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Q. Dear Umbra,

 My grandparents just gave me a Keurig single-cup coffee machine for my birthday. I would have said no thanks had they asked, but I have to admit that it’s pretty handy. So which is more wasteful: Throwing away the non-recyclable pods, or dumping out leftover coffee from an old pot gone cold? With a Keurig, there’s never any risk of making a pot too large and throwing some out. Since coffee beans are an extremely water-intensive crop to grow, pouring out those two cups is a much bigger waste than it may seem.

Nathan E.
Washington, D.C.

Photo by Patrick Gensel.

A. Dearest Nathan,

This is what our friends on Twitter call, I believe, a #firstworldproblem. You Keurig users worry a lot, and you’ve made this question something of a spring ritual hereabouts. Given the recent surge in sales of Keurigs and their ilk, however, I’ve decided to dive into the brew-haha once more.