If you’re trying to save money, either for home repairs or that big family vacation, then you’re going to closely assess your spending. One area where you feel like you can cut back is how much money you spend at your local café or coffee shop. Is brewing coffee at home more cost-effective? How much will you spend per cup?
Brewing coffee at home typically costs less than $1 per cup if you’re using standard coffee beans/grounds (or K-Cups), a standard filter, and only the electricity required. A cup of Starbucks coffee costs $2.50 on average, so you’re saving more than a dollar each time you brew coffee at home.
In this article, we’ll delve a lot deeper into the costs of brewing coffee at home vs. buying it premade at a café drive-through. If you’re not already brewing your own coffee, you might feel inspired by the time you finish reading!
How Much Money Do You Spend Per Cup of Coffee When You Brew at Home?
The estimated amount of money you’ll spend on one cup of home-brewed coffee is between 16 and 51 cents.
Wait, seriously? It’s that cheap to brew coffee at home? It certainly can be, yes!
How does that total break down?
Let’s say you’re making eight ounces of coffee. (If you read our post on the average portion size of coffee in ounces, you’ll recall that eight ounces are larger than normal in many parts of the world outside of America.)
If you’re brewing eight ounces of coffee, then you’d spend 51 cents per cup.
The coffeemaker, to brew that one cup, costs 11 cents to run. You have to pay for electricity and water, which would be two cents.
Assuming your coffee filter is not reusable, the filter is three cents. The coffee grounds or beans cost 35 cents unless you’re using a K-Cup. Then the cost to brew an individual K-Cup is between 45 and 65 cents.
If you add up everything, you’re not even paying a dollar to brew coffee at home.
The Factors That Influence What You Spend on Home-Brewed Coffee
As we led with in the last section, the cost of brewing coffee at home varies because so many factors are at play that can increase or decrease your costs. Let’s take a closer look now.
The Type of Coffee You Like
Do you prefer light roast coffee or are you exclusively a dark roast coffee drinker? Maybe you only want pure Arabica beans.
Well, while Arabica coffee beans might have a very pure depth of flavor, that clarity and quality come at a price. Arabica coffee is among the more expensive types of beans.
You’re also spending marginally more money on light roast coffee compared to dark roast. The reason? Light roast coffee always uses Arabica beans.
How Much Coffee You Like to Drink
If you’ve been reading the blog lately, then you’ll recall how the average American prefers to drink about three cups of coffee per day.
You might find that after one cup of coffee brewed at home that you feel awake enough to drive into work and get your day started. Some people might need two cups before they can bear the prospect of another working day.
In more cases still, someone might have three cups of coffee before they leave the house for the day.
The more coffee you drink at home, the higher your costs will be to brew on your premises.
If brewing one cup of coffee costs less than a dollar, then brewing two cups would be under two dollars and three cups would amount to less than three dollars.
Of course, you could just as well brew one cup of coffee at home and then drink your one or two additional cups at work. This won’t cost you any money to brew coffee since you’re not using your own coffeemaker, filters, water, beans, and electricity.
The Quality of the Beans/Grounds
Coffee beans are available in varying qualities. If you got your hands on Kona coffee beans, for example, then you can guarantee that the quality of your brew would be out of this world. Since Kona coffee beans are rare though, the cost of the beans would be astronomical.
As you’ll recall from earlier in this section, Arabica coffee beans are quite costly because they produce rich-tasting coffee. Robusta beans, on the other hand, contain more caffeine and are lower-quality, so you’ll spend less money to obtain them.
The Quality of Your Coffee Machine
Another consideration is what type of coffee machine you own. Is yours a run-of-the-mill coffeemaker that’s several years old and was cheap to begin with? All parts of the brewing process will take longer.
Thus, your coffeemaker will probably use more electricity, which increases the cost to brew coffee at home even if you’re not using high-quality coffee beans.
Comparatively, a sleek new coffeemaker will brew fast and efficiently.
We should note that no matter the age of your coffee machine, if yours has an accumulation of limescale and other debris, it won’t work to its full potential. Brewing coffee will cost you more money every time you do it at home.
Whether You Use a Coffee Scale
Do you use measuring cups to ascertain how much ground coffee you need for your brew, or do you have a coffee scale? The latter can run you about $50, but this cost is non-recurring, at least for a while.
Provided you use it properly, a coffee scale can last for years.
Whether Your Coffee Filter Is Reusable
Although the cost of a single-use coffee filter is only pennies on the dollar, those pennies do add up. A reusable coffee filter can cost between $5 and $20, and you’ll get infinitely more uses out of it. Just double-check that your reusable coffee filter is compatible with your coffee machine before you buy it!
The Inclusion of Additional Flavors (Cream, Sugar, etc.)
Do you love black coffee? Many people do while others find it way too bitter.
If you’re in the latter camp, then you’ll seek to sweeten up your coffee with flavors such as sugar, cream, and maybe even a dash of cinnamon.
None of these additional flavors are free, so you’ll have to add them to your overall brewing costs.
Is It Cheaper to Brew Coffee at Home vs. Buy It at a Café?
Now comes the burning question that we’re sure is on your mind. If you take the time and effort to brew coffee at home, are you going to save money compared to buying it at your favorite café, chain, or coffee house?
In almost every instance, the answer is yes. To prove it, here are the prices of a standard cup of coffee from all your favorite coffee chains.
