Coffees Carbon Footprint Is In Milk
When people talk about the relationship between coffee and the environment, they’re usually quick to jump on topics of non-recyclable coffee pods and paper waste. Robert Myers, cofounder of San Francisco’s Paramo Coffee, has discovered that milk is a huge part of the problem.
Do you drink your daily brew from a reusable mug? Go out of your way to recycle your grounds? Well, coffees carbon footprint is most strongly set by the milk stirred in to it.
The ‘milk math’ Paramo Coffee did found that milk represents 60 to 70 percent of the carbon footprint of a cup of coffee that contains a few tablespoons of milk. In a latte, that number rises to 80 or 90 percent. Enjoying your cup of coffee black produces 21 grams of CO2, where each latte contains a whopping 340 grams. “When you figure a coffee shop makes 300, 500, 700 drinks a day, this becomes significant,” Myers told SFGate.
Myers has deduced an interesting solution, now using milk from a dairy farm that has converted some of their grazing land to “carbon farming.” That requires covering the land in a thick layer of compost, then replanting it with perennial grasses which have much more extensive root systems than annuals. They suggest that the process sequesters atmospheric carbon instead of producing it.
But Paramo can’t source milk solely from those cows who graze on those replanted acres. So, donating money is supplemented to help clear their conscience instead. Five cents from every drink goes to Marin Carbon Project, to offset the cost of converting additional dairy rangelands to carbon farming.
Sigh. You know what would achieve faster results for our environment? Not serving cow’s milk at all. Vegans are still coffee lovers, but find their lattes brewed with coconut, almond, or soy milk. Not only does that reject participating in the use of animals, but it’s clearly a better environmental choice.