For a couple weeks now, I’ve been enjoying automatic drip coffee at home. This is a big change for me, having given up on that method a decade ago. When we started selling Technivorm last month, I liked that machine so much that I bought one for myself.
After a few weeks of use, I still love the brewer and the coffee it makes. I totally understand why people like it so much. I even understand why they like the concept of auto-drip, even from inferior machines. It’s convenient. I like being able to make a pot at 5:30 (it’s brewing in the background as I type, even though I can’t hear it), and hitting on it throughout the morning, or the day, even. And it’s clean, especially if using disposable filters – just dump the basket into the compost, and rinse. Yeah, this is nice.
But I’ve come to realize over these weeks that drip coffee, for me at least, is not without a downside. I use more coffee. A lot more. I’ve kept track. (It’s quite easy, actually, since I’m the only coffee drinker in the house.) 159% more.
Here are my stats. Prior to automatic drip brew, I made either espresso or press coffee at home. Once in a while I would use a single cup manual pour-over. Espresso and pour-over are single serving. My press is 0.5 liter, so it makes 2 servings, which I keep warm with a Kozee. All told, my average consumption at home, based on about three years of tracking, was about 117 grams per week. Now, I invariably did use more in total, since I consume some coffee outside of home. I don’t count that because I think my out-of-home consumption is probably similar to most people’s – a cup at the office each morning – and because my goal was to track in-home consumption.
After bringing home the Technivorm, my total consumption at home, by all methods, is about 303 grams per week. In my opinion, that’s a lot of coffee. 2/3 of a pound to be precise. After years and years of using 1/4 lb per week.
I figure that of the increase, about 121 grams is simply increased consumption. I drink more coffee because it’s convenient. I don’t like the sound of that, but I suppose that if you believe the preponderance of evidence is that coffee does no harm, then, well, there’s no harm. But the other 65 grams per week increase is just waste.
At that rate, and at the average price we charge per pound, that’s about a hundred bucks worth of wasted coffee per year. I do wonder if the waste would go up, down or stay the same with two coffee drinkers. That’s an experiment I can’t do in my home.
So this may seem like a strange revelation coming from a guy like me. My goal is to sell more coffee, after all. And this helps, right?
Well, no, it doesn’t. For a number of reasons.
First, I want happy customers. And people who waste money aren’t happy. Second, I want to show more respect for the product. The producers work hard, and in many cases suffer greatly in the process of getting that bean to you. It’s just disrespectful to waste it.
So what to do? I think awareness is the first step. If you’re like me, you waste more using this brewing method. So, think about these possible solutions:
1. Brew less than a full pot. It’s kind of a hassle, I know, because you have to calculate and measure more. But if you figured out that you should brew 6 cups instead of 10, for example, you could easily standardize your measures for a 6-cup pot.
2. Only use the auto-drip method on days you are less likely to waste coffee. For most people., this will be weekends. Use single-serve methods other days.
3. Save the leftovers. Use them in iced coffee. Or even <gasp> reheat them. Yeah, I know I’m not supposed to say that. But I’m a realist.
I’m interested to hear your experiences. Have you found your results to be similar? How do you reduce coffee waste in your home?