# You won't believe it - i need 140 liters for 1 cup of coffee!!

@cornyman (1128)
Germany
December 17, 2008 1:49pm CST
Hello my dear myLotters today i got an e-mail where i read about an interesting topic. It's about the "Virtual Water" which it's used for producing the foods and goods that we daily use. That means when we consume - 1 cup of coffee (with 125 ml) the beans have used already - 140 liters of water until they landed in my cup to give me the tasty coffee! Most of the water is used during the planting time and then after they harvest the beans, but i never knew that it is such an enormous amount. It equals to nearly a full bath tube just for one cup of coffee! Other examples 1x toilet: 8 liters 1x shower: 40 liters 1 cup tea: 35 liters 1 kg Beef: 16.000 liters (water use is mainly for producing the 40 kg of cow's food, the cow drinks just 155 liters for one kg beef) 1 liter milk: 1.000 liters 1 kg Wheat: 1.350 liters 1 kg Rice: 3.000 liters (every 5th liter of water in the agricultural business is used for the rice production) 1 kg coconut: 2.500 liters 1 kg cheese: 5.000 liters 1 kg chicken: 3.900 liters 1 kg apples: 700 liters 1 liter wine: 720 liters Now everyone can calculate their own water footprint (link is at the end of the discussion!), that means how much water you really have used during the day when you eat a meal:-) I ate 50 gr rice, 200 gr chicken, an apple: This would be already 1.100 liter water used from the producer for one of my meals today. With the calculator below they showed me i use 1.483 cubic meter per year - 1.483.000 liter. My normal water use in the household is around 50.000 liters (from the invoice of my water company) What do you think about it? How much "virtual water" do you use daily? For which things? The Calculator and additional information about it: http://www.waterfootprint.org/index.php?=cal/waterfootprintcalculator_indv_ext
4 people like this
9 responses
@savypat (20246)
• United States
17 Dec 08
What an interesting discussion, I never thought about all the water used to grow, process and prepare our food. It makes you really respect our water supply. Thank you
2 people like this
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
19 Dec 08
Hi savypat, that was my first thought, too. Never really knew about how much water the other countries have to waste for that we can enjoy the imported fruits, foods and beverages. I wonder now how much McDonalds, Burger King and all the other Fast-Food-Chains are would waste if they have to pay this water? Have a good time in myLot and Merry Christmas!
@baileycows (3669)
• United States
17 Dec 08
Wow! I dont even want to caculate mine I thought I was doing great on helping the environment. Now I dont know seems like I am using to much water. Ugh! Nothing is ever easy is it?
2 people like this
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
18 Dec 08
Hello baileycows, seems like we can do so many things wrong ;-) Now we shall take attention if it's better to buy the rice from countries where they have enough water and not from somewhere where they have to import water first and so on :-) There is good example on the page with the Netherlands (the professor who made the research is from there) and from which countries they import the coffee. You can see how much of the water is used for example in South America, Asia and Africa so that they get their cup of coffee. Merry Xmas!
@kttribal (253)
• United States
12 Jan 09
well the good thing about the water that was used in the production of these products is that the water is often recycled. in fact i feel that the water we use today is also the water of the dinosaurs. sure the cows drink the water but then the water is passed in urin which gives nutrients to the ground to help grow other things then it evaperates and goes back into the streams that later make there ways to the ocean. its one cycle after another.
1 person likes this
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
14 Jan 09
Hello kttribal, that's a very good answer. Unluckily the water has to be cleaned each time like the water we use for our daily consume (showering, cleaning, toilet) these are all additional costs. The urine from the cows will never be the drinking water for me . The water which they drink is usually lost, like the water which we drink. We don't get clean water from it without cleaning it first for expensive money. When the water will be in the ocean, we need to get of the salt. That's why it would be expensive to buy some strawberries in the Middle East (desert and salt water from the ocean, even the swimming pools have usually salt water inside). Have a good time and hope all will be good for you in the future!
@kttribal (253)
• United States
14 Jan 09
well given time this will also happen on its own. when the water evaperates out of the ocean then it goes onto land when this happens then we have fresh water. we just want to much water is all urine ( at least the liquid part ) will become drinking water again sometime or another.
