Stiftung Warentest: This is how much damage we do to the environment with every cup of coffee - and why capsule machines, of all things, are an eco-tip

Sleepwalking from bed to the coffee machine, drinking two or three cups, becoming a person - the "somewhat" pointed version of a German morning.

Stiftung Warentest: This is how much damage we do to the environment with every cup of coffee - and why capsule machines, of all things, are an eco-tip

Sleepwalking from bed to the coffee machine, drinking two or three cups, becoming a person - the "somewhat" pointed version of a German morning. Without coffee, many people cannot get up to operating temperature; it is part of their daily rituals and is a highly valued everyday drug. On average, 3.6 cups of coffee are sipped per person per day in this country, which equates to coffee consumption of 4.8 kilograms per year. This puts us in tenth place worldwide.

When it comes to the environment, coffee is a problem - production is complex, still often takes place under precarious working conditions and before the beans make it to our supermarkets, they not only pass through many hands, they also have to travel a long way. The “Stiftung Warentest” looked at how harmful drinking coffee really is for our environment and how we can do it better. Environmental damage points were calculated as a basis for this. Most of these arise from the production of the coffee and the preparation. Five popular types of preparation were therefore compared: filter machine, fully automatic machine, portion coffee machine for pads and capsules and French press. The machine and conventionally grown coffee were expected to have an eight-year lifespan. Preparation here refers to and includes all stages from production to the cup.

The differences between those who drink little and those who drink a lot are striking. But they have one thing in common: According to product testers, the most environmentally friendly method of preparation for both is one that is actually quite deplored - preparation with a capsule machine. Of course in the “reusable capsules” version. Light drinkers - this is what the test describes as people who are satisfied with a large cup a day - get 38 damage points using this method. In the test, a large cup contains 120 milliliters. For heavy drinkers, i.e. those who drink eight large cups a day, the damage points amount to 265.

The fully automatic coffee machine had the worst ecological balance for light drinkers (59 damage points), which in this case is mainly due to the complex manufacturing of the machine. “The material used for the expensive devices that can prepare numerous types of coffee is significantly higher,” explains “Stiftung Warentest”. For heavy drinkers, it's the bad brother of the environmentally friendly capsule machine. Namely the one that is fed with disposable capsules (312 damage points). Aside from the machine used, what is used for coffee also makes a huge difference. The product testers’ conclusion: “The main thing is organic”. In an exemplary calculation for filter machines, the test showed that the number of damage points fell to around a third if organic coffee was brewed instead of conventionally grown beans - regardless of the amount drunk.

For a fee, you can read about what else you can pay attention to when making coffee to do something good for the environment and how the other machines in the test performed on test.de

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