As coffee roasters, we need to continually look at ways to improve sustainability and increase yield - from crop to cup.
We currently live in a world where sustainability and reducing waste is more important than ever. Businesses are really starting to put their foot down and working on ways to become more sustainable and setting target. This too, is important for coffee roasters and cafés.
At the rate we’re going, demand for coffee worldwide is fast beginning to outstrip supply. With climate change issues, crop pests (such as the coffee borer beetle), coffee rust (fungus that attacks coffee crops) and an increasing global population, we could be facing a significant world coffee shortage by as early as 2050.
So, what can we do as coffee roasters to be more efficient and lessen our impact on the environment? There are a few key principles we can follow to ensure that coffee goes further and closes the coffee loop.
For café owners, our blends are generally darker than what you see in the micro-roaster scene. There are two main reasons for this; firstly, by roasting darker we achieve better carry and flavour through milk. This means less coffee (grams) in the basket for every shot poured. With around 79% of Australians drinking milk-based coffee, this makes our coffee go further, creating economic benefits for the café operator. Secondly, by roasting larger batches with precision control - we minimise roast loss and maximise coffee quality and consistency.
Both practices also keep coffee waste to a minimum (through smaller dosing in the basket) and reduce carbon emissions. We won't make you live beyond your coffee means; we work with you to make sure your equipment setup is the right fit for you.
For coffee consumers, not only will we deliver a quality experience in the cup - we'll also strive to deliver the experience through sustainable methods. This starts with how and where our coffee is sourced - we make sure coffee farmers get a fair and stable price and that all our green coffee is harvested using ethical practices with minimal impact on the environment.
But what happens to the waste after you've had your coffee? This is a great question and one that is relevant right now. The Australian coffee scene needs to collectively find solutions to reduce its huge waste footprint; it is estimated that 1 billion coffee cups end up in landfill each year – and this is in Australia alone.
However, numerous steps are being taken to tackle this challenge, such as collecting coffee grounds in partnership with some of our cafés. This means we intercept spent coffee grounds before they find their way to landfill and pass them onto other suppliers for reuse. Coffee grounds are a great food source for mushrooms and a nutrient-rich component of compost and fertiliser.
We’re also partnering with coffee waste re-use startups. We're very pleased to be a passionate supporter and product development partner for Zero Impact Co. Zero Impact's mission is to 'bring value to the stuff we throw away' starting with the reuse of coffee grounds.
We are a business that will always strive for what’s best for the environment, so whether you own a café or are just an avid coffee lover, let’s work together to create a more sustainable future.