The best part of waking up?

These disposable individual serving coffee K-Cups accounted for 80% of Green Mountain Coffee's 2009 sales.

This morning, when I got home from the YMCA, I began a daily ritual, putting my Cuisinart automatic grind and brew coffeemaker together.  I take beans, roasted locally and sustainably by New Harvest Coffee Roasters, and place the amount that I want to make in the coffeemaker.  My Cuisinart grinds and brews the exact amount of coffee that I want, from 1-10 cups.  To me, the coffeemaker is efficient, well designed, and elegant; it does exactly what I need it do to.

Last weekend, my mother visited from California, and she was very excited to tell me about her new coffee pods.  Apparently, she could make her coffee one cup at a time, no fuss.  Because I have a generous coffee habit, I assured her that those individual serve cups weren’t necessary for me – I was just fine with my Cuisinart.  However, the conversation got me thinking… just how popular are these things?  Apparently, according to the New York Times, very much so.

In fact, Green Mountain Coffee, whose motto is “Brewing a Better World,” received 80% of

Green Mountain Coffee's K-Cups are non recyclable and non biodegradable.

their $803 Million in sales through nonrecyclable, nonbiodegradable, single-use coffee pods and their brewing systems.  In 2010, they plan to sell almost 3 Billion K-Cups, bound for waste facilities around the country.

According to Lawrence Blanford, CEO of Green Mountain Coffee, the K-Cups reduce wasted coffee, and increase demand for Fair Trade and organic coffee.  However, Darby Hoover of the National Resource Defense Council has the quote of the day:

The whole concept of the product is a little bit counter to environmental progress. If you are trying to create something that is single use, disposable, and relies on a one-way packaging that can’t be recycled, there are inherent problems with that… At some point you have to ask, ‘But do we need this product enough that we need to be trying to find all these different solutions for the components of it, or can we just go back to the old way that we used to make coffee, and was that good enough?’ ”


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