it's hard not to feel more than a bit guilty. (starbucks cups are made of 10% post-consumer recycled cardboard. the other 90%, i guess, is brand-spanking new). let's not even get started on fair trade issues. i just really want my coffee, and i don't want to make it at home because it's never the same. i guess i could start bringing my own container but i'm not even sure how this works if you're going through the drive through... though trips through the drive through are rare these days, as both places i frequent the most often don't have them. so maybe i should give it a try.

sigh. can anyone recommend a travel mug?


Heather Robison said...

So, I too have an obsession with coffee. I have been able to cut my habit down to drinking hot black coffee or iced coffee with a splash of non-fat milk; this small change saves me a ton of calories and money. However, that is neither here nor there.
I do carry with me, at all times, a travel coffee mug. This began when my local Starbucks (the only coffee joint at my place of work; the wonderful UTC mall) offered a 20 cent discount to those who brought in their own cups and since I typically already had one from my morning drive there was no reason use anything less; this brought the cost of my black coffee down to exactly $1. I also began using my travel mug for my afternoon iced coffees because it keeps it so icy cold. So, in your request for good travel mugs, I have a few good leads. I recently purchased my favorite travel mug (and coincidently the only one I have ever actually paid for; working in the retail biz does have its perks as I am sure you know) at Whole Foods. It is a Bodum 16-ounce stainless-steel travel mug for around $15. I kind of think it was a bit much but my rational was that it made up for all of my “free” travel mugs that I have used over the years. The stainless-steel is great, it keeps anything that is in it very hot or very cold. The lid is made of plastic but I have not done any research to see if it is BPA free. I know that is a concern for you, so in my effort to be a great GREEN friend I did some research of my own and found these two travel mugs that look quite appealing and the lids are BPA free! Check them out and good luck with your coffee quest. Also if you are interested, I found a great contraption at Crate & Barrel that makes a mean homemade latte & espresso (hot or iced) and it is smaller than a tea kettle. If I can perfect an at home coffee delight, I am sure you can too. Call me and I give you the low down lady! Just think of how much gas & time you will save making your amazing coffee at home. If there is one thing I have mastered it is everything coffee so just ask! XOXO


Kelly Marie said...

I was also going to suggest one of the Thermos travel mugs. I definitely prefer stainless steel over BPA-free pastics. I feel like the plastic really holds onto smells which the stainless does not.

This travel mug is 14$ at Target.

The contigo that Heather linked looks sexxxxy.

ring.and.rose said...

i have total faith that you can make coffee at home you'll find delicious.

for best coffee, i know you're supposed to buy beans and grind it fresh every day, and NOT keep your beans in the freezer. just a cool, dark place. this is what i learned while i worked at a coffee shop.

but, since i'm pressed for time in the morning, i buy a lb. of whole foods brand ground beans every couple weeks. it's not a bad deal compared to peets and starbucks. only $9/lb.

and if you ever consider investing in an espresso machine and making your own lattes, i'll teach you how to steam milk.


Andrea said...

I will second the stainless steel mug-much better for you and the taste of the coffee. My problem was what to do with iced coffee. One day at our local bagel/coffee shop I saw a guy use a wide mouth mason jar w/lid. Ingenious! I haven't had iced coffee since, but when I do I will remember my mason jar.
Andrea (ashersmom on EFF)