Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Real Reason to Avoid Keurig

This week, the world has been treated to an intense internet debate over whether to boycott Keurig, the makers of the one cup at a time coffee makers. Frankly, I don't care one way or the other where they advertise or how, so this is, as the image would suggest, a non-political post.

However, the entire discussion got me to thinking, and I do believe we should avoid Keurig and coffee makers like it. But the reason has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the environment and with how we treat our time.

Single cup coffee makers are a sustainability disaster. Requiring those little cups every time you make a serving of coffee, they are yet another way we've found of turning a simple, inexpensive beverage into an expensive ecological misstep.

Yes, I know that one can buy refillable "K cups," but waste is not the only problem with the single cup coffee makers. Not only do they create a waste problem that needs to be solved with a more sustainable retrofit, but they speed a process that's already very fast, creating a false economy of time saving that I find not worth it.  Is it nice to get a fresh cup of coffee in about three minutes? Of course. However, I can have an entire percolator full of fresh coffee in the time that it takes me to get ready for work, meaning there's enough there for a large thermos or a couple of cups in my office.

The idea that we need to save time at every possible juncture is problematic.  Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how hard we push ourselves to rush through things, and we are missing out on experiences that we might enjoy if they were savored. That marginal-quality cup of coffee delivered to you in three minutes is nothing compared to the aroma of coffee percolating on the stove and the taste of coffee made a more traditional way. It's a simple thing, but it is important.

This is not to say that I've never seen a place where a Keurig is a benefit. For one thing, hotel rooms that offer in-room coffee trade the ease of use and self-contained nature of the machine for the pitfalls of trying to put other kinds of coffee makers out for their guests.  There, it might make sense.

However, at home? I'm asking you to turn away from the Keurig, get some really high quality coffee beans and a percolator or French press, and treat yourself to a good cup of coffee to start your day. No Keurig advertising or lack thereof will change my mind.
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