Save Water, Drink Tea!

Blue PlanetWith all of the attention that global warming has been given lately (for good reason), the carbon footprint of goods and services has come to dominate the conversation of reducing the environmental impact of what we buy, eat and use in our daily lives.  Because of this, we often forget about other environmental criteria worth considering, like global water consumption.  According to the recent publication “The World’s Water, 2008-2009″ (by Peter Gleick, et al,, it turns out that tea has a much smaller “water footprint” than coffee, requiring as little as one-fifth to one-tenth as much water!

This substantial difference is due in large part to the incredible thirst of the coffee tree in producing the cherries that coffee is made from, compared to the relatively water-efficient tea bush.  In fact, among all agricultural products, coffee is responsible for the greatest amount of “virtual” movement of water across the globe (from growing areas to consumption areas) tied up in the form of coffee beans.  So, save water… drink tea!!!

March 18 2009 09:42 pm | Sustainability

2 Responses to “Save Water, Drink Tea!”

  1. Dunrie on 20 Mar 2009 at 8:57 am #

    Amazing! I also wonder a bit about the part of the plant used in the beverages – tea is leaves, coffee is fruit….My plant biology is rusty, but I think that fruit tends to be a bigger investment period.

  2. Chris on 21 Mar 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    May I suggest you use the blog to educate us about organic and fair trade as they apply specifically to tea?

    I’ve often wondered how a product that is grown on the other side of the world, in countries with serious corruption problems, can be certified as both organic and fair trade. How do you KNOW? Do you run tests for the presence of pesticides? You can’t just drive over to the plantation to see for yourself. As a tea lover, I think it would make for interesting reading.

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