How to save energy, look after the planet and cut costs when using espresso and pod machines

How to save energy, look after the planet and cut costs when using espresso and pod machines

Posted on 11-10-2022
By Will

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As a coffee company, we’re going to whisper this – but espresso machines can use quite a lot of energy. 

There are a lot of factors to consider with the machine, like idle time, how many shots you’re brewing and its wattage, but it’s fair to say that it’s almost inevitable that you can use less energy.

And right now, as energy costs continue to sit at towering heights, it’s well worth tightening up where you can.  

Here are our top tips on reducing the energy consumption of your espresso and pod machines, generally making them more efficient and being a bit more eco-friendly when enjoying great coffee. 

Saving energy

#1 Turn it off overnight

OK, this sounds obvious. But who isn’t guilty of leaving the machine on once you’ve locked the door? Certainly not us…

The average espresso machine uses around ​​120 watts per hour when sitting on standby. That might not seem like a lot, but turning it off every night could save you the equivalent of a couple of bags of beans at the end of the month – we’d say that’s worth a daily flick of the switch!

#2 Keep it clean

Even the most novice of baristas knows to keep the steam wand clean after every use. But it’s the inside of the machine that can be slowing you down.

Mineral residue from water can build up, reducing your machine’s heating efficiency. What’s more, repeated heating and cooling of the machine can cause more residue build-up – it’s effectively a two-pronged attack on the heating mechanism, which is the most energy-costly part of the machine. 

We recommend regular cleaning to make sure your machine heats up as quickly as possible, and where possible, avoid tap water.

#3 Steam larger quantities of milk

We appreciate that this might raise a few eyebrows. But if you can, steam milk for multiple beverages, especially when you’re busy.

Every time your wand purges, it does so with hot water – which is usually heated with exactly the same energy-heavy heating mechanism as your espresso shot. 

So every time you purge after use, you’re using just as much energy as an espresso – so steaming enough milk for a few drinks, and therefore reducing your purges, can make a serious difference at the end of the working day. 

Saving the planet

#1 Put your grounds to good use

The UK drinks almost 100 million cups of coffee every day. That means thousands and thousands of tons of used grounds left in landfill every year – which emit harmful greenhouse gases.

If you’re looking to recycle your grounds, there’s lots you can do, like creating a face mask. There’s also bio-bean, who work with companies in the UK to recycle these spent grounds into something that’s valuable elsewhere to contribute to a circular economy. 

#2 Choose responsible coffee

It’s predicted that the world’s coffee producing-area will have decreased by 50% in 2050. 

Climate change is much more than a problem. As well as threatening the coffee industry, it’s a direct risk to the future of the planet as we know it.

That’s why we encourage conservation and reforestation at every opportunity with the farmers we work with. For example, Zaroca, where Gilberto Basilio has replenished land which was formerly stripped for sugar cane, and Planalto, where 350 acres of native forest are preserved for wildlife.

#3 Recycle your pods

Compostable coffee pods can seem like the more eco-friendly option. But those we can find that preserve freshness rely on council- run composting facilities and the coffee drinker having an industrial compost bin.

If you put them in a landfill site, they won’t compost. Aluminium, on the other hand, is the most cost-effective material to recycle. It can be melted down and used again – and again. In fact, around 75% of aluminium ever made is still in circulation.

That’s why Pact Pods are made from 100% aluminium. The outer packaging can go straight into your home recycling, and the pods can be recycled using the Podback scheme at participating supermarkets.

To read more on how we work sustainably, have a look at our transparency report.