Food & Drink, Sustainable Swaps

Caffeine


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Photo on 2018-07-04 at 10.49

Coffee is a morning ritual in my household we brew two cups, my husband finishes his by the time I surface. I pour out the rest from the coffee machine and heat it up for 20 seconds in the microwave. By the time I finish it, it’s already cold. 2 months ago he woke me up, “The coffee filters are over, now what do we do? Order some from Amazon please.” I’m no good in the mornings.

I’d been meaning to go out and buy some muslin which could be used in place of the unbleached paper ones I had been ordering online. I obviously hadn’t; so I told him off “Just don’t use a filter” Poor fellow went ahead and did just that. And guess what? We’ve never used a filter again.

Going Low-Waste (Or Zero-waste for some) is about making small incremental changes

How is your caffeine Habit it hurting the Environment? (And what you can do about it)

Nespresso Pods (and others just like it): Nespresso pods basically produce a perfect shot of coffee every time. The mechanical engineer and ex-barista part of me is impressed. It’s pretty hard to get something right time after time. The pods also come in a bunch of fun flavours. It’s no wonder that Nespresso Pods are pretty popular. They are also TERRIBLE for the environment. Firstly the coffee pods are single use – and made of laminated aluminium. So they aren’t easy to recycle – your local kabadi wala won’t take them and so they go to the landfill. Although recycling programs for the pods are available in 36 countries, since Nespresso isn’t officially present in India we have no official program here. They also aren’t the easiest to recycle since each pod is made up of multiple materials. This also poses the additional issue that the pods are completely imported and so have a high carbon footprint.

blue brown coffee coffee capsule
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The To-Go Cup

When I went to America for the first time, I was 19. I had watched enough movies to know that the standard thing to do was to walk into a Starbucks and order something cool sounding. It was the coldest winter New York had witnessed in a 111 years or something crazy like that and I got windburn on my face walking down broadway. I walked in and ordered something, probably a cappuccino. It came in a Paper cup and a sleeve with something resembling my name on it. I emptied a paper sachet sachet of sugar into the cup and stirred it with a little plastic stick which I proceeded to throw away right after. I then put on a plastic lid and walked back out into the cold having sipping away at my American right of passage. 5 minutes later I realised I’d lost my only glove.

oh lord coffee please purple and pink cup
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With the Maharashtra plastic ban, a step in the right direction, plastic lids and straws are banned. However paper cups are not. Just to be clear, these cups can neither be composted or recycled since they have a thin plastic lamination. Plastic stir sticks are replaced with wooden ones and sugar still comes in small sachets. That’s still a lot of waste. It’s best to carry a reusable to-go cup or you know, sit down and have a cup at the coffee shop.

What do I prefer? I like my cup at home

close up of coffee cup
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For a simple single cup I love a french press. And if I have guests I have a filter coffee machine (try and not use disposable filters here – if the one that came with the machine isn’t enough then a simple muslin cloth will do the job just as well). And if you like you espresso, there are some super machines in the market (at the fraction of the cost of a Nespresso machine) – some of the higher end ones will have a built in coffee bean grinder as well. It’s best to buy locally grown coffee in bulk (Phillips is such a fixture in this sense) We’re also  we’re lucky to have some amazing new companies in India doing just that while championing sustainability (Black Baza Coffee – looking at you, though I’m not sure if they have bulk available anywhere).

Tea

Besides my morning cuppa Joe – I do like a nice green tea in the evening or a black tea with some honey and ginger on a rainy day. The best way to brew the perfect cup, at least according to me, is without a tea bag. Firstly, most tea bags are a waste of paper and I don’t know about you, but I feel like they leave some papery fibers in my cup. Not exactly tasty. Plus, a whole bunch of the higher end teas available now come in this woven plastic pouch instead of paper. My hatred for single use plastic having been previously established, I don’t really need to say more. There’s also a whole bunch of unnecessary packaging – the little paper pouch the tea bag comes in, the cardboard box they are neatly arranged in, and finally, the thin plastic wrap used to seal it all in.

beverage blur breakfast cup
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Me? I prefer loose leaf tea – any day. Easy to buy in bulk (Again at Phillips or a Nature’s Basket) I like to carry my own jars to be filled. I also have this cool stainless steel tea apparatus that works super well, or there are some really pretty teapots out there. Alternatively you could raid your mom’s china cabinet

tea smoking steam teapot
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– I’m sure there will be a teapot or 2 in there.

 

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