David Sereda

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

One More Cup of Coffee - One More Tree

What Does a Cup of Coffee do to the Rainforest?

Coffee is the second most valuable legally traded commodity on Earth (after oil) with global retail sales of coffee estimated to be $70 billion. When Star Buck Rogers landed his spaceship on Earth and wanted a Caffeine “high,” he started a modern trend that is quickly devouring the oxygen lungs of the earth: the rainforest. Trees are necessary for the production of our global Oxygen supply, which transforms into Ozone (Earth’s protective atmosphere). Oxygen is necessary for all biological life forms to survive. Trees also absorb CO2s (Greenhouse Gases) as they grow.

But Coffeeeeee addicts get their fix every day by making it at home, and buying at Starbucks, Coffee bean, Peets, and wherever they can get it.

Per capita, the average Canadian drinks 402 cups of coffee per year, 77 more than in the U.S. (325 per person) and 152 more than in Europe. Canadians spend $600 million a year on coffee for at-home consumption. Canadians spend between $2.2 and $2.5 billion a year on brewed coffee. Americans drink approximately 1.25 billion cups of coffee per year. Yeoouww!

When we drink coffee, per cup, we are responsible for clearing a patch of rainforest about the size of a coffee mug. That's the amount of forest, in Latin America at least, that is cleared for firewood to dry the beans required for a cup of coffee. And if you drink a cup every morning, 365 days per year, that adds up to a lot of forest. Each year in Latin America, about 65 square kilometers (16,000 acres) are cut to fuel coffee drying, according to the Mesoamerican Development Institute.

Currently, over 50% of the world’s coffee comes from Central South America. The beans are dried using wood-fired or diesel-powered dryers. The wood-fired dryers contribute significantly to deforestation. The Energy Department of the Honduran Ministry of Planning estimated that in Honduras alone 44,900 metric tons of wood are burned annually to dry coffee. This is equivalent to clear-cutting 763 hectares of forest annually, and accounts for about 16% of the industrial consumption of wood in the entire country. Forests are being devoured by the coffee cup.

Other methods for drying coffee are electric powered dryers. But the energy required to dry coffee beans is staggering.

According to the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFE) and our own regional surveys by the Institute, conventional mechanical dryers consume 10.5-kilowatt hours of electricity for every one hundred pounds of coffee dried. In addition, 0.12 cubic meters of firewood, or firewood equivalent, is consumed for every one hundred pounds of coffee dried.

Can we still drink coffee and not cut down a tree at the same time? New farmers are being introduced to Solar Coffee Dryers. They save energy, forests, and also reduce pollution from energy derivatives. Find out more at: http://www.mesoamerican.org/solutions_coffee_drying.htm


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At 5:04 PM, Blogger edson said...

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At 7:50 PM, Blogger Eandre1 Edson1 said...


At 7:55 PM, Blogger Eandre1 Edson1 said...



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