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March 1, 2009

It takes 140 litres of water to produce the beans for a single cup of coffee


The most striking statistic of the day, for sure.

Above, a graph illustrating the "water footprints" of various beverages as well as other commodities.

The figure appears in the February 28, 2009 issue of The Economist, accompanied by the following text.


Thirsty Work

Water is a precious commodity, as any farmer in drought-besieged parts of China, America or Kenya knows only too well. Consumers may already be aware of the environmental impact of producing goods in terms of energy or pollution, but they might be surprised to learn how much water is needed to create some daily goods. A cup of coffee, for example, needs a great deal more water than that poured into the pot. According to a new book on the subject, 1,120 litres of water go into producing a single litre of the beverage, once growing the beans, packaging and so on are measured. Only 120 litres go into making the same amount of tea. As many as four litres of water are used to make a litre of the bottled stuff. Household items are even thirstier. Thousands of litres are needed to make shoes, hamburgers and microchips.


Source: "The World's Water 2008-2009," by Peter Gleick et al, Island Press; waterfootprint.org.

March 1, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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Interesting numbers, I drink quite a lot of coffee, not that I intend to stop now I know the figures.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 3, 2009 10:27:18 AM

Shouldn't this be listed under "Cup of Joe"?

Posted by: Michael Castello | Mar 1, 2009 12:29:46 PM

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