How Coffee Affects the Environment

Coffee is among the most consumed commodity in the world. Many individuals lack enough knowledge of the impacts of coffee on the environment.

Do you need to choose a specific brand of coffee over another? How much difference will different brands of coffee affect the environment?

Research shows that coffee is the second most tradable commodity. This indicates how coffee makes a considerable amount of money in the economy. It's not easy to know where a particular brand of coffee is grown due to a complex supply chain.

Therefore, it will not be simple to determine the environmental and workers' impacts regarding the production process of coffee.

Monopoly firms produce major coffee chains like Starbucks, Pret A Manger, and Costa. Therefore, it won't be easy to determine how coffee workers are treated. This article will entail concrete information about how coffee affects the environment.

Coffee is a popular beverage that most individuals take for various reasons. Coffee comes in multiple sizes and shapes. Some coffee brands are organic, non-GMO, or carbon-negative, while others aren't environmentally friendly.

Coffee fluctuates in prices every year. Not only does coffee drinkers depend on coffee production but also individuals for employment. The ever-changing climate in the world not only affects the demand for coffee growing but also demand job opportunities in the coffee industry.

Recently, coffee farmers from various parts of the globe have reported negative impacts of increased pests and changing weather patterns. Studies show that climate change doesn't play a vital role in affecting both the integrity and quality of the coffee.

Coffee is the leading method of caffeine consumption. Research shows that college students are the major caffeine consumers. College students not only drink coffee for the excellent taste but also for an energy boost.

There are various factors to put into consideration when determining the environmental effects of coffee. Below are vital sections that will help you understand the impact of the coffee industry on the environment.

Coffee Growing

coffee beans and plant

There are two types of coffee: robust and Arabica. Countries around the Equator produce Arabica. Coffee plants do well in a warm climate and at higher elevations in shady. Research shows that the demand for coffee is increasing at a higher rate. Coffee plants prevent deforestation, which is a negative environmental impact.

The key reason behind this is that it requires shade from other tree species, thus reducing deforestation. Coffee production helps in maintaining biodiversity if done in the right way. Coffee is generally cultivated in areas that receive a high rate of rainfall because it requires a lot of rain.

Coffee plants have facilitated the development of a natural pesticide known as caffeine. Caffeine is a chemical compound made to kill bugs. Some coffee farms might need pesticides, especially arabica farms because they have less caffeine content compared to robusta.

The primary chemical pollutant in a coffee plantation is fertilizers but not pesticides. Although, this might not be the case if it's grown in the right and conducive conditions. This will minimize the use of fertilizers.

Research shows that most coffee plants are grown in the absence of fertilizers and pesticides because most farmers are not able to invest in these farm chemicals. As a final verdict, the coffee plant industry isn't so harmful to the environment.

Preparation of Coffee Beans

Coffee seeds are extracted from the cherries. There are three distinct ways of extracting seeds from the cherries. The first method, dry the cherries in the sun, then use a machine or manually remove the seeds.

The second method doesn't require the process of drying the cherries; all you need is to stick a hole in the berry and remove the seeds. The third method involves the use of a high-pressure washer to remove the seeds.

The third method requires a lot of water, making it the least environmentally friendly manner. Due to development in technology, there are emerging ways to extract coffee seeds from the cherries sparingly.

Finally, the beans should be roasted, which requires heating and electricity. The amount of energy needed to roast coffee beans depends on factors such as mode of collection, which can either be grounded or intact.


The largest coffee importer is the United States. There's a high demand for coffee in the country. In the transportation process of coffee, there's emission if carbon IV oxide gas, which isn't environmentally friendly. But, the environmental impact on coffee transportation depends on the distance involved.

Coffee Manufacturing

coffee manufacture

The environmental effects of manufacturing coffee rely on the method used in brewing. The high percentage of coffee mass us waste because the right flavor profile should be met in the brewing process. Recently, there are various studies carried out to improve coffee roasting. The main objective of this research is to increase the coffee industry scale. Coffee leftovers can be used for multiple reasons, such as a natural face scrub or a fertilizer.

Carrying the Coffee

The world uses billions of disposable coffee cups each year. These cups are made as a result of deforestation, energy, and water. These factors do not support biodiversity. Therefore, individuals should consider using a reusable or disposable cup to reduce soil pollution in the coffee supply chain.

Coffee and Climate Change

Coffee production isn't the worst industry when it comes to environmental care, mainly if individuals stick to reusable cups. Climate change has negatively impacted the coffee industry, especially the Arabica.

Rainfall in some coffee-growing areas has decreased significantly. In addition, these areas are associated with high temperatures, which raises the spread of pests and diseases among coffee plants. Suitable and conducive environments for coffee growing are diminishing at a higher rate. This is why the prices of coffee keep on going up.

Human Impacts

High competition in coffee-growing has lead to price undercutting and reduction. Therefore, this will negatively impact coffee growers, particularly when there is bad weather and a drop in supply. Due to the low income from coffee production, most growers will work in poor environmental conditions.

Animal Impacts

In the past, coffee beans were cultivated under a canopy of trees. Recently, due to advancement in technology, there are various modern methods of cultivating coffee. Modern methods are sustainable because they work efficiently, even if there's bad weather.

The canopy, which would be a habitat for various insects, animals, fauna, and flora, has been replaced with coffee cultivation. This cultivation relies on the use of various chemicals such as fertilizers and unsuitable agricultural farming methods.