Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Coffee Pods - The Environmentally Friendly Green Earth Loving Biodegradable Alternative to Keurig K-Cups

Why write about coffee here? Because coffee + cycling = cycling. Wrap your head around that equation and you've got life figured out.

After a long standing relationship with Dunkin Donuts, a few years ago our household made the switch to Keurig K-Cups. And they're excellent. The convenience is almost ridiculous actually. But nagging at your conscience should be the fact that each one of those 1-time-use K-Cups goes right into the trash, proceed to landfill, do not pass go.

In fact, according to the New Hampshire Coffee Roasting Company, something on the order of 3 billion (yes, with a B) K-Cups find their way into the trash in one year's time. Someone with a science brain has determined that the total mass of a year's worth of these wasted cups exceeds the mass of the Empire State Building.

So that sucks.

Enter New Hampshire Coffee's coffee pod. Their pod is a 100% biodegradable pouch with ground coffee sealed in the center. You wedge the pouch into a unique K-Cup sized insert, put the assembly into a Keurig brewer, and voila - coffee.

From experience, I would steer toward the darker coffee offerings, particularly if you make larger sized cups. However, this is more of a general rule with Keurigs anyway. K-Cup or pod, you tend to get something a little lighter than expected when dispensing 10 or 12 ounces. Steeping the pod in the brewer will also heighten the experience, which I recommend.

The pod must be seated with some degree of care to ensure that the brewer punctures the coffee pod (failing to do so produces little more than hot water), but this isn't that big of a deal.

Especially when you consider that the New Hampshire Coffee solution creates far less waste than traditional K-Cups. In fact, this solution creates less than 14% of the waste generated by a K-Cup. So taking an extra few seconds isn't going to kill you if you think about what you're doing.

So how is there waste at all in the coffee pod solution? Because coffee pods are individually wrapped in foil. While this keeps the coffee ridiculously fresh, it's at the expense of the environment of course. The foil still sits in the landfill for perpetuity.

So you're saying, eh, alright, saving the world from 3,000,000,000 tiny plastic cups worth of garbage isn't worth my time if I'm still throwing something away. I want to throw nothing away.

Fine, you get your wish.

According to New Hampshire Coffee, their next incarnation of foil wrappers, expected to debut mid-2010, are 100% biodegradable. At that point, the pod itself, the individual wrapper, and the box it rode in on are all environmentally friendly. End-to-end planet happy coffee.

Yes, there's of course the option of buying the Keurig miniature coffee filter, taking out the K-Cup holster, fitting the filter holster back into the brewer, and using your own grounds. That may work for patient people with a lot of time and willingness to tolerate inconvenience. I don't know anyone like that.

In general, K-Cups are something like 40 some-odd cents a piece if you do the math.

Well in fact so are Coffee pods, so you don't get to bitch about how it costs more to help the environment, because it doesn't.

Sorry Keurig, but you've got some work to do. Hey good luck with that Empire State Building.

EPILOGUE

Well, it all sounded good.  Unfortunately, the Keurig pod adapter ended up working like shit.  Occasionally it would leak all over the place, which actually has been our experience with every adapter we've tried to use in this machine.  So we we're back to environment-killing K-Cups.  It may not make the greatest cup of coffee on Earth, but it's damn reliable.  A pod brewer is probably the best solution if you're going to go the pod route.

7 comments:

  1. From experience, I would steer toward the darker coffee offerings, particularly if you make larger sized cups.

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  2. Anonymous9:39 PM

    Buy the Keurig adapter, use your own coffee: dump used coffee grounds on inside plants or in the garden. YAY no waste.

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  3. By the way - I've tried every "use your own coffee grounds" K-Cup adapter on the market in our B70 brewer, and it doesn't work. It makes a hell of a mess. I know two people with the same model we have and it works for them.

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  4. Anonymous7:50 PM

    The Keurig filter adapter is much more environmentally friendly but it is time consuming and messy to empty and refill. Not to mention it is burning hot to the touch when making multiple cups of coffee; but I will continue to use it until a better alternative is available.

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  5. Anonymous11:35 AM

    bought a second filter adapter, makes morning coffee-making for two, simple and easy. put the old grounds in my compost bin. and i get to pick my coffee, and it's delish, and eco-friendly. so far, no negatives.

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  6. Anonymous10:29 PM

    Hey, We have been working on creating an actual biodegradable coffee pod. We currently have a kickstarter project running for the next 30 days. If interested it has an interesting back story.

    igreenpod is the company.

    Let me know and I can certainly provide more details.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow--for somebody who professes to be so concerned about the environment you sure caved easily!

    I'm going to try White Bear pods:

    http://blog.mycoffeesupply.com/white-bear-coffee-pods-100-biodegradable-option-single-serve-coffee/

    ReplyDelete