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By the author of What School Should Have Taught You and The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.
Let’s say you have something of a coffee addiction. You find yourself reaching for more than just a morning cup of joe on a daily basis, and rising inflation has caused you to realize that you really need to cut back on your costs.
You aren’t willing to cut coffee out of your life completely (and honestly, you can’t cut it out at all), but you are looking for ways to spend less money on your daily habit that will allow you to still imbibe in your morning cuppa without breaking the bank. Here are a few of my thoughts that may just help you to save a bit of money.
You have to ditch the café.
Hands down, this is the first and most important step you will have to take if you are looking at cutting down on your daily coffee habit expense. As of this writing, the price of a medium black coffee at Starbucks is $2.65. Once you add in tax, you’re easily looking at close to $3.00 just for one drink.
If we assume that you hit up Starbucks five days a week for just one coffee per day, you’re easily looking at $53.00/month on your coffee habit. And that’s really a conservative estimate. Most of the people I know that go to the café on a regular basis aren’t going there to pick up plain, black coffee. They’re typically going to get a latte, mocha, americano, or some other type of drink that can easily cost upwards of $5.00/drink.
If you’re looking at spending around $100 a month on coffee and are looking at cutting back on expenses, I think the lesson here is plain: the café has to go. At least on a daily basis, that is.
The store-bought K-Cups have to go.
While a K-cup is most certainly cheaper than a drink from the café, I still think that these are very expensive means of having coffee on a daily basis. You’re easily looking at spending $1.50/K-cup when you go with this method. Most people that I know drink more than just one cup of coffee on a daily basis, so it really wouldn’t be uncommon for somebody to be drinking $4.50 worth of K-cups per day here.
On a monthly basis, that means you would be spending approximately $135.00 per month on K-cups if you’re drinking three per day and are buying the high-dollar K-cups.
That could easily be your electric bill right there.
It’s because of this that I quit using my Keurig. If you insist on continuing to use your Keurig, here are a few alternative ideas:