Ahhhh, just the smell of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning is enough to wake you up. But, your daily caffeinated beverage could be creating an impact on the environment that you aren't even aware of. Not to worry, there are farms and companies—like Lighthouse Coffee—that are actively working to give back to the environment and make sure the coffee industry is one to last for generations to come.
Coffee may be one of the most consumed beverages in the world, unfortunately, much of the coffee industry isn't very sustainable. In order to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for coffee, many practices coffee growers have resorted to relying on deforestation, water pollution, low wages for workers, and a high carbon footprint.
How Coffee Grows
For those who may not know, coffee beans grow on trees as a cherry-like fruit. They are harvested, cleaned, and dried before being sent on their way to being roasted. When coffee was first produced, it was typically shade-grown, which meant the trees the coffee beans come from were cultivated under tree canopies next to other vegetation species. However, many plantations have taken to cutting down trees to increase sun exposure for quicker growing times.
However, while this "sun growing" quickens harvest times, these coffee beans now require more water, more fertilizer and pesticides, not to mention the deforestation is hurting the biodiversity of the plants and animals in those areas. Deforestation also impacts other sustainability attributes such as food security and pest control, which harms both the environment and the people in these growing regions.
No, we aren't talking about how many footsteps it takes for you to get to your coffee maker in the morning. With coffee being a highly consumed beverage, it also has a significant carbon footprint on the environment, especially with natural gas-powered roasters. Studies revealed the roasting stage of coffee on average contributes approximately 15% of the overall carbon footprint, which is equal to about 1.2 pounds of carbon emissions per 5-pound roast. That's where the zero-emission, all-electric Bellwether Roaster comes in. The technology used to run the roaster eliminates harmful roasting byproducts and reduces the carbon footprint of each roasting cycle by an average of 90%. This roasting also results in a cleaner cup because the coffee is free from any of those gases and bitter taste when you brew it.
The Future Solution
So what are we supposed to take away from all this information? Know where your coffee is coming from. There are farmers and plantations that are dedicated to getting back to the traditional shade-grown coffee while limiting the amount of waste produced, helping to further grow the biodiversity in the area while paying their farmers a livable wage. With the help of Bellwether Coffee, we have been able to select beans from regions around the world that share our sustainable beliefs, such as our Watch Hill bean that comes from Colombia.
We want our coffee to be enjoyed for years and years to come and these plantations we get our beans from want to make that happen too. So before you just go out to any grocery store or any of the thousands of online coffee-selling websites, do your research and make sure the coffee you're getting is giving back to the environment instead of taking away from it.