The Carbon Footprint of Coffee

From bean to cup, coffee has a very long journey to make it to that warm deliciousness in your hands.

Something some of us wouldn’t consider until we begin to understand the various stages of the process:

A seed is planted on a farm and looked carefully after until the day it has grown into a tree full of ripe cherries ready for picking.
A team of skilled pickers during the harvest every year select each coffee cherry when it is ready and take it to the processing mill.

The cherries are either left to dry with the seeds still inside them then milled (naturally processed coffee), or put through a mill first to take some or all of the fruit away (honey or washed, respectively) and then put out to dry. When the coffee gets to around 11% water content it may be hand sorted again by a team of people to ensure no bad beans are left with the lot and put into jute sacks of between 60 to 70 kilograms.

When a buyer has been found, the coffee will be put on a truck and taken to the port. Depending on where in the world the farm and the port are, this could be a fair distance. Into a container and onto a boat, the lot will travel to a country possibly the other side of the planet. Where it will continue its final destination as a green bean to a coffee roaster.

Using a powerful heat source and good airflow the seed will be roasted to a little over 200 degrees centigrade in just a few minutes, caramelizing the sugars and turning it into something more recognisable. At this stage the coffee can lose around 20% of its mass as the rest of the water leaves.

Before it makes it into your favourite mug, the roasted coffee will have travelled one last time, the kettle will have been boiled and the beans ground.


My! What a journey, through so many hands and places, processes and stages the coffee has to go through to become that final sweet cup.

When this is all considered, it has been said that the average carbon footprint equates to 11 times that of the weight of the coffee beans themselves.

For instance, if 1 kilogram of roasted coffee is brewed into black coffee, there have been 11 kilograms of carbon created.

There is a lot of coffee drunk everyday around this planet, and what pleasure it can give!

Lost Horizon Coffee have chosen to offset the carbon footprint from their coffee twice over by planting trees around the planet, so we can enjoy our favourite cup in celebration of this glorious green-blue ball we all live on!