My wife and I ran a coffee shop for a little over three years. When we first took the shop over, there was very little awareness of eating or living green. Most of the products were highly processed and our containers weren’t recyclable. Slowly, our convictions of green living began to creep in. We switched our coffee roaster to a fair trade provider and served mostly organic coffees. We started offering more natural choices. We carried Stevia as a sugar substitute, we switched most of our coffee products to all-natural ones and replaced our sugar-filled smoothies with real fruit smoothies. Switching from conventional containers to eco-friendly, corn-based containers and cups was a great move. I could serve our food and drinks in containers that were recyclable, but even if they made their way to the trashcan, they were highly biodegradable. I learned that even the paper cups used for hot beverages in most coffee shops are not recyclable because of the wax used to coat the inside of the cup. We had to switch our cups and pay a bit more for sustainable and recyclable cups, but the environmental reward was much greater. Looking back, I think I should have added more sustainable and healthy pastries. Although my wife was constantly baking up her all-natural whole wheat flax zucchini bread, most of our pastries were full of hydrogenated oils and loaded with artificial preservatives. Another aspect I would have changed was offering organic milk for lattes and other milk-based coffee drinks. We had quite a few people ask for organic milk, but we never made the switch. As a manager, I had the power to influence customers, and in the end we made major strides from where we began. Although our shop went out of business in 2008, we have dreams of opening another coffee shop whenever the opportunity arises. When we do, we will have a fully green espresso bar supporting sustainability and eco-friendly practices.