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Granny Trude
Trude invites us round for coffee

Granny Trude drinks coffee
Granny Trude drinks coffee | Illustration: © Celine Buldun

Coffee – after mineral oil it’s the world’s most important raw material export and Granny Trude’s favourite pick-me-up. Today she’s got some tips to help you contribute towards “zero waste” – with coffee filters to sew yourself, or how to enjoy a healthy winter with ginger as an alternative to caffeine.

By Granny Trude

I don’t know about you, but in my world there’s no such thing as a day without coffee. Cosying up for a cuppa with breakfast – or two – there’s nothing better! Or maybe there is: enjoying a decent coffee with my children or grandkids, of course that’s even nicer.


I must confess, I almost gave up my beloved coffee when I read on the internet about the poor coffee growers’ working conditions. But you know what it’s like, once you start researching something on the internet, you jump from one interesting page to the next. And that’s how I quickly ended up at a page that gave me lots of information about fairly traded coffee. You’re probably more familiar with the concept of “Fairtrade” than I am. But try doing a Google search for it, you’re sure to find plenty of information that’s new to you. For instance I didn’t know that there were so many different quality marks for fair products. But after a quick search I found the label that reflects my principles best. I feel fantastic knowing that I’m improving the conditions in which coffee farmers and their families live and work – and I’m helping to protect the environment as well.

A healthy alternative pick-me-up

So since then I’ve been buying Fairtrade coffee, which is a little more expensive admittedly – especially if it’s billed as “organic” as well – but I’ve found a solution that works very well for me. I continue to drink my precious coffee first thing in the morning. And for that afternoon cuppa I’ve had a different idea, which is just as effective for boosting my cardiovascular system and metabolism. I either make myself a mug of mate tea, or – and now I’m coming back to that healthy root from the ginger ale article – I make myself a drink that revitalises me. Especially in the chilly season, when everyone’s coughing and sneezing, I think my ginger drink’s the best secret recipe of all. I whizz a bag of ginger roots through the juicer I’ve had nearly thirty years, add plenty of lemon juice and then freeze in ice cube trays. That means I don’t have to clean the juicer every day and I’ve got an ice cube for each day – so I just have to add hot water and a squeeze of agave syrup or a spoonful of honey. Give it a try, you’ll feel fit to take on the world!

Home-made coffee filters

But when my friend Inge comes to visit, I still make us a lovely pot of coffee, just like in the old days, I still use exactly the same method. I take a porcelain coffee filter holder in which I place a coffee filter that I’ve sewn myself out of fabric. I hit on that idea recently in a health food shop, where you can even buy reusable filters. Have a go if you’ve got a sewing machine, it’s really easy. Ideally you need a thin, densely woven fabric made of natural fibres, for instance an old shirt. The material shouldn’t be too coarse, or thick and impermeable. Search the internet for: “Make your own reusable coffee filter”.
It really is funny how people keep coming back to things from days gone by, isn’t it? Before Melitta Bentz 1908 invented the first reusable coffee filter in Dresden in 1908, they used fabric to filter coffee in those days too.

Coffee grounds as a fertiliser

It never takes long to go off on a tangent though.  You see, the coffee grounds can be used as a fertiliser both in the garden and for your house plants – maybe you remember my article about spider plants, rubber plants and monstera? About four times a year in the garden, they say, and twice a year does the trick for house plants. But it needs to be bone dry or there’ll be mould. At least that’s what my work colleague at the doctor’s surgery used to say. She’s got such green fingers and has done lots of things with coffee grounds. Incidentally if you put coffee grounds on the compost heap it attracts earthworms, who in turn speed up the composting process. Isn’t that fascinating?!
Well my dears, I’m just going to sit at my sewing machine and sew coffee filters for my coffee-drinking family members – a creative gift idea, don’t you think?
See you next time!
Yours, Trude