- Case Studies
Industry: coffee roastery and cafe
Project Type: sustainability best practices development
Location: Portland, OR
Maya Vigil interned at Nossa Familia Coffee and collaborated with the Oregon Coffee Board to conduct a life cycle assessment of coffee production and consumption and to develop a sustainability best practices guide for coffee cafes.
Nossa Familia Coffee is a Portland-based coffee roastery that imports coffee from Brazil, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru and Kenya. Nossa’s mission is to deliver delicious farm-direct coffee and create positive local and global relationships. B Corp certified businesses meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. As the first B Corp certified coffee company in Oregon, Nossa Familia Coffee strives to produce coffee in a way that has a positive impact - from their farms abroad to Oregon cafes.
Currently, an estimated 50 million disposable coffee cups are thrown away in the Portland Metro area each year. Striving to become a carbon neutral and zero-waste cafe, Nossa rolled out a plan to surcharge 25 cents to customers who wanted disposable to-go cups to decrease their cafes' contribution to this waste stream.
In collaboration with the Oregon Coffee Board, Vigil worked with Nossa Familia Coffee to develop a cafe best practices guide to decrease CO2 emissions and prevent waste throughout the coffee production and consumption life cycle.
The intern developed a pollution prevention checklist for coffee cafes and roasting facilities, which included the use of a highly energy efficient equipment (e.g., Loring Roaster, automatic power for shutting down espresso machine), using LED lights, installing low flow faucet aerators, and encouraging customers to use reusable service ware. In line with Nossa's surcharge on disposable to-go cups, Vigil recommended providing a cup library for customers, where customers could use and then return reusable to-go cups. Using metrics from a coffee environmental footprint report conducted by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the intern suggested promoting plant-based milk alternatives to cows' milk, as these alternatives have a lower carbon footprint.
Although there are initial costs to equipment upgrades, the pollution prevention recommendations, if implemented, could provide substantial annual company economic and environmental savings. Vigil recommended installing a Loring Roaster (at cafes not already using it), thermoheat forced air heaters, automatic power shutdown on espresso machines, and LED light bulbs. She also worked to increase awareness among coffee consumers by creating outreach materials for Nossa events, and developed relationships among Oregon Coffee Board members who are striving towards more sustainable business practices.
in company costs
(automatic power shutdown on espresso machines)
global warming potential
(LED light replacement)
annual energy savings in therms
(Loring roaster installation)