Coffee, America’s past time. You know when you’re sitting in a Starbucks and you happen to grab that ever elusive window seat? You sit down and look out the window waiting for the wrong name to be called for the coffee you just ordered. Your eyes pan the view, gazing past the 20-car line for the drive-thru. Looking out a little further they happen upon the other 20-car line; for the Starbucks drive-thru across the street. Yeah…we Americans love our coffee. Well I’m here today to show you another way top save money on coffee. Best of all? We get to buy stuff, with intention.
What we currently do to save money on coffee, but not for long!
HerFI and I enjoy the simple things in life. We can drink drip coffee, but our taste buds truly get delighted by drinking our cappuccinos and lattes. This means we need a way of making espresso.
Our current method for making such delights is through our Nespresso.
Great little machine, makes a tasty enough espresso for how simple it is to use. The downside? The pods cost at minimum $0.70 each. But wait, didn’t I just mention Starbucks? That 70 cents from our Nespresso is still leaps and bounds cheaper than a $4 cup of joe at Starbucks.
Well let’s see..3 cups a day between HerFi and HisFI, multiply 3 cups by $0.70 equals $2.10 a day for two people. Hey! Still cheaper than Starbucks. Stay with me now, that $2.10 is then multiplied by 365 days in a year (pulls out calculator) WOAH, we’re spending at least $766.50 on Nespresso Capsules alone, per year. Add in a couple more cents for half and half or creamer and it doesn’t get much prettier.
How to save money on coffee costs?
Hmm, so what are the alternatives?
- Stop drinking coffee? Hell no!
- Get a Keurig? Aren’t they supposed to be cool? Oh, I’m sorry, I thought we were talking about REAL coffee. Another hell no!
- Buy re-usable pods? This had me intrigued until I found out how much they charge for a freaking sticker to seal the pod. I will NOT pay 10 cents for a sticker to make a single cup of coffee, thank you very much. What about knock-off capsules? See my Keurig comment above.
- Guess that leaves option number 4. Buy an espresso machine that uses coffee beans instead of capsules.
The problem with option 4? These machines are expensive. I wanted something of decent quality, with good reviews, and kind of an all-in-one type deal. After all, we are spoiled to the ease of use from our Nespresso. The cheapest option available? Well my research kept pointing me to the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine.
How much does this cost? GULP $540 bucks!
Honestly, I was lost here for a bit. An internal battle between being frugal or minimalist clashed on. I knew I wanted something of quality and that made a great tasting espresso, guess that crosses out frugal. It does help the minimalist in me since it is an all-in-one espresso machine, no separate gizmos or gadgets required. I still had hesitation, but I pulled in another contender to the ring – is it something I value? To get a great espresso every morning, which we both value, while still keeping true to our goal of becoming more minimalist.
I wanted to see the numbers. Would we actually save money with this machine or is Nespresso still the cheapest option for our needs?
The key to save money on coffee – crunch the numbers
Using the calculator below as reference, let’s start in order from top to bottom.
I used $0.70 per cup of coffee as that is the cheapest price per Nespresso capsule. (It can be up to $2.00 a capsule)
HisFi and HerFI drink on average 3 cups of coffee per day between the two of us.
Now for the future costs, I looked on amazon for espresso beans and just picked the best seller; Lavazza Super Crema Espresso Beans which landed at $12.69 per pound. This is on the higher end for amazon and about average for locally roasted beans. I looked on Costco as well and you could buy espresso beans in bulk which equates to $7.50 a pound.
I found out that 1 shot of espresso from the Breville is comparable to 2 shots from the Nespresso (sneaky little Nespresso). A double shot of Nespresso is about 40ml, while a single shot on espresso machines is about 30ml. So following the guideline, I chose 8 grams of beans per cup of coffee.
Finally, I put in the cost of the espresso machine at $540. (If the machine you are comparing needs a grinder or any other accessories, just add up the total and put it in this field).
Look at the savings!
I have to say I was surprised by the results. By buying the $540 Breville, we would save $521.95 PER YEAR. This is without sacrificing anything, in fact, this would make EVEN BETTER espresso than we were used to. That’s crazy talk! It would pay for itself in a year and then we we have that extra $521.95 savings each year for I don’t know…retirement?
Let me remind you this was a worst case scenario in that, I chose a premium espresso machine which would still allow us our convenience in the morning. Plus I added the more expensive espresso beans relative to other ones. Choosing a more budget friendly coffee bean or a cheaper espresso machine just keeps on increasing that yearly savings number.
We ended up going with the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine and let me tell you, this has taken our espresso love to a whole other level. I do have to give mad props to the baristas out there, as making your own espresso does have a learning curve. We are finally getting the hang of it and let me tell you, Nespresso doesn’t hold a candle to this thing.
Now that you’ve followed my journey to save money on coffee, without the sacrifice, I challenge you to enter your own numbers into the calculator below. Look for something that suits your needs and see if it can save you some extra money. Leave a comment with your potential savings! You may be surprised by how much you could save, I know I was.
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I bought an espresso machine that uses real beans, the savings is unreal and you get to drink amazing coffee. Very robust calculator by the way, thank you!
Of course! Thank you for reading.
