Open the Door to Ethically Better Coffee This Summer!

Your choice of coffee says a lot about you

Installing a coffee machine in the comfort of your own home is one of life’s great luxuries. As the owner of a great gadget that whips up a latte at the press of a button, I can’t imagine life sans-caffeine fix on tap (hashtag #FirstWorldProblems).

With the popularity of coffee machines ever growing, so too has the consumption of coffee pods. The coffee culture popularised by Rachel and Ross et al in Friends Central Perk shows no signs of slowing and sales of coffee pods are expected to treble by 2020, at which point their popularity could usurp tea bags. This is in part thanks to each pod delivering a single serving, unlike the humble but hard working teabag that can serve a whole hoard when brewed in a pot. It’s unsurprising then, that households and offices are racking up some serious coffee pod empties at the end of long latte-fuelled weeks. Which might seem harmless enough, however, the rise in consumption of these seemingly innocuous little pods bears some serious consequences for our planet.

Originally sold by Nespresso in 1986, single-serve coffee pods are generally made from plastic or aluminium and capped with foil or filter paper that are a plague on the environment. The combination of the packaging and coffee granules makes recycling a difficult process; in fact, aluminium coffee pods can take between 150 to 500 years to decompose.

Plastic pods are no better for the environment; when it comes to plastic pollution we are facing a global environmental crisis that is resulting in devastating effects for the planets marine life. In fact, micro plastics in our oceans now outnumber stars in the Milky Way. It was this knowledge that led the city of Hamburg to ban coffee pods from state-run buildings in 2016, in an attempt to minimise environmental waste. And with the coffee pod industry making up worth £14 billion in Western Europe alone, suddenly that daily at home flat white-fix doesn’t seem quite so appealing.  

If you’re a coffee convert with a conscience squirming in your seat at the thought of giving up your daily cappuccino for a cup of chai in the name of the environment, don’t panic! Founded in Brixton in 2010 by master-roaster Kurt, Volcano Coffee Works is a clever company founded in response to the coffee pod crisis. The company is on a mission to deliver caffeine-fix ‘that is better for everybody’ by producing 100% sustainable and fully compostable coffee pods. Easy to recycle, Volcano’s Coffee Works pods can be disposed either through green waste collection, your own composting or the standard rubbish bin. Taking just 150 days to disintegrate, their environmental impact is but a mere drop in the ocean in comparison to standard coffee pods.

The 33-strong team at Volcano Coffee Works aren’t just championing the environment, either. They are also committed to working with small farmers and their communities around the world to increase the quality of their product. Working with partners and importers who actively engage in promoting sustainability and community-based improvements, they ensure all aspects of the business are ethical.

Trading in your coffee pods for Volcano Coffee Works pods doesn’t mean compromising on taste, either. The Brixton based roastery offer three expressions for the coffee connoisseur: Bold Morning Shot (an intense cocoa body to kick-start the day), Balanced All Day (a mild nutty Brazilian coffee) and Reserve Rich Sweet (offering a toffee sweet flavour for a satisfying treat!)

To ensure you never go without your daily caffeine fix, you can sign up to Volcano Coffee Works subscription service. Simply choose how often you want the coffee to be sent; how you like your brew; then checkout and the pods will be delivered direct to your door.

With stylish colour-block packaging, the coffee pods would make a great father’s day gift for dads keen to reduce their environmental impact!

Whether your brew of choice is a short and strong espresso, a chocolate topped cappuccino or milky macchiato, your cup of coffee can say a lot about you – but it doesn’t have to impact your carbon footprint.

Sophie Green

Sophie Green is PR Manager for a designer flash sale website and part-time fashion blogger, having founded her fashion and shopping blog in 2012. Finding a passion for the industry at a young age, Sophie studied Fashion Communications at university and has worked in the industry for over a decade, heading up the PR departments of several fashion and fine jewellery brands. Through her fashion blog she has worked on campaigns with brands including UGG Australia, La Redoute and Headmasters and counts sitting opposite Anna Wintour at the Topshop Unique LFW show as a career highlight! Outside of work Sophie likes to unwind by hitting the gym for a boxing class or ‘researching’ the best G&T’s the capital has to offer. Her fashion obsession is sequins, with an entire section of her wardrobe dedicated to all things-sparkly!

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