I’ve mentioned before that I’d been logging how many cups of coffee were made, how many grind cycles executed, and how many coffee filters consumed in my daily coffee making. This was done so that I could determine just how cost effective it is for me to make coffee at home each morning versus stopping to get coffee.
First, the stats:
Two Pounds of Kirkland-brand (Costco) Coffee Beans, whole: $11.99
Mr. Coffee-brand burr grinder, grind set half-way between C and D, timer set to 7 or 8: ~$35
Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker: ~$30
Servings Produced: 25
Grind Cycles: 21
Filters Used: 4
Water Used: 2 Cups (Per Serving)
As the AeroPress and grinder are more than two years old, I will consider these sunk costs and not take them into account in these figures. I am also still working through the original set of filters which came with the AeroPress, so I do not need to take filter cost into account yet. Once I do, typical cost is $3.99 – $5.99 for 350 filters and I normally use a single filter for around five servings, adding $0.00228 to $0.00342 to each serving of coffee.
Electricity will be particularly hard to quantify with the challenges of metering a hard-wired appliance, so I will assume the microwave consumes 1000W peak, which is typical for a microwave of this size. My most recent electrical bill was charged at just under $0.12/kWh. At 3:30 of usage per serving of coffee, this is around $0.007 of electricity.
The two pounds of coffee were ground into just a bit more than was needed to make 25 servings. The measurement for this was not particularly accurate, but as I use the same technique for scooping each morning so this shall be assumed to be a consistent measurement. With the $11.99 price for the two pounds of coffee, this results in a cost of $0.48 per serving for each cup of coffee. It must be noted that the coffee used in this study was a bit more costly than typical Kirkland-brand coffee. The three pound bag I purchased to use after this one also cost $11.99. It can then be expected that this bag of coffee will cost 50% less per serving ($0.3197).
Now, the figures:
Tall Black Coffee from Starbucks: $1.64 (incl. tax)
Medium Black Coffee from Beaners / Biggby: $1.79 (incl. tax)
One Serving (~16oz) of Coffee From Home: $0.487 (at $11.99 for 2 lb)
Daily Savings: ~$1.25 – ~$1.40
Sure, there’s also a time cost, but preparing this coffee takes around five minutes per morning, which is a bit less than the amount of time it would take to stop at a coffee shop and pick up coffee. It’s also more convenient to not have to stop somewhere every day. With the cheaper current bag of coffee, the daily savings will increase by around $0.15 per serving.
I could save even more by waiting until I get to work and drinking the coffee there, but it’s really awful quality Aramark-branded crap which has a persistent smell and taste of burnt brush. There is a Flavia machine in one of the buildings at work which I could use, but the layered plastic and foil packet discarded with each serving is horribly wasteful and I prefer not to use this for the exact same reason why I eschew home-use single serving coffee packages.
Speaking of single-serving coffee makers and waste, making coffee at home produces far less waste. While I do throw out coffee grounds every day and the inevitable bag it is all packed in, these would be discarded by the coffee shop. What I do not dispose of is the paper cup, jacket, and plastic lid provided with each cup, and I hope that the grounds contribute (in some small way) to a landfill decomposing just a little bit faster.
For completeness sake, here’s the process I follow to make coffee each morning:
· Run a grind cycle.
· Microwave two cups of water for 3:30.
· Fit the AeroPress with a filter, selecting a new one if the current one is clogged or old, setting the AeroPress on a pint glass to catch the coffee.
· Put three measures of ground coffee into the AeroPress, measured with the scoop provided with the AeroPress.
· Pour enough water (about one cup) into the AeroPress to fill it, then stir with the paddle until all grounds are suspended (about 10 seconds).
· Push the brewed coffee out through the filter with the plunger.
· Remove the filter retainer, rinse and save the filter if it isn’t too clogged nor old.
· Discard the used grounds into the trash can†.
· Pour coffee from the pint glass into the Bodum Travel Mug that I use daily.
· Pour remaining hot water into travel mug until it is full. Stir briefly with paddle to mix.
· Rinse all parts and stack them to dry for the next use.
† Yes, I know that I should be composting these, but living in a condo makes composting prohibitively difficult.