Since being forced into adulthood a dozen or so years ago, I’ve grown into a foodie & home chef, a beer & wine enthusiast, and lastly: a coffee snob. For a few years of my adult life, I had no idea how to make a good cup of coffee. As a new hire at my first office job I made that awful Folgers/Maxwell House pre-ground crap out of a huge can. 10 scoops, into a paper filter into the Bunn office coffee machine + tap water = a consistently awful pot of Joe. After I started making some money I began frequenting coffee shops like Starbucks just about every day. I love the coffee at coffee houses as much as the millions of us who go to them daily, but about 6 years ago after realizing how much cash I was dropping at the coffee shop, I reasoned that since I can already cook pretty much anything, why not just learn how to make great coffee at home too? I’ve done plenty experimenting over the years and now confidently make coffee exactly the way I like it.
Equipment & Process
First you need proper equipment. As far as coffee makers are concerned, that’s always a debate among hardcore coffee fans. I use a Cuisinart automatic drip* style coffee maker, but you should use what you find suits you best, be it a manual drip pot, french press, percolator, or automatic drip machine like I use. All of which can make great coffee, and have their benefits. Here is an excellent blog post I read recently by Tech Crunch founder Michael Arrington about “A Tech Guy’s Version Of The Perfect Cup Of Coffee“.
I agree with Mike’s solid advice and confess that I was blown away specifically by Philz & Blue Bottle, and also enjoyed Peet’s while visiting San Francisco last August. However unlike Mike I don’t have that sweet on demand hot water system, and I really like my auto drip coffee maker* as it is convenient, and the thermal carafe keeps our daily 10 cup pot of coffee (enough for 2 people) hot for about 2-3 hours without using extra electricity for the warmer that can burn the pot, and ruin good coffee. I have gone through 2 drip coffee makers in 6 years. But as you’ll see, that up front cost is nothing compared to the cash you save by making your own coffee every day.
You need to grind the beans yourself and only do so right before you brew the coffee. If you buy it pre-ground, or grind up an entire bag at once to store, the coffee immediately starts getting stale and losing flavor. Grind as needed. Period. I’m also on my third grinder, which I picked up after Christmas. It is a Cuisinart and is my first burr mill grinder*. I’m very happy with it so far. It consistently grinds the coffee evenly and just the way I want it, is well made and these grinders are the style you see in most coffee houses. I will urge you to not even bother with regular blade style coffee grinders as they are inconsistent, messy, and break. I prefer to grind my coffee somewhere between fine and medium range. I like my coffee pretty strong, but not espresso strong. If you’re using a drip coffee maker like me, make sure you clean it regularly, change the water filter in the coffee maker when required, and always use cold, filtered water.
After trying tons of different coffees of all price levels, bean variations, regions, brands, and roasts since starting home brewing, I have concluded that for me, and for the price, Eight O’Clock French Roast is some of the best coffee I’ve found to get my morning going. It’s legit and better than alot of different, more expensive coffees I’ve tested. Sure there are plenty of expensive varieties that are marginally better. But I like medium to dark roasts, and this one is right in my wheelhouse. I’m an Amazon Prime* member and as of this writing, I get a 36oz bag (size of 3 standard bags) delivered once a month for about $13 using Subscribe & Save. Amazon also has many other brands including Starbucks available for Subscribe & Save. I’ve gone Amazon crazy the last few years and save myself time and money by subscribing to regularly scheduled shipments of things I know I’m always going to need such as: paper towels, toilet paper, laundry & dish detergent, soap, shampoo, deodorant, garbage bags, razors, protein bars, dry cereals and more. In addition to free 2 day shipping there are also lots of other benefits to Amazon Prime*. Here is a great blog post by entrepreneur Jason Calacanis about “The Cult of Amazon Prime”
- Cuisinart 10 Cup Coffee Maker With Thermal Carafe*: $70
- Cuisinart Burr Mill Coffee Grinder*: $45
- Permanent Cone Coffee Filter (optional): $8
Total Equipment Investment: $123
- Eight O’Clock French Roast Coffee 36oz*: $13 on Amazon Subscribe & Save delivered once per month, or a $15 one time purchase (free shipping to Amazon Prime members)
- Cream, Sugar, Sweetener, Flavored Syrups, Paper Filters, etc.: $20 per month
Total Monthly Expense: $33 per month
- A Starbucks Venti Latte Every Day For 30 days: $150 (assuming $5 spent per day) X 2 people = $300!
My Total Savings :
$267 per month x 12 months = $3204 per year!
So after the initial investment of my coffee maker, filter and grinder, I save approximately $267 per month or $3204 per year over a daily Starbucks (or similar) habit for myself and my wife. I could probably get the finest beans I could find and still save a ton of cash, but I think I’ve found a winner with my go to Eight O’Clock French Roast*. Now we do still go out for coffee from time to time and grab the occasional latte, cafe au lait, mocha, or macchiato, at a coffee shop if we’re on the road or have business meetings. But we usually work from home, make killer coffee and have no desire to hit up Starbucks.
So there you go. You just saved yourself up to $3200 a year on coffee with minimal sacrifice in quality.
P.S. Please don’t end up like rockstar/coffee addict Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Them Crooked Vultures) here in “FRESH POTS!”*Disclosure – These links are Amazon affiliate links (it will help pay for my coffee habit) Pissed off Obama, Hipster Barista & Drink All the Coffee courtesy of http://troll.me