We get our RC Journal a day or three late depending on whims of Post Office. This morning I read an article in their paper about the ecology of coffee making. It did not seem to make much sense to me. You can read it online here:
The authors discuss the energy savings of using cold coffee presses, etc to save energy. The problem with their article is that probably buying the new systems wastes more energy than continuing to use your old electric coffee makers.
The costs of coffee making are nearly insignificant in terms of money and electricity. My electric coffee maker (a Hamilton Beach BrewStation) makes 12 cups of coffee in less than 10 minutes. It works like a coffee urn keeping coffee hot for up to 4 hours. I usually turn it off as soon as coffee is cooked and pour the coffee into an insulated carafe. That will keep coffee hot for about a day. After that I pour out a mug and heat it in the microwave. Maybe not a process for coffee snobs, but it provides me with my daily doses of caffeine and is good enough for me to drink and appreciate.
Anyway, I figured that at about 1000 watts, the coffee maker uses 1/10 Kwhr to make 12 cups. Depending on your electric rate, that might be anywhere from 1 cent to 3 cents of electricity. Then for the remaining 8 cups or so of cold coffee, the microwave takes about 1min 30 seconds to heat a cup and a half. It is a 900 watt microwave, so that is about 1/50 of a Kwhr. So electric cost for all cups is about 1/10 Kwhr..or 1 cent to 3 cents depending on your electric rate.
The recommendations in the article include systems not using filter paper. I have one of those that makes 1 or 2 cups at a time. The problem with that system is that cleaning the metal mesh filter is a pain and a mess and wastes water. I tried one of those gold mesh filters for the HB BrewStation. The filter did not work as well as a paper filter and was also a pain to rinse and clean.
I have started dumping used coffee filter and coffee grounds into the small plastic bags we get at stores when we buy anything. Twist the top and tie in a knot. The grounds won't stink in your garbage and there is little mess.
I guess the main point of this, if there really is one, is that the suggestions in the article to use more eco-friendly coffee systems don't make much sense unless you your coffee maker is dying and you need to consider some other system...and even then, it appears to me that saving perhaps 50 cents to a dollar worth of electricity per year is insignificant. Relative costs per cup, energy costs to make and use other systems, etc are not discussed in the article and they are actually relevant.
* * Stay tuned and avoid caffeine withdrawal in the morning with some cheap Folgers coffee and whatever coffee cooker you are using now----- Doug Wiken