Counter Culture’s Honest, Thoughtful Greenhouse Gas Report
We devote a lot of space on this site — some readers might even say too much space — to environmental sustainability issues. Most often the focus of these issues is within the coffee supply chain from seed to import, with particular attention to supply sustainability, certification developments and other environmental and economic issues at origin.
Significantly less spotlight has been shone on environmental sustainability initiatives in the places where coffee is roasted and consumed in its largest quantities — the very places that generate the lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions within the coffee chain. One of the driving factors in that lack of information is simply that there is less notable work routinely being done on this front.
That’s why the latest in-house sustainability report from wholesale coffee roaster Counter Culture Coffee is so significant — reaching levels of transparency and accountability related to greenhouse gas emissions not commonly seen in the coffee roasting/retailing industry.
When last May we spoke with Meredith Taylor, who had recently joined CCC as sustainability coordinator, she said one of the company’s immediate sustainability goals was to dig deeper into the company’s own sustainability practices stateside, beginning with clearer and more comprehensive tracking and reporting of things like water and energy usage.
It’s no small task, and while CCC has been tracking some of its direct greenhouse emissions since 2010 and buying carbon credits to offset them, the “2014 Greenhouse Gas Report” is its most comprehensive to date. It takes into account not only CCC’s direct emissions through things like propane usage in roasting and fuel usage in fleet vehicles, but also secondary “scopes,” such as emissions from third parties beyond CCC’s control, like those from UPS resulting from the shipping of CCC’s coffees throughout the country.
The idea for the coffee carts was born when a member of the Change Please team spotted a member of the public crossing the street to avoid a Big Issue seller before heading into Starbucks. Now, the simple act of buying a cup of coffee will allow a homeless person to earn a living wage and –- crucially -– will get them off the streets. Change Please hires homeless people and trains them as baristas with the long-term goal of equipping them with the skills and experience required to enter the general workforce. Change Please baristas are paid the London minimum wage, £9.15 per hour.
“This, for me, is like a glimmer of hope,” says Liam Mulligan, a 19-year-old homeless man. “I see this as salvation. It’s a great chance for me to get out of the situation that I’m in. Not only that, I’m doing good. I’m serving people with good service and with a smile. I’m doing good for people and I’m gonna help myself in the long-term.”
After getting kicked out of his home on his 18th birthday, Liam has spent the past year on the streets. As he speaks, he beams from ear to ear; he’s excited about his future.
“It feels fantastic to be earning a living wage. It’s good to do something productive with my time. At the moment it’s definitely making a big impact on my life.”
Homelessness is on the rise throughout the UK, with a record 280,000 people approaching their local authority for homelessness assistance. Rough sleeping — the most extreme form of homelessness — has more than doubled in London in the past five years alone. Though this initiative is a step in the right direction, more support services are still required to rigorously tackle homelessness.
Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please, said: “There are so many homeless people in London that have a wide variety of skills, and we felt that we could enhance these skills, and help train them as baristas. Coffee is a natural medium to do that, as it’s part of people’s daily routine. If we can give people skills they don’t currently have, and provide them with employment, we can reduce homelessness one coffee at a time.”
Over the next month, Change Please coffee carts are being rolled out across London . Change Please is also hoping to launch in cities across the UK, with the aim to help as many people as possible through the initiative. The hand roasted, artisan coffee will be available to buy nationally across the UK online at changeplease.org.
BRENDAN BROWN | SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2015
COFFEE ME UP! HEALTH BENEFITS
The health effects of drinking coffee have long been a source of controversy. The controversy has centered on its content of caffeine, a stimulant that can cause problems for some people.
However, as mentioned above, a consensus is emerging that coffee has some really great benefits:
- Coffee might help to prevent the sort of cognitive decline usually associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Researchers discovered that participants who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 65% decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later on in life.
- Coffee can help people to lose weight, as caffeine is one of the few natural substances with proven fat burning capabilities. Caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by 3-11%, and increase the burning of fat by as much as 29% in lean people and 10% in those who are obese.
- According to a Japanese study, men consuming one to two cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by as much as 38%.
- Drinking two cups of coffee a day has been associated with a 40% lower risk of developing liver cancer.
- Coffee consumption is linked with a reduced incidence of some types of cancers, including liver and colorectal cancer.
- Drinking coffee has been found to ease pain in the neck, shoulders, forearms, and wrists experienced by those who work in an office.
- Two cups of coffee can cut post-workout muscle pain by up to 48%.
- Coffee might help to prevent depression. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why this is so, but they believe that it’s because caffeine activates neurotransmitters in the brain which are responsible for controlling mood. What’s clear is that coffee consumption has been associated with a 50 percent reduction in suicide risk among both men and women.
- Given that coffee drinkers are less likely to get many diseases outlined above, it’s not surprising that coffee drinkers tend to live longer overall.
Coffee’s main health giving qualities arise from its antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help us to fight inflammation, an underlying cause of many chronic conditions.
In fact, studies show that most Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than they do from both fruits and vegetables combined (though perhaps this serves best to demonstrate how sad the SAD diet is, rather than coffee’s superstar antioxidant status).