If you’re like the millions of other people who buy their coffee at Starbucks, you know the chain’s menu is as extensive as the day is long. We’ll only look at the prices of Starbucks’ freshly brewed coffee.
This beverage costs $1.85 for a tall, $2.10 for a grande, and $2.45 for a venti. By brewing coffee at home, you’re saving more than 85 cents compared to buying a tall Starbucks coffee, over $1.10 for a grande, and nearly $1.50 by skipping the venti.
In Canada, the coffee chain Tim Hortons reigns supreme. The coffee shop has bled over into the US as well, so you might stop here to get your caffeine fix.
A cup of small coffee from Tim Hortons is $1.59, a medium is $1.79, a large is $1.99, and an extra-large costs $2.19.
When you brew coffee at home, you don’t even have to spend a dollar. Thus, you’d save more than 59 cents compared to a Tim Hortons’ small, more than 79 cents by skipping the medium-sized coffee, $1 by passing on the large, and over $1 for an extra-large coffee.
Although Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee is supposed to be cheaper than most other coffee chains, especially Starbucks, can the coffee chain’s prices beat what you’d spend when brewing coffee at home?
Dunkin’ coffee costs $1.59 for a small, $1.89 for a medium, $2.09 for a large, and $2.29 for an extra-large.
You know the drill by now. Brewing coffee at home is more cost-effective.
You’d pocket more than 59 cents compared to buying a small-sized Dunkin’ coffee, more than 89 cents for a medium, over $1 for a large, and about $1.30 for an extra-large Dunkin’ drink.
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
California’s Peet’s Coffee & Tea was founded in 1966. It might not have the name recognition of the other brands we’ve discussed, but it’s a preferred source of coffee for many people.
A cup of regular Peet’s coffee is between $2.30 and $2.80, making it one of the more expensive coffee chains on our list. You’d save well over $1.20 by brewing your coffee at home instead!
With more than 600 locations across the country, you might only get your coffee from Caribou Coffee.
The prices here aren’t all that different from the other coffee chains we’ve reviewed in this section.
A small coffee is $1.69, a medium costs $2.09, and a large coffee is $2.39. You cannot buy your coffee in XL sizes from Caribou Coffee.
You’ll enjoy a savings of 69 cents by skipping the small from Caribou, over $1 for a medium, and nearly $1.40 for a large by choosing to brew your coffee at home instead of venturing out to Caribou Coffee.
The Benefits of Brewing Coffee at Home
Are you still not totally convinced that brewing your own coffee at home is a worthwhile venture? We hope this section full of benefits changes your mind!
We’ve already established that brewing coffee at home can save you cents and sometimes several dollars per cup.
Sure, pocketing a few extra cents might not seem like much if you look at your day-by-day coffee consumption, but the numbers do add up!
For example, let’s say you save 50 cents by brewing coffee at home compared to going to your favorite local coffee chain. That’s $3.50 more in your wallet every week if you brew coffee seven days a week.
That adds up to $14 extra per month. You’d save $168 per year, which is not too shabby.
If you’re saving $1.25 by brewing your own coffee at home and you brew coffee every single day, that’s a gain of $8.75 per week. Every month, you’d have $35 extra, which amounts to $420 saved per year!
It’s not only that you’re spending less money on coffee. You’re also saving gas money since you don’t have to drive to the café, sit in the drive-thru idling, and then drive back home.
More Time in the Morning
Besides saving money, brewing coffee at home allows you to save on something else exceptionally valuable, your time.
If it takes you seven minutes to get to the closest Starbucks, then that’s at least 15 minutes you spend on the round trip. If the drive-through line isn’t too busy, then maybe you can get your order in five minutes. On those busy mornings though, you could easily spend twice that time at Starbucks.
Even if you buy your coffee inside the café, you still have to wait in line, put in your order, and then wait for your order to be ready. Ordering online can save you time waiting in line, but again, you’re stuck waiting for the baristas to make your brew.
Using a quality coffeemaker, you can usually brew a six-ounce serving of coffee in a minute or less.
You can spend the 15+ minutes you gain back hitting the snooze button an extra time or two. You can also take your time going about your morning routine so you don’t leave for work already feeling stressed.
Know Exactly What’s in Your Cup
Coffee usually doesn’t contain preservatives, but you can never say never. Flavored coffee sometimes includes synthetic ingredients, and who knows what those could be doing to your health?
When you brew coffee at home, you’re in control. You add whichever ingredients you want and skip the ones you don’t, making great choices for your health along the way.
Brew Coffee to Your Preferences
Do you prefer very light roast coffee but find that most baristas over-brew your coffee? Maybe you even like a bit of bitterness in your coffee, but it’s always brewed right out when you visit Tim Hortons or Starbucks.
Brewing at home allows you to develop that full body of flavor you’re looking for.
Ensure Fresh Coffee Every Time
Many restaurants and cafés brew coffee by the carafe. If someone orders coffee right after it’s brewed, then it tastes very fresh.
However, if you roll up an hour or two after that coffee was brewed, or even several hours after that, you’re going to taste the difference. Your coffee will have a stale flavor that detracts from its deliciousness.
Brewing coffee at home produces a fresh, reliable flavor again and again!
Brewing a cup of coffee costs less than $1. That’s cheaper than what you’ll find on the coffee menus of even inexpensive coffee chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts.
Outside of saving cash, you’ll also save time since you can skip the drive-through. Your coffee will taste fresher and better as it’s brewed by the person who knows your coffee preferences best: you!
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