If you are an adult living in the U.S., there is an 83% chance that you are a coffee drinker. Though it is one of the most consumed beverages on the planet, people around the world still have different opinions of the benefits and consequences of this habit. Is it good or bad for our health? While some blame the caffeinated drink for several health issues, other studies showed it can lead to a longer life. I definitely enjoy my morning wake-me-up. Like many products we buy, coffee is produced most by low-income families in under-developed countries.
People are becoming increasingly aware of the ethics surrounding the coffee industry. From the people making less than US$ 2 a day, to the expresso capsules causing a giant roar in the environmental community. It does seem a little ridiculous that we are using plastic capsules for individual servings. According to an analyst at Rabobank, these capsules (or pods), make up 1/3 of the Western European coffee market. The pods weighing 3g and containing 6g of caffeine and being made of a mixture of aluminium and plastic are difficult to recycle and are being used in massive quantities daily. Hamburg, Germany, has recently banned the product along with other similar products that have single use packaging! Way to go Germany! Perhaps this is something cafés in other cities will need to take into account when making decisions about how they serve their beverages!
So how can you, living in Barcelona, make sure you are supporting products and companies that are ethical and sustainable for the environment? Luckily there are several options! Here are a couple:
This company follows many ethical standards and cares a lot about ethical sourcing and social responsibility. With one of their warehouses located in Barcelona, you can get this brand in many stores here but deliver to almost anywhere in the world. The coffee that Kilimanjaro sources is eco-friendly, without harm to the environment, doesn’t employ minors and promotes equal and ethical conditions for women.
With no middle man, Kilimanjaro deals directly with small farms and cooperatives and pay a price for the coffee that “rewards quality, respects their costs and encourages their future plans.” They also have projects to provide training and support to families in the coffee communities living on less than USD$ 2 a day.
Remember how we mentioned the atrocity of capsules? Well, perhaps Ethical Coffee Company has found a solution for this. They have created the first ever 100% biodegradable coffee capsule. Primarily made from plant-based fibres, the capsules degrade themselves in 6 months. They also claim to use less packaging in for their capsules which reduces the resources being used and carbon footprint. ECC is promising a guilt-free feeling while enjoying the delicious taste.
Do you prefer to grab a steaming cup in a cute shop around the city? Well Onna Coffee might be your next favorite spot! Located in Gracia, it sources its coffee solely from Costa Rica and deals with the trade themselves with no middle man. Onna wants to ensure the quality of the product as well as the ethical treatment of the producers.
So go ahead and drink your morning coffee with confidence that you are not supporting a harmful industry! If we all make concerted efforts, the demand for ethical and sustainable products will increase. The power of the masses can create a shift in the world, not only in the industry but for all goods and services!