Thursday, October 9, 2008

Zero Carbon Coffee?

We may have a new heavyweight champion for most tree-huggiest company of all time.

Grounds for Change already sells organic, fair-trade, shade-grown coffee roasted using 100 percent renewable electricity. They also donate one percent of sales to environmental organizations.

And now they're offsetting 100 percent of their emissions with I mean, I don't think it could be any greener if each bean was hand-raised by Al Gore.

Check out their "comprehensive 'crop to cup' analysis" of their carbon footprint:
  1. Organic cultivation of coffee plant
  2. Non-mechanized harvest of coffee cherries
  3. Pulping and washing of cherries (to extract beans)
  4. Sun drying of coffee beans
  5. Transport of beans to dry mill for hulling
  6. Burlap bags used to contain finished green coffee
  7. Transport to port city in country of origin
  8. Ocean transport from origin to US west coast ports
  9. Warehousing in US port cities
  10. Transport to Grounds for Change roastery
  11. All energy used in roasting processes
  12. All energy used in operations and business travel
  13. Coffee packaging materials, labels and shipping boxes
  14. Transport of finished coffee to customer
  15. Customer disposal of empty coffee bag
What, they're not offsetting my half and half too? Greenwashers! (I kid.)

Grounds for Change also offers blends from Cafe Femenino Mexico, which "is a new origin for this special project that empowers women coffee farmers by involving them in every step of the coffee production process."

The Green Miles ordered a pound of the Sumatran and a pound of the El Salvador. The shipping is a bit steep, starting at $6.20. But the pound bags are $1.50 off right now, so that makes up for it nicely.

My current favorite coffees are the Starbucks Organic Sumatra-Peru Blend and the Sulawesi from Central Coffee Roasters. I'll let you know how the Grounds for Change coffees stack up!


Anonymous said...

Wow - that's seriously green coffee! I'm a coffee addict - looking forward to an taste update. :)

swag said...

Why do people presume we are so lazy as to not donate our own money to causes of our choice, and instead feel compelled to do it on our behalf? That's terribly ineffecient and less effective.

I'm not so thrilled about the carbon offsets concept either. As if the LA police department could buy "civil rights credits". It's a false economy.

Bryon Powell said...

Central Roasters has amazing coffee. I stumbled upon them on a whim when driving back from a run in the Shenandoah a few years back. A loyal drinker ever since. They are very consciencious in their sourcing of beans, quite friendly and knowledgable in person, and roast up some great coffee! Normally, my favorite coffees are light blends from Central and South America, but the Sumatra is Central Coffee Roasters is amazing. I was glad to seem them come to Whole Foods in Arlington, so I can pick up their joe between trips to the mountains.

Anonymous said...

Swag, I think companies make the presumption that we are lazy because most people ARE lazy and don't donate. While I believe some people are becoming more aware and are spending more time and money with the charitable causes of their choice, there are still many out there who only spend money on life's "necessities" like coffee. :)

It's wonderful to give those people the option to purchase a coffee that is trying to do some good for people and the planet. Personally, I see this as an opportunity to be conscientious about my coffee purchasing in addition to making my other donations.

I look forward to trying this! Thanks for the information!

TheGreenMiles said...

Swag, they're not called civil rights credits, but ... gang prevention? Community relations? Neighborhood watch? The LAPD certainly tackles crime from both the punishment and prevention sides -- just like we should attack our carbon problem both through direct reduction and offsets.

Anonymous said...

YEA! Thanks for posting this Miles!