Drinking instant coffee is better for the environment, study claims

Drinking instant coffee is better for the environment, study claims
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According to the comparative analyses of Canadian researchers, all the stages of manufacture leading to the preparation of a coffee must be considered if you are to judge which type is the least damaging to the planet. The results are in and it turns out that soluble coffee comes out on top.

In a large study published recently, researchers at the Université du Québec have gathered all the scientific data about coffee preparation in order to disentangle the truth from the myth, reports RTBF.

As one might guess, single-use, aluminium coffee capsules are among the worst offenders when it comes to sustainability but you may be surprised to know that filter coffee is actually much more impactful on the planet.

Weighing the options

The researcher say you have to take into account the amount of coffee used, simply because the grain production phase is the part that emits the most greenhouse gases. According to the Canadian scientists, it accounts for 40 to 80% of total emissions due to the massive use of pesticides, fertilizers and the significant need for irrigation systems. In other words, if you put a lot of coffee into a brew, it puts a great deal of pressure on the planet.

Filter coffee, on average, uses 25 grams per 280 millilitres' cup of coffee against 14 grams for pods. The ecological footprint of the latter is even more reduced if consumers use reusable models or return the pods to collection points.

But that's not all. The amount of water is also reduced when using pod machines. And if you have espressos, there is even less. However, this favourable view of pods only holds up if you don’t chain-drink them throughout the day!

In addition to the amount of water, it is also necessary to analyse the type of energy used to obtain a fair comparison. The electricity consumption of a coffee maker is greater than that of a kettle, which feeds the idea that soluble coffee is the most environmentally friendly solution. Not only is the amount of coffee very reduced in instant coffee bags, but if we use larger packaging, there is no end-of-life waste to treat, the researchers emphasised.

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