Green Tip #10: Be a Barista

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a beverage person. I go through lots of water, infused water, carbonated water, and unsweetened tea. In Japan, tea is everywhere, and it is really easy to buy pre-made iced tea. BUT that comes at a price: all kinds of plastic and cardboard containers. I’ve made a commitment to stop buying plastic bottles because, well, we just don’t need them. We’ve survived the last tens of thousands of years without them, and frankly, I think they are just bunk.

Also, buying beverages adds up. Think of the cost of a fancy coffee at Starbucks, or even spending $1 per day on iced tea. I’d rather use that $365 (or quadruple that if you’re a frequent Starbucks-er) to go on a trip. I’m not trying to hate on Starbucks here, because I usually treat myself once in a great while to a passion iced tea, but for everyday usage, it is way cheaper and more eco-friendly to start making your own bevvies!

I’ve heard it takes anywhere from 4 to 200 litres of water to make one latte. Any of those numbers is way too many when you consider the plastic containers, to-go lids, shipping costs, and water waste that goes into coffee houses and beverage production.

So what is a gal to do? If you’re a coffee-drinker, making iced coffee is a snap.

The Pioneer Woman shows you how to make a giant batch.

Recipe Girl advocates ice cubes made of coffee so as not to water down the flavor.

The easiest way to make iced coffee from the Kitchn.

Budget-friendly, healthier frozen treats

Healthy Starbucks Frappucinos from Chocolate Covered Katie – she also has a pumpkin spiced latte for when fall comes around. Sugar-free & vegan!

7 Variations on a Healthy “Frapp”, from Healthy Kitschy Vegan

Green Lemonade from Elana’s Pantry ~ and check out the rest of her beverage arsenal: homemade apple cider, Ginger Licorice tea, Thai iced tea, smoothies, creamsicles, mocktails – she’s got it all!

And, since I am an iced tea drinker, this amazingly sophisticated method:

Get a tea pot with that fancy strainer thing. Put looseleaf tea into it. Brew hot water. Pour hot water over tea and let it steep (or put some tea bags in a pot and steep it that way). Refrigerate overnight. Or, if you are running out the door on your way to work, which I never do, fill up your reusable mug with ice and pour tea over that way. I like to make my iced tea twice as strong for this purpose.

Listen, I realize we all don’t have espresso machines in our house, so if you still want to go out for a drink- consider your frequency (do we really need that much caffeine and such an unnatural adrenaline rush?) and PLEASE for the love of pete bring your own mug. My mom simply keeps one in her car so she won’t forget. Most of the water waste in coffee house production comes from the plastic cups and lids, which also require a lot of oil to produce and ship.

How to think about your grande latte on a finite planet from the Guardian.