A Guide for Coffee Shops 

With so many people enjoying multiple cups of coffee every day of their lives and cafes and coffee shops booming, more and more people are finding ways to make each cup of joe cleaner, greener and more sustainable.

Help the world or lose it!

Here are our top ideas for how to make coffee shops and cafes more sustainable

Sustainable beans

Source Sustainable Coffee Beans

Every good coffee shop starts with good coffee.  Every good cup of coffee starts with lovingly grown, beautifully roasted coffee beans. From a sustainability point of view, a good place to seek out coffee sourced from environmentally conscious growers is to look for those with green credentials.  Coffee that is certified as Organic, FairtradeUTZ or Rainforest Alliance will need to meet strict standards for environmental and social practices. Depending on where you are starting from, re-examining your coffee supply could help you reach sustainable goals.  OUR VIEW IS THAT WE SHOULD ONLY SOURCE TRACEABLE AND SUSTAINABLE COFFEE SUPPLIES!

better black 2

Better Black

85% of coffees served in the UK are made with milk.  Serving better tasting higher grades of specialty coffee from machines that deliver perfect extraction makes black coffee taste SO MUCH BETTER!  So why not tempt more and more people to try and enjoy your coffee without milk.  This reduces dairy consumption and therefore reduces environmental impact from dairy products.  It also reduces plastic waste from bottles as well as being far more healthy for all of us!  TARGET: 50% of coffees enjoyed as espresso or americano!

go dairy free

Or Go Dairy Free

Coffee made with soy, almond or oat milk are becoming increasingly popular with customers on plant-based diets and with those trying to be more environmentally conscious with each variation bring different qualities and flavours to the cup. Studies show that the difference in environmental impact between dairy milk and plant milk can be significant. When emissions, land use and water use are compared, plant milk can be more than three times more efficient. Having collaborated with some leading dairy-free milk brands such as Oatly and Almond Breeze we can really vouch for the fact it is now easier than ever to get that milky latte you crave- just without the cow stuff!  LIVE DAIRY FREE!


SAY NO to Single-Use Plastic

The amount of single-use plastic wasted every day is staggering!  Yet, there are so many options available for coffee shops who want to cut out or reduce single-use plastic.  Replacing your plastic with  paper straws, wooden stirrers or compostable cups and lids can help to bring down the carbon footprint of a coffee shop without compromising on convenience.  When selecting your suppliers, seek to partner with forward-thinking businesses that have sustainability at the forefront of their agenda. A great example is FrugalPac, the only paper cup that can be recycled as part of the mainstream waste process... check them out! By opting for more ethical businesses partners, you are doing your bit to help rid the world of single-use plastic.

keep cup 2

Promote Reusable Cups

When a 2018 report showed that coffee drinkers were disposing of 2.5 million coffee cups a year, stunned café owners around the country took note.  Since then, many UK cafés have used a range of techniques to encourage consumers to reuse coffee cups.  You will note that the best cafés now sell reusable sustainable coffee cups, some offer discounts for customers that bring their own or have simply said stop giving out disposable cups.

reusable crate

Use Upcycled Décor

Coffee shop décor is known for being eclectic and upcycling is a great way to add personality to your café whilst reducing waste. Whether it’s sourcing vintage chairs and furniture, reusing tins as plant pots or creating cushions from coffee sacks, creativity is key. For example, each of our Sanremo Café Racer espresso machines is delivered in a reusable wooden crate.  Rather than send these to landfill, we’ve seen café owners repurpose these into tables, planter boxes and more.  BUY A CAFÉ RACER AND UPCYCLE THE BOX!

Seem coffee machines

Invest in a Low Energy Espresso Machine

A professional espresso machine is at the heart of any coffee shop, working hard from sunup to sundown. Investing in an espresso machine with energy saving features like low energy output, boiler insulation and group head flushing can make a big difference. In fact, by not doing this you could be using 50% more energy than you need to! As well as reducing the carbon footprint of a café, Sanremo energy efficient professional espresso machines can also cost less to run.  Check out our Sanremo Energy Efficient Machine (SEEM) range to see how we give you the option to ‘TAP INTO THE SEEM’ - slash energy use, costs and lower your carbon emissions. Good for the planet, good for coffee and good for business!

coffee grounds garden

Re-use Coffee Grounds for Gardens

Green fingered customers will tell you that there are lots of benefits in using coffee grounds in the garden. All that coffee that you tamp out during the day will make great garden fertiliser and can even be used for natural pest control. So cafés can reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill, build customer rapport and help make the world a little bit greener (literally), simply give YOUR coffee grounds away for free.

loose leaf tea

Serve Plastic Free Tea

While coffee is a clear favourite, tea has arguably been the UKs most popular drink for generations. In fact, Brits drink more than 150 million cups of tea every day but almost 96% of teabags are made with polypropylene. This plastic resin is not biodegradable or recyclable meaning that the environmental effects of a single cup of tea can last long after pot is empty.

Cafés have an opportunity to reduce this plastic waste by serving loose leave tea or choosing plastic-free teabags made from biodegradable materials like cornstarch.

plastic free sugar

Waste Free Sugar

Is it one lump or two? Or even three? As well as taking into account where your sugar comes from – whether it’s organic or fair trade – many café owners are reducing their waste: remove sugar sachets and return to bowls, lumps or glass dispensers.

water jugs cafe

Offer Tap Water To Customers

This one is super simple and great for customer relationships.  Simply fill a jug with tap water and provide reusable glasses for your customers.  While you might worry that you could lose profit by doing this, you can lift your coffee prices a little alongside and give your customers a friendlier coffee offer.  By doing so you will do your part for the planet and REDUCE THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE BUYING PLASTIC BOTTLES.

Let people know there is free drinking water available at your Café by joining over 20,000 businesses in becoming a free refill station on the Refill app. This friendly gesture gets people through your door…they might be tempted to stay!

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One Change is better than none!

Remember that making these sustainable coffee shop ideas a reality will take time. So, make sure that you think about what will make an impact for you and your customers. At Sanremo, we are constantly working to improve our environmental impact and are pleased to support café owners who are looking to do the same.

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