I make terrible coffee, often. However, often take out or Starbuck coffee can be terrible too. I settled on a nespresso versus takeout, with the idea I may get an espresso machine later. Only using the nespresso when short on time. After you add in tips, extras and driving that’s a minumum of 3.50 for an americano.
The Nespresso can’t be beat for convenience, that’s for sure. Even after using our espresso machine for multiple months, the Nespresso still was faster and easier in the morning.
I think you bring up a good point about time too. These days it seems like it’s a literal time commitment to go and get take out coffee. Between going out to get coffee and Nespresso, the Nespresso definitely wins.
You can reuse the capsules with ordinary thin foil, like from a chocolate bar (free after you eat it). There is an instructible on it. I mashed a capsule and had to re cover it once and it worked perfectly.
Next to come, chocolate savings calculator! Just kidding. Yeah that’s a good point. I remember reading about people using foil to pack their own capsules. Totally valid strategy, not sure how much extra time it would take for the coffee making process.
Honestly it’s hard to go back to Nespresso taste. The espresso machine really does make great tasting coffee, something we both have become spoiled to.
Thanks for your comments Liam, these are viable alternatives and in the end it comes down to what works best for you.
What a great post! I’m a HOME ROASTER! Once you home roast, you’ll become a huge coffee snob AND green beans cost about$4-$5 per pound, so even better savings! Also, if you don’t want to home roast, I would find a really good online roaster/mail order. I use RedBird in Montana. Excellent coffee and lower overhead than big city roasters. Cheaper even with postage.
BTW, the next step in your espresso evolution is to invest in a dual boiler machine with endless steam power and you can steam and brew simultaneously–that’s the life!
I love the idea of home roasting but haven’t wanted to invest the extra time or money as of yet. I feel you on the coffee snob, we are becoming snobbier with our coffee since the switch and I can only imagine with home roasted freshness.
Thank you for suggesting Redbird we’ll have to give them a try. We have been using happymugcoffee and like their price to quality ratio plus they roast same day they ship. Looks like Redbird price is similar if you order 4ibs for free shipping.
Double boiler sounds amazing, one of these days!
Thanks for your comment and tips and keep on living that coffee snob life!
Actually, home roast only takes 23 minutes for a pound of coffee, plus about 10 minutes to cool. I use a Behmor1600 roaster (about $369 on Amazon). It’s absolutely easy, quick, and fun. Seriously, no time at all. Once you get the hang of the machine, you can set it and forget it. The roast is very even, and the freshness can’t be beat. Redbird offers 5 lbs and shipping is included. Jeff sends and email when he’s roasting for you and also same day sipping.
My hope is that your readers will at least try some seriously fresh coffee and do their own pour-over at home. It’s so much cheaper than Blue Bottle or Philz and better brew. Oh, and don’t forget a good grinder! You could start with a Hario manual grinder–takes a bit longer. I would recommend a Baratza Virtuoso as it’s great for pour-over and espresso. Cost is about $229, which mind sound like a non-frugal option, but it’s an investment. Obviously the ultimate budget choice would be to drink only water… That’s no fun!
Chris, this is great information! I’ll have to take a look at the Behmor1600 and do some research on what it’s like roasting your own beans. I absolutely agree with you that coffee is worth the initial investment in equipment, it doesn’t take long for the payback. Oh and I just ordered a 5 pound bag of roasted espresso beans from redbird, it was about $10 cheaper than happy mug coffee, thanks again for the recommendation. I am anxiously waiting for the delivery.
By the way, I LOVE your coffee calculator! for my wife, who drinks a latte every money with a double shot @ 18 grams per shot, it would take 2.5 years to pay for a $2,800 double boiler machine. $1147 annual savings. If you add home roast to the mix, it’s even better! Bravo!
It makes the perfect bargaining tool haha. I used it myself to convince my partner that we should buy an espresso machine. Thanks for the kind words!
Great blog and I love you calculator! We also sprung for the same Breville in January of this year and haven’t looked back. Our friends and family love coming over to enjoy a cup of our favorite espresso, cappucino or latte.
Thank you! You know you got something good when your friends and family want to come over and specifically ask for some coffee 🙂
I’m amazed that no-one mentions the Italian/French style simple espresso pot. It generally comes in first or second on blind comparisons, costs very little, lasts A LONG TIME. William
The calculator doesn’t work for me.
Great tips from the article & from readers’ comments.
Yikes! I will look into this! Thanks for letting me know.
Just wondering if the water filter and the descaler has been factored into the ongoing maintenance cost for the Breville Barista Express?
I don’t own one (yet), but would like to know how often you need to change the filter and descale the machine per year.
Great question! It was not initially factored in- the filter is done once every 3 months and there are affordable off-brand options on Amazon. The de-scaler you can use household vinegar as needed depending on water hardness.
I would also be curious to see the cost analysis compared to that of Nespresso. would be nice to see a table to compare the 3 options (buying coffee vs Breville Pro(or the Express) Espresso Machine vs Nespresso OriginalLine)
Hello where should i click to access the calculator? i cant find it 🙂
It should be up and running now- just needed an update. The numbers are pre-loaded, but you can click and change them as needed. It will appear below.