Europe’s Crusade Against Coffee Makers

Bureaucrats are a busy crowd. They always find different things to work on to justify their salaries. Earlier this year, for example, a 62-page report was published in the European Union, written by government paid “researchers,” on the environmental effects of “non-tertiary coffee makers.” Non-tertiary, that is, non-commercial. The coffee makers people have in their homes, you see. There are millions of them, and they destroy the environment, so a report is necessary, and then practical steps to save nature from the coffee makers.

The report deserves every Euro spent on it. It has some highly sophisticated definitions in it that only well-paid government bureaucrats can produce. Judge for yourself, from the chapter “Definitions”:

Brewing technology is the way hot water passes through the ground coffee and acquires its flavour and colour. Water can be put in contact with ground coffee in different ways:

  • Hot water can be percolated onto the ground coffee, and gravity makes the water pass through the coffee into the container below: this is the case for filter machines, also called drip coffee makers;
  • Hot water or steam can be injected under pressure onto the ground coffee, and both pressure and gravity drive the beverage into the cup below: this is the case for example for drip filter and pad filter coffee machines (at low/middle pressure: approximately 3 bars) and espresso machines (at higher pressure: around 15 bars);
  • Steam can be injected into the ground coffee from below, and gravity makes the beverage fall down into the receptacle: this is the case for percolators, vacuum brewers and moka pots (typically, it is very hot water injected by steam);
  • Various combinations of these technologies also exist.

Impressed, aren’t you? You, as a non-professional, could spend your entire life wondering what exactly is a brewing technology for coffee. But high-level European bureaucrats paid in the ballpark of 80-100,000 Euro a year are well able to come up with those sophisticated definitions. And don’t go to the definitions for “drinking containers”; the document there reaches the levels of rocket science. Tax Euros at work.

Now, this important report is not enough. There are more than 30 other reports, all sponsored by the European Commission, all on the environmental effects of coffee makers. All written by bureaucrats in Brussels, sometimes involving universities, research laboratories, local municipalities, offices of large companies, schools, etc. Coffee makers are under scrutiny.

But it’s not the simple academic interest that is driving the bureaucrats. The reports are only a tool for real action and applied policies. Yesterday the French Le Monde reported that the European Commission is finally moving on the issue of the dangerous environmental impact of private coffee makers. The number of pesky coffee machines has grown to millions in the European Union, and they were found guilty of wasting 17 terawatt-hours of energy each year, which is 2.5 billion Euros. At the 2008 level of production of energy in the European Union (842.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent) this is approximately 0.173 percent of the energy produced – less than two-thousandths. If we take in account the total energy consumed – which is more that what is produced, the coffee makers easily account for about one-thousandth of the consumed energy. Nasty little energy suckers, these coffee makers. Well worth the money spent on bureaucrats and regulations to get rid of them. So, after Europe successfully freed itself from the burden of incandescent lightbulbs about a year ago, it will now successfully free its people from the yoke of coffee makers.

In preparation for the next step of protection of its citizenry, the European Commission is now financing about two dozen reports on the multiple devastating effects of electric razors. The progress of the European civilization to its primitive roots can’t be stopped.