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7 Most Eco-Friendly Coffee Brewing Methods (With Pictures)

a variety of coffee maker on the counter

With the need to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet being more important than ever, it makes sense that we are always searching for ways to be more eco-friendly. Whether it’s using less energy, recycling more, or even avoiding plastics, we each must do our part. Where do coffee lovers step in and help the environment? We do it by incorporating eco-friendly coffee brewing methods into our daily lives.

While our automatic drip may not be the worst coffee brewing method when it comes to the environment, there are others out there more sustainable. If you are ready to do away with the K-cups and the effect that they and other brewing methods have on the environment, these 7 eco-friendly coffee brewing methods can reduce waste around your home and allow you to do more to help the environment we all share.

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The 7 Most Eco-Friendly Coffee Brewing Methods

1. French Press

coffee preparation using french press
Image Credit: Microgen, Shutterstock

People who love a French Press know it’s strong and full of flavor. Luckily, for those concerned about being eco-friendly, this brewing method is a great way to start. When making French Press coffee you only need a few items: your press, a grinder, and a bit of hot water. For those who grind their beans manually, the only real issue with this method is using the stove to boil the water. While this may consume a bit of electricity, the lack of waste thanks to not needing a filter helps to cancel it out. In only a few minutes, you’ll be drinking a delicious cup of coffee that far exceeds what you could make with a single cup or automatic drip maker.

  • Little to no waste is involved
  • Makes a flavorful cup of coffee
  • Beans can be bought pre-ground
  • Water must be heated to a boil on the stove

2. Cold Brew

cold brew coffee preparation
Image Credit: ClaroCafe, Pixabay

While cold brew may not be for everyone, those who love cool, refreshing coffee can take part in this method and be more eco-friendly. When making a cold brew, coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for 12-14 hours which helps to bring out the coffee flavors as well. Yes, this method must be started the next day, but you’ll find yourself happy with the lack of resources it requires. You can even buy cold brew makers to make your life easier.

  • Requires few resources
  • It is brewed the night before so no morning wait
  • Brings out coffee flavors
  • The finished product must be filtered (a reusable filter can be used)

3. AeroPress

person pouring coffee in aeropress
Image Credit: Amelia Hallsworth, Pexels

For fans of strong coffee, the AeroPress is for you. Similar to the Keurig, this method of brewing coffee offers one cup at a time. Unlike those other single-cup versions, however, the AeroPress is far less wasteful due to it not requiring K-cups. With this brewing method, all you need is boiling water, the coffee grounds of your choice, and a cup. In no time, you’ll be enjoying a great cup of coffee and feeling great about your effect on the environment.

  • Brews quickly
  • Can brew several types of coffee
  • It is small and portable
  • Only brews 1 – 2 cups at a time

4. Pour Over

pour over coffee
Image Credit: subarasikiai, Pixabay

The pour-over is a great method of brewing coffee to stay eco-friendly. By using a dripper, filter, and a kettle you can be on your way to great coffee with little waste. Yes, we mentioned a filter, but don’t worry. When making a pour-over, paper filters aren’t a necessity. You can purchase a reusable filter and avoid the unwanted waste of disposable filters.

  • You control the brewing of your coffee
  • Several brewing methods
  • Precision is required to make a good cup of coffee

5. Stovetop Espresso Makers

stovetop coffee maker
Image Credit: Eric BARBEAU, Unsplash

Stovetop espresso makers have been around for quite a while. One of the first, and most popular, methods of making coffee was using the percolator. No filters were required, and your coffee was made on the stove in a short amount of time. Nowadays, there are other popular stovetop brewing methods including the return of the percolator and the Moka pot.

  • Less waste
  • Most methods make more than one cup of coffee at a time
  • Coffee flavor is hit or miss

6. Chemex

chemex coffee maker
Image Credit: Zarak Khan, Unsplash

The Chemex is a beauty to have on your kitchen counter. Not only is it great to look at, but it makes great coffee and is mostly an eco-friendly coffee maker. The smooth coffee you’ll enjoy is less bitter. While it may lack a bit of body, you’ll enjoy the fact that you’re not being wasteful each morning when enjoying your coffee.

  • Less bitter coffee
  • Looks great on display
  • Can be difficult to master

7. Automatic Drip

automatic drip coffee maker with glass pot
Image Credit: Rococo2018, Shutterstock

No one can talk about brewing methods without mentioning the automatic drip. This brewing method has brought simplicity to everyone’s life. While it may not make the best coffee in the world, it is far less damaging to the environment than the use of K-cups. You can make things even better by using recycled filters or by purchasing a reusable one.

  • Saves time
  • Makes an entire pot of coffee
  • Can use eco-friendly filters
  • Coffee is basic and less flavorful than other methods

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Choosing a Better Filter

As you may have noticed, several of the brewing methods mentioned above require filters when used. For those who truly want to be eco-friendly and do their part, you can avoid tossing used filters into the garbage can each time you want a good cup of coffee by choosing to buy a reusable filter.

The most popular reusable filter is steel. This type of filter can be cleaned after each use and can be quite durable if you choose a trusted brand. You may also find hemp and cotton filters available that will work with the brewing method you choose to use for your coffee each morning.

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Brewing coffee and being eco-friendly can easily go hand in hand. While you may love the simplicity of popping a plastic K-cup into your Keurig to get your day going, those easy pods can do damage to the planet we all share. Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself purchasing a pack of them for your machine. Choosing one of these 7 eco-friendly brewing methods, including an eco-friendly coffee machine, can help you and your household do your part for the world around you.

Featured Image Credit: Rene Porter, Unsplash


Melissa Gunter

Melissa has been a fan of coffee since the first sip she stole from her Granny's cup when she was just a girl. Now, she spends each morning writing with a hot cup of coffee at her side. With a love of sweet and creamy bliss, Melissa and her daughter, Amber, stop by and try out every local coffee shop they see. Neither are afraid to try something new and have a long list of favorite coffee beverages they simply can't do without. When she's not freelance writing about her 2 passions, coffee, and pets, Melissa spends her time with her husband, 2 kids, and 5 fur babies. She also loves diving into the fiction world under her pen name, Rena Marin. If she isn't at the laptop or with the family, Melissa is out enjoying the mountains of East Tennessee she calls home.

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