coffee pods

We’re split in our house over coffee. My husband likes a pour-over (so hipster), which means starting with whole beans works for him. But I like a richer coffee than I can make that way - and I’m more impatient.

So it’s been a mission of mine to find a capsule that gives me the coffee I crave, with eco-credentials I can stomach.

There are a few worth checking out. Halo is the only one I’ve found that is home compostable, which makes them my top choice.

Roar Gill are also very good - compostable, but only if you have your food waste collected. They also have a transparent policy on how they pay their coffee farmers (above and beyond Fairtrade prices).

Dualit are the best budget choice, again compostable if done by the pros. But the pods are packaged in a paper/plastic liner, which is a slight bum-note.


bulk beans

I’ve found three ways to get naked beans.

Bulk stores. They usually have beans and ground coffee. Or, if you happen to live near the big Wholefoods in Kensington (I don’t) you’ll find lots of beans that are roasted in-store that you can fill you BYO bags with.

Plastic Free Pantry sell bulk coffee beans online, delivered in compostable/recyclable paper packaging. You can set up a subscription to make sure you never run out.

Lastly, just ask in your local independent coffee place. The lovely baristas at Four Boroughs happily sell me a jam-jar’s worth. I’m pretty sure many other places would do the same.


pre-packed ground coffee & beans

Disclaimer: I rarely buy coffee this way, so I’m no expert.

But I’ve done a bit of digging and the best I’ve found is from Percol. They are the first (only?) coffee brand to carry the new ‘plastic free’ logo, that’s being adopted by environmentally savvy brands across the UK.

Percol operate a truly sustainable and ethical business model. They are a carbon neutral, Fairtrade certified and support the Rainforest Alliance. With the roll-out of plastic-free packaging across their entire range this year, it’s hard to argue with these green credentials.


loose leaf tea

I’m very lucky and have a few places nearby that sell loose tea, loose.

Bring Your Own in Nunhead has the very lovely Good & Proper Tea. The Store Cupboard at Crystal Palace Farmers’ Market has a really good selection of all kinds of weird and wonderful infusions. As does Brixton Wholefoods.

Online, order from The Loose Leaf Tea Company, and specify that you’d like your order sent plastic-free, and they will happily oblige and send your tea in paper (which you must decant into something airtight when it arrives, otherwise it won’t stay nice for long).


tea bagS

Most popular UK brands are only 70-80% biodegradable, due to the use of polypropylene, a thermoplastic that helps the bags retain their shape.

Given our nation’s relationship with a brew, that adds up to a LOT of plastic!

PG Tips and the Co-Op have announced plans to stop using this. And there are brands that have always been plastic free, like Teapigs.

Here’s a good list but It feels like this is a quickly changing situation - in a good way - so it’s worth a quick Google to check for updates, as you may find your favourite brand has made a good-news-move to being plastic free.


hot chocolate

My favourite way of doing this is with Willies Cacao - a solid block of 100% cacao, which is really good in all kinds of recipes. Grate a (big) pile, add it to whatever milk is your thing, with a drop of vanilla essence and a splash of maple syrup. Warm it gently in a pan, whisking all the while. Sometimes I go crazy and add a shot of espresso. It’s delicious.

Hot-choc-chocolate drops can be bought loose in bulk stores, or online from Plastic Free Pantry.

Lastly, you can order (vegan!) mini-marshmallows in paper bags from my absolute guilty pleasure destination, Conscious Candy. It’s dangerous.


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