Note that the health benefits apply to instant coffee as well as the good quality stuff.
THE BEST TIME TO GET YOUR JAVA ON (PS. IT’S NOT EARLY MORNING)
If we dive into coffee as soon as our eyelids open, it might not give us the boost in energy we are seeking.
This is because, biologically speaking, our bodies are least in need of coffee in the morning.
As humans we are affected by the 24-hour hormonal cycle called the circadian clock, which controls the release of a hormone called cortisol. This is the hormone which makes us feel alert and awake, and is at peak production in our bodies between 8-9am.
According to ASAP Science, drinking coffee during a peak cortisol period has two unwanted effects for us.
- Caffeine interferes with the body’s own production of cortisol, which means that the body ends up producing less of it.
- A person’s tolerance is caffeine is strengthened, which means they’re going to seek it out more and more, but with diminishing ‘return on investment’.
For most people, cortisol levels actually peak at three times during the day: between 8-9 am, 12-1 pm and 5:30-6:30 pm. If someone wants to get the most bang for their buck in terms of caffeine intake, it’s during the slumps of cortisol levels.
The best time to drink coffee, therefore, is between 10-11.30am, and 2-5pm, when your cortisol levels naturally dip. Your body will most need a caffeine hit during these times.
Admittedly, abstaining from coffee until 10am might seem a bit… unnatural.
But think of it like this: the only reason we crave it immediately upon waking is because we’ve effectively trained our bodies to expect a jolt of caffeine first thing in the morning (think Pavlov’s dog). So just quit being a well trained dog and think optimization!
WATERBURY, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., a personal beverage system company that has revolutionized the way consumers create and enjoy beverages, today announced the launch of Green Mountain Coffee® Coffeehouse, a new collection of beverages featuring café-inspired cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos. The specialty line of products draws upon the Green Mountain Coffee® heritage as a small-batch roaster and coffee shop combined with the ease and simplicity of the Keurig® hot brewing system.
The Green Mountain Coffee® Coffeehouse collection allows consumers to make a delicious, frothed café-style beverage at home. The two-step process is easy: simply empty the froth packet into a mug, brew the K-Cup® pod and enjoy! Coffeehouse two-step beverages are made with Fair Trade Certified™ coffee, sugar, skim milk, cream and sea salt and contain no artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors or preservatives. Coffeehouse is available in three irresistible flavors: smooth and flavorful Cappuccino, buttery and richSalted Caramel Macchiato and sweet and creamy Vanilla Latte.
“Green Mountain Coffee takes pride in its roots as a local Vermont roaster and coffee shop that created distinctively delicious coffee house beverages,” said Tom Ferguson, Senior Vice President, US Hot Beverages at Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. “With the new Green Mountain Coffee Coffeehouse collection, we drew on that longstanding coffee expertise and the innovation of Keurig simplicity to create the barista experience you love, at home, at the touch of a button.”
The Green Mountain Coffee® Coffeehouse collection joins the over 575 different beverages and 80+ brands in the Keurig Green Mountain family. For 35 years Green Mountain Coffee® has been a leader in specialty coffee, finding and roasting the highest quality coffee in the world while building strong, lasting relationships with the farmers who grow it.
Compostable, biodegradable and recyclable pods are all possible “green” solutions for locations and while consumers may be asking for more eco-friendly coffee solutions, many might not be sure what is even available.
Know how eco-friendly your next pod of coffee is with helpful distinctions from Vending Market Watch: http://www.vendingmarketwatch.com/blog/12097891/guilt-free-coffee-pods
Love your cup o’ joe in the morning? So do we! This study from Vending Market Watch suggests certain health benefits associated with your morning fix:
24 June, 2015 Drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day could cut an individual’s cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality risk by up to 21%, according to research highlighted in a EuroPRevent session report published by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), a not-for-profit organization devoted to the study and disclosure of science related to coffee and health1.
The finding is significant given that coronary heart disease and stroke remain the primary cause of death across Europe, responsible for 51% of all deaths in women and 42% of all deaths in men.2 Over four million people die from CVD annually in Europe and overall, CVD is estimated to cost the EU economy €196 billion every year.3
The ISIC session report highlights the research presented at a Satellite Symposium held during the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation’s 2015 congress in Lisbon, Portugal, on the subject of ‘Coffee and CVD Mortality’. Leading researchers in this field presented on the role of lifestyle factors in CVD mortality risk reduction, the epidemiological evidence on coffee and CVD mortality, and the conclusions from meta-analyses on coffee and CVD mortality.
The lowest CVD mortality risk is seen at an intake of approximately 3 cups of coffee per day, with a percentage risk reduction of up to 21%.1
Two 2014 meta-analyses suggest an association between coffee consumption and CVD risk, proposing a ‘U-shaped’ pattern whereby optimal protective effects were achieved with 3-5 cups of coffee per day.3,4
Drinking 3-4 cups of coffee per day is associated with an approximate 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to consuming none or less than 2 cups per day.5 People with diabetes typically have a higher CVD mortality risk, therefore this association may be linked to…