Art by Peau Porotesano
Coffee is a staple for the common college workaholic, and some of us need it every day. All we have to do is go to the Caf and pour ourselves a cup with a ton of cream — to drown the burnt taste. But there is a more convenient way: the Keurig coffeemaker.
The Keurig K-Cup Coffee system first appeared in stores in 2004, and in two years was acquired by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Since purchasing Keurig, Green Mountain has changed the coffee scene. According to a 2014 poll by the National Coffee Association, one in five adults used a single-cup coffee brewer – in 2011, it was 1 in 14.
This shows a trend toward convenience in coffee consumption, which is not altogether bad, but we often see negative side effects to “convenient” choices.
Fast food is convenient, but it’s definitely not good for us. Plastic is convenient, but it poisons our environment. The Internet is convenient, but with information at our fingertips, how well do we know anything?
The popular coffee maker can brew an individualized cup of coffee without the hassle of coffee grounds or filters. Just pop in a coffee cartridge, and it’s done in a hot minute. Needless to say, this is efficient and convenient, but it comes with a cost.
Each cup of coffee you make with a Keurig is made with a K-cup. This K-cup is made of plastic, no. 7 to be specific, and is rated BPA free. Yet, it’s not recyclable. That means millions of cartridges are ending up in landfills, rivers and oceans.
In 2013, Keurig produced 8.3 billion K-cups, which could wrap around the equator 10.5 times, according to the article, “Your Coffee Pod’s Dirty Little Secret” by Maddie Oatman for Mother Jones. We are willingly adding to garbage production daily just for the convenience of a single cup.
Besides being environmentally hostile, the Keurig machine costs more long-term when compared to using drip machines or a French press.
I pay $13 for a pound of coffee, which is 566 grams or 32 cups of coffee. A Keurig K-pack from the Keurig website costs $17.99 for 24 cups. According to an article by Oliver Strand, “With Coffee, the Price of Individualism Can Be High” for The New York Times, K-cups only hold eight grams of coffee or 75 cents worth. I only pay 18 cents per eight grams for my pound of coffee.
Even when I’m in a rush I know I can make coffee and be on time for the shuttle. I believe the patience required in waiting a few moments for coffee is worth more than the convenience of a Keurig. The world seems to be getting faster anyway; there’s no need to add wood to the fire.
The Keurig is a stab at quality coffee everywhere and seeks to make profits purely off of convenience. It’s easy to think it doesn’t cost more, but consider the cost of convenience to ourselves and to our environment.
Follow Zach on Twitter @zachryrowsh