Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Simple Suggestion #157... Drink wasteless coffee

'Tis the season (Lent) when Tim Horton's (Canada's franchised version of the donut/coffee shop) has its annual Roll Up The Rim To Win promotion. Any time you buy a cup of coffee at Tim's, whether in a porcelain mug or 'to go,' you are given a paper cup with a special rim under which is the opportunity to win a prize -- or not -- from a new vehicle to a donut. One of our youngest daughter's friends gave her the rim for a donut he won, and she's chomping at the bit to go get it. The big problem with the whole thing is the waste of paper cups, which you see blowing around the city this time of year (I'll never understand how people can litter)! Waste is a huge problem in our world, but it's one we like to ignore, especially if we can win a prize of some sort for doing so.

A lot of Canadians love their Tim's, or Second Cup, or Starbuck's, and those fancy-schmancy Tassimo single serving coffee makers can be found in many homes and businesses (they're a particular pet peeve of mine -- every time you make a single cup of coffee, you have a tiny little plastic container that can't really be recycled because it's too small, so it ends up in the landfill -- one of those single-use wastes of resources). The good thing is that some people are realizing how silly paper cups really are, so at least they carry travel mugs.

I've found a way to enjoy coffee that is as close to waste-less as I can get... and it's my simple suggestion for today, because one of the important things about embracing Voluntary Simplicity is that we use as few resources as we can manage in order to keep the world in better shape for future generations.

My preferred method of coffee brewing involves fair trade coffee, which I've already written about at length, and a bodum, or French press, which is basically a beaker with a screened plunger that pushes the coffee grounds to the bottom. My girlfriend made me a little bodum cozy to keep the coffee hot.

The whole process makes me think about the cowboys who used to put their coffee grounds into an old sock and float it in a pot of boiling water... except there's no old sock flavour in my coffee. It's plain old deeee-licious.

Step one -- grind your fair trade coffee, and put into beaker.

Step two -- add boiling water and stir.

Step three -- cover with plunger unit and let steep for 4 minutes.

Step four -- press down plunger.

Step five -- pour coffee into a favourite, reusable mug, and fix to your liking. The tastiest coffee of all! The only trick is to watch out when you get to the bottom of the cup, as it gets a little bit thick...

Step six -- add water to the leftover coffee grounds and pour over your compost pile, or feed it to tomato plants (mine are just sprouting in the greenroom -- eventually, they'll appreciate slightly acidic soil additives). There's no little tassimo container or coffee filter or paper cups involved -- the only waste in the entire process is the bag the coffee comes in, and I'm still looking for ways to get around that... perhaps I can buy bulk beans at Earth's General Store. They seem to carry almost everything else sans packaging!

Of course, there are plenty of beverages out there that don't require the fossil fuel transportation costs from halfway around the world that coffee beans do -- like water, milk, and backyard mint tea. So really, this suggestion is mainly a reminder to look at the waste we create and to minimize it in whatever way we are able. I could, and probably should, drink my backyard mint tea more often...

Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.


  1. Unfortunately for us, we need the filter because it filters out an enzyme in coffee that raises cholesterol BUT we compost the filter.

    1. Hmmmmm. I've never heard about that before. How do coffee filters remove an enzyme? Are they special filters?

  2. ANOTHER great post - have shared via redworm_mama .....

    i had one of these plunger coffee makers but the thing shattered while i was plunging.....NOT fun! you make it sounds so yummy i will keep my eyes peeled for another one.

    i use a coffee-maker and a permanent filter made from some sort of metal mesh- no filters to recycle, no muss, no fuss!!!! and NO PODS to throw away.......my pet peeve lately is the single cup at a time makers......

    su :)

  3. Great post Maria! Interestingly, the office out at EWMC recently got a Keurig....


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