1 person likes this
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
14 Jan 09
Hi kttribal, when you look at the response below you can see that we also store the water inside our body (until we die ). So the main water will be not available for our use. I think it will take many months or years until we get the urine which has to flow into the underground and then find its way to a river. As i'm now in Malaysia, one of the biggest rice producing countries in the world (i didn't know this before, too ). It's really true all the rice fields are flooded with a lot of water and most of it is used by the plants, sure some of the water will evaporate, but as you can see for 1 kg rice 3.000 liter water (is gone). You always have to clean this water and this is what the scientist want to change. Buy the food there where you have easy access to clean water. Look out which country is most efficient in which product in their water usage (if want to save our planet, it seems we have to think a lot before we buy our next box of rice).
• India
10 Jan 09
Hello my friend cornyman Ji, It is beyond my imagination , what you have co-related your theory. I normally take 1-2 Lltrs of water daily, which very less for me. I have to work out . Please give me some time. may God bless you and have a great time.
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
10 Jan 09
Hello maygodblessu44, just think how many coffee beans you need for getting a teaspoon of coffee powder for your coffee. To get these beans they have to be planted. Therefore the farmers need water to let them grow, not only one day but many months until they are ripe and can be harvested. Then you need water for cleaning them and so on until they are manufactured into the powder which you use for the coffee. It's true, you use directly only a cup of water but to get the coffee in your house there has been already (virtually)over 100 liters of water used. Enjoy your time in myLot!
1 person likes this
• India
11 Jan 09
Hello my friend cornyman Ji, very nice of you for positive comments. may god bless you and have a great time.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
18 Dec 08
good info but I dont know how much a liter really is does it break down in Gals? I do know that t takes more liters to do something than it does Gal. and my Gal. of water per month going with water bill is. 16.000 Gals. a month
1 person likes this
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
18 Dec 08
Hi Lakota12, 16.000 Gallons are around 60.566 liters (3.7854 liter for 1 Gallon). Seems like you need the same amount of water in one month which i need in around one year?? ;-) How big is your house/household or the garden? Think we should cut not only our energy cost/consume but now also our water consume, after i read from this webpage. :-) Have a nice Christmas!
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
18 Dec 08
there are 5 in the huose hold and that is in the summer time and I dont water every day in the summer time like others do just 3 times a week. then now we can water 1 day a week but cut it off last night for it snowed. and nothing need the water.
1 person likes this
• Lubbock, Texas
18 Dec 08
Interesting site. It seems that no matter how frugal we try to be with our natural resources, there's always something we didn't consider. Well, we can't quit eating, so I guess choose the foods that take the least water to grow and prepare for market. Whew! That takes a lot of research.
1 person likes this
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
27 Dec 08
Hello thebeaddoodler, and this is just the beginning of the scientific research. I think they said something from less 10 years since they started to do research on this topic. There will be more written in the next two years about water wasting and eating different fruits from the own country where you don't have to "recycle" salt water in drinkable/usable industrial water. So it won't be only about the least water, also about how much energy is used to produce this water for example in Saudi Arabia. Would be very "expensive" to buy from there some strawberries with water that must be separated because of the salt in it. Have a nice time and keep on posting!
• United States
18 Dec 08
i would hate to even calculate what my family uses. i have a family member who takes 30 minute showers over my protests. i'm about ready to put a timer shutoff on it.
1 person likes this
@yanwei (58)
• China
18 Dec 08
Wow,wow.I never have thought that,I just think what I eat only costs money.It is really a huge amount of irtual water I reall have used during the day.I am amazed to find it.
1 person likes this
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
20 Dec 08
Hello yanwei, i thought this too until i got this e-mail the last days. And then Ups, so much water for such a little rice bowl. Seem we should appreciate the food more than we did before and that therefore much more resources are needed, perhaps sometimes too much. About what do you think now, which food would you substitute when you know now how much water was used to produce it? Have a nice weekend!
@suzzy3 (8357)
17 Dec 08
I have never thought about this and I am really surprised by how much water is used to produce what sits in the cupboard,I am not going to work out my consumption of virtual water our family uses.It makes you think doen't it.What a clever discussion.
1 person likes this
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
19 Dec 08
Hello Suzzy3, you can choose to calculate the Quick Virtual Water (only 3 things) or the Extended Version (over 10 things). It's quick, easy and informative :-) Have a nice time in myLot and Merry Christmas!