The following is from a new author who offered to write a piece on the most talked about liquid in personal finance – coffee!
If you’re like 83% of adult Americans, you’re probably a coffee drinker. You might be even enjoying a cup of Joe as you read this.
We all know that brewing your own coffee at home equals savings, as opposed to buying it from your local Third Wave café or your local Starbucks. Different strokes for different folks.
There are countless devices that make brewing coffee at home pretty much a work of art, with each device having its own pros and cons as far as cost of appliance and its subjective differences in taste.
Here is some food for thought, though – have you ever thought how much your everyday coffee habit costs you every time you make it at home?
Let’s take a look at what the cost of making coffee at home amounts to depending on which device you use to brew it.
Drip Coffee Makers
Drip coffee makers, as their name implies, employs a system of brewing that directs water through a layer of coffee grounds in a paper coffee filter. It’s an easy, cost-effective method employed by conventional electric drip coffee makers which have been in use since 1954, when the Wigomat was first invented in Germany as the first drip brewer powered by electricity.
As far as taste is concerned, however, your mileage may vary. Drip coffee makers do not enjoy a lofty reputation as far as creating coffee complete with all its essences and oils like other methods would. Some swear by it. Coffee snobs won’t. Those of us who just want a quick caffeine fix will find it just right.
It’s a great choice for frugal coffee drinkers, because it helps them save money over time. Ground coffee can be had from $10 per pound – working out to approximately $0.45 per cup via this method. Using beans and something to grind them would lower that number to $0.33 per cup
A drip coffee maker can’t make you the perfect espresso or a latte macchiato, but it’s one hell of a frugal way to get your coffee fix. And it works for many. And that’s fine.
Capsule Coffee Makers
Capsule coffee makers are a flavorful, fast, and extremely convenient way to enjoy a decent espresso, but aren’t necessarily equating to cost savings. While capsule coffee makers are certainly cheaper than those huge rigs that take care of all of the work from start to finish in terms of cost, coffee capsules might be an issue if you’re trying to save. Nevertheless, capsule coffee pods taste much better than drip brewed coffee – but coffee pods are significantly more expensive than coffee beans, whether pre-ground or otherwise.
It’s the convenience that makes it expensive, and that is just exactly what you pay for. Cost always depends on your consumption or your household. One coffee pod will set you back anywhere from 50 cents to $2 depending on the quantity and the brand you choose.
An espresso machines is, as the name implies, a device that is designed to make you the perfect espresso from coffee beans – the way Italians take it. A good machine will make you artisan-level coffee and save money at the same time, all in the comfort of your own home.
Granted, espresso machines can cost you a pretty penny, but that’s not the purpose of our discussion. We’re looking at the price of making homemade coffee depending on the brewing method.
Well, turns out, you can actually save over the long term with an espresso machine, because all you’ll need to buy are the coffee beans. Espresso beans can range anywhere from $10 to $60 per 2.2 pounds. Assuming you purchase a good brand (~$25 per 2.2 pounds), it would equate to $0.20 for each shot of espresso you make.
A regular 12oz pack of coffee beans equates to approximately 340g worth of it. A single cup requires about 20g on a regular French press, which can then be broken down to about 16-17 cups of coffee per 12oz bag.
Assuming each bag of high-quality, premium coffee beans costs you $15 at 340g, this will work out to 88 cents per cup using one of the most enduring coffee-making devices that is held in regard by many a coffee purist. It’s even cheaper if you purchase decent, middle-of-the-road coffee beans.
Considering the average cup of coffee costs more than $2 at your local neighborhood coffee shop, you can imagine the savings you can make employing this method, all while getting to enjoy a good single serving of joe. Very useful if you just need your daily morning perk, and very tasty too.
The Aeropress was developed in 2005. It’s a device that’s gaining increasing popularity, and offers a bevy of ways you can enjoy your coffee using it. It goes without saying that this method, like every method we discuss, has its own dyed-in-the-wool fans who say you can make the best-tasting coffee with it, while you will hear others who don’t have too much of a high opinion of it.
Regardless, it’s similar in principle to a French press in terms of ease of use as well as the method of immersion. The main difference is that an Aeropress employs pressure to brew coffee, similar to how an Espresso machine does.
It’s really simple to use – all you need to do is to fill it with water and fine-ground coffee, and voila! You can stir it and let it sit, pour it through a filter into your cup, and there you have your Aeropress-brewed cup of joe. You can then mix it with whatever accoutrements you prefer your coffee with, such as milk for latte, a bit of water for a strong Americano, or simply straight from the device as an espresso. It’s self-cleaning, it’s portable, and robust to handle everyday wear and tear. And you might just find it makes the perfect cup of coffee according to your requirements. That said, you can expect to pay the same as you would with a French press, depending on your choice of beans.
Nothing screams old school like using a coffee percolator. And, like each one of these coffeemaking devices, coffee percolator fans will say that their way of brewing coffee is the best. Now, that is of course a matter of preference. Percolators offer robust flavor, particularly when done the right way.
Using a coffee percolator is easy and foolproof – but it takes time to master it to an art form. While you won’t probably impress your local neighborhood coffee snob, it’s the most economical method of brewing coffee, and will give you the perk you need. And for perc fans, that’s good enough. How much is a cup of coffee made via a percolator? Assuming you purchase decent coffee beans at $10 per pound, your cost per cup would equate to less than 25 cents per 12 oz cup. That’s some impressive savings.
Again, it’s all a matter of subjective preference – we are spoiled for choice when it comes to the methods by which we can enjoy coffee. If your coffee spendings won’t change your financial situation, our best advice is to use whichever method gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling you need to start your day.