Sustainability tastes great! Part I: reusable coffee cups | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Sustainability tastes great! Part I: reusable coffee cups

While we can’t all wear clothes made from kelp or invest in one of Elon’s Cybertrucks, there are plenty of simple sustainable swaps to be made when it comes to our food and beverage consumption.

We love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all we love small solutions to big problems, especially when it comes to the pleasures of eating and drinking! Reusable coffee cups are a perfect example of an approachable initiative to reduce single-use plastic consumption, and they’ve long led the crusade of introducing sustainable food and beverage initiatives to the average consumer.

With an estimated 2.6 billion coffee cups piling up in Aussie landfills every year, they’re a simple swap that makes a huge difference to our growing landfill problem, and slows the production of even more single-use cups.

Whether you’re a locally-made ceramic, funky-coloured KeepCup, or old-school double-walled thermos kinda person, a reusable cup is a sustainable way to enjoy your coffee that verified hipsters (sorry… coffee experts) like Olmer Bollinger, head of coffee at national brand Industry Beans, say actually improves the taste of your coffee.

I definitely believe that the quality of material that your cup is made from significantly adds to the drinking experience, especially when it comes to drinking black coffee,” he says.

It’s not all about individual changes, though; the industry, on the whole, is working towards standardising more sustainable initiatives too, says Olmer.

“Some things that we have implemented are recyclable packaging for all of our retail coffee, and using companies such as Reground to help find a home for coffee chaff [a papery by-product of the roasting process], coffee grounds, and soft plastics that can otherwise all end up at a landfill.”

While bean juice from a reusable cup tastes undeniably better than the paper and plastic one-two of single-use cups, they’re also a superior option when it comes to functionality; seal your cup and chuck it in a bag? Can do. Hold on to your long black without having to add yet another disposable cup? Yup. Retain heat so your latte lasts you through to 10 am? Abso-latte!

If you haven’t yet invested in a purpose-made reusable cup, make like the sustainable legends at venues like Wandering Cooks, whose Ugly Mugs program sees donated mugs (sometimes ugly) offered for takeaways instead of disposable cups.

A triple-threat of sustainability, practicality, and better coffee, reusable cups are a simple way to lessen your individual footprint while actually improving your coffee-drinking experience. Cin cin to a win-win, we say!

Words by Georgia Condon
- the gourmet who's a little bit green.