Water Crisis and Coffee – How to Be Water Wise
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We all know that the Western Cape is currently facing a huge emergency due to water shortage.
It might be the first time you hear about water crisis but unfortunately this is a global problem.
Water, once considered a renewable resource, is running low all over the world due to multiple factors like population increase and pollution.
I love coffee as much as I love nature and I believe information is the key to help people reduce their impact on this planet
1st thing to know, Coffee is not environmental friendly
- Plants needs a lots of water to grow
- Beans are grown over sea and shipped all over the world
- Roasting is not an environmental friendly process (in Italy is illegal to roast inside the cities due to toxic fumes)
- The waste behind the packages is massive
- Plants require chemicals to grow strong, chemicals contaminate the water in the soil
- It requires more than 140lt of water from the beginning to the end to deliver your cup of coffee
2nd thing to know
- Coffee beans are not grown in the Western Cape so luckily the 140lt is partially affecting Cape Town
Now let’s see how we can enjoy our coffee reducing our water impact on Cape Town
FROM THE CUSTOMER SIDE
1. DRINK BLACK COFFEE
Milk comes from cows as we all know. What we don’t consider is that in order to produce milk the animal needs to be feed (food is made of water), and needs to drink (a cow can drink between 60 – 130lt per day according to the season). (SOURCE)
The water is also necessary to clean all the areas where the cows lives and where they get milked
The result is a shocking 200lt of water for 1lt of milk (SOURCE)
This is obviously a rough calculation and can change a lot according to countries/clima/technologies used, but even if we manage to reduce the water waste by 50% is still a huge amount
If you really can’t cut on milk than try to reduce
2. LESS SUGAR
Opposite to coffee beans, sugar canes are grown in South Africa.
Sugar is refined in the western cape
Between the water necessary to grow the plant and the water used in the factory to refine it, we ends up with a shocking 1500/2000lt for 1kg (SOURCE)
No, brown sugar is not different, is just white refined sugar mixed with molasses
It will take time to get used to but you will learn that a good coffee can be drink without sugar
3. NO TAKE AWAY
That cup used to be a three. It required lots of water to grow and even more for the process necessary to create the paper.
To make 1ton of paper you need between 5 to 100 cubic mt of water (SOURCE)
Recycled paper is not a solution, it still requires water to create the mix. On top of this if the source of the paper contains chemicals like news paper ink can even be cancinogenic
Bio Cups is still not a solution, all the process necessary to create that cups involve the use and waste of water, plus, is the ink on the cup really bio???
FROM THE COFFEE SHOP SIDE
1. COFFEE COMPOST
Used Coffee grounds have multiple uses, it can remove the smells from fridges as much as it can help plants to grow.
Adding used coffee grounds to the soil helps the water retention.
Give the coffee compost to your customers.
2. THE ITALIAN WAY
We use between 7,5 and 8 grams of coffee for each cup, and is the same approach we have here in Cape Town
The average barista in the Western Cape use an amount of 20 grams for each cup
The consumption of coffee is almost triple and so the impact on the ambient
Save money and help the environment, what else do you want?
3. BUY A PROFESSIONAL DISHWASHER
Industrial dishwashers are made to save water.
They work differently than the one in your house, water is slowly changed over the day, not on every wash.
4. MAKE SURE EVERY TIME YOU RUN THE DISHWASHER IS FULLY LOADED
You will reduce the cost of the electricity, the cost of the chemicals, the waste of water and subsequently the impact on the planet.
Should I say more?
5. USE THE COFFEE FLOUR TO BAKE IF AVAILABLE
Coffee beans are the seeds of a red and juicy fruit.
The pulp is always being wasted or used to feed animals.
It is a recent discovery that flour obtained from the pulp is rich in nutrients and tastes good.
Unfortunately is not yet available in South Africa