Insights

Coffee’s Water Footprint Needs To Be Revised

by | Apr 1, 2016

Key Insight

Conceptual and methodological flaws of the 2003 study on coffee’s water footprint distort our understanding of coffee’s impact on water resources and may mislead management and policy decisions within the coffee industry.

This 2003 study on coffee’s water footprint reported that it requires 140 liters of water to produce one cup of coffee. This metric is quoted so frequently (including by this blog) that it’s almost assumed to be a fact.

However, the study needs a critical review because it is based on some critical conceptual and methodological flaws. These flaws distort our understanding of coffee’s impact on water resources, and may mislead management and policy decisions within the coffee industry.