Does coffee harm the climate?

The short answer: yes, coffee is climate-damaging like many other things, though not one of the heavyweights on the CO2 emitter scale. 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day worldwide. For many of us, coffee is an essential elixir for a good start to the day and we don’t need to change that. Let’s look at which countries drink the most coffee, how much CO2 a cup of coffee emits, and what you can do for the climate without stopping your love of coffee.

 

Which country will drink the most coffee in 2022? 

As the table below indicates, we in Scandinavia love coffee. The average Finn drinks between 8 and 9 cups of coffee daily, with the very passionate getting as high as 30 cups daily. 

(Keep in mind that these are cups per capita, and not everyone drinks coffee like the very young generation)

Countries that consume most coffee:

Kg. per capita per year:

Cups per capita:

  1. Finland

11.79 kg.

4 per day

  1. Norway

9,98 kg. 

3 per day

  1. Denmark

9,07 kg.

2 per day

  1. Iceland

9 kg. 

2 per day

  1. Netherlands

8,39 kg.

1,9 per day

  1. Sweden

8,16 kg.

1,8 per day

*https://coffeeaffection.com/coffee-consumption-by-country/

 

For some the consumption figures seem high, but zooming out with a few more insights gives us a deeper perspective that makes sense. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world (number one is oil). In Scandinavia, we can call coffee a culture where it is consumed at all hours of the day. Especially when we socialize with others, at our work meetings and even coffee breaks, social gatherings both at home and out, where in cafes and restaurants you are greeted with offers of coffee from breakfast to dinner and even as part of your dessert.

 How much CO2 does coffee emit?

Can you be part of the coffee culture while embracing sustainability?

We’ve tried to put together a table that should NOT make you feel guilty but give you insight and options. To make it relatable we have added other things we consume and use.

How much CO2 does a cup of coffee emit? It emits about 50 grams of CO2, about Is used as there are different varieties grown in different places, therefore see the 50 grams of CO2 as an average. 

ItemCO2 pollutionLinks:
1 Google search0,0002 kg. CO2CleverCarbon
1 cup of coffee0,05 kg. CO2CleverCarbon
1 kg. bananas0,05 kg. CO2Able
1 hour Netflix streaming0,055 kg. CO2CarbonTrust
1 liter of beer0,81 kg. CO2MedvetenKonsumtion
1 liter of milk1 kg. CO2Able
10 km. in petrol car1,19 kg. CO2DBS Bæredygtighed
1 kg. beef13,9 kg. CO2CO2.myclimate
Fly Copenhagen to Mallorca (oneway) 1931 km.353 kg. CO2CO2.myclimate
What is sustainable coffee?

Good question, we don’t have 100 percent sustainable coffee yet. On the other hand, we can make choices before more sustainable coffee makes sense for you and the next generations of coffee lovers.

Coffee beans are berry beans that grow on the coffee plant. The coffee plant is very sensitive which is felt in the price as a commodity, so if there has been a bad season with a low amount of coffee beans produced it gives a higher coffee price and vice versa. 

In other words, being good for the climate positively affects the coffee plant and our future coffee prices.  

We have been talking to Peter Larsen Kaffe who has 120 years of experience with coffee and she says: “Organic coffee emits 70% LESS CO2”. Organic coffee avoids chemical sprays and additives that have an impact on the local environment and its climate. If the climate gets too hot, the coffee beans grow too fast, resulting in the beans losing flavor and quality. The short-term solution would be to move your coffee plantation higher up the slopes, where it is more difficult to produce the same healthy amount of coffee beans due to the terrain, which takes us back to the environment and coffee prices.

Long term solution we have now is to choose organic certified coffee for a better environment on the basis that it emits 70% less CO2. 

I recommend watching our video where we visit Peter Larsen Kaffe, known as the most sustainable coffee brand in Denmark. Their DNA focuses on innovation and a future where coffee will be 100% circular. Peter Larsen Kaffe is not afraid to say that they can’t do the whole 100% circularity thing themselves and welcomes ideas, insights, or even collaborations for the ambition of a greener coffee future. 

What else can we do for the environment besides choosing organic coffee?

If you have ideas, insights, or an exciting solution, please comment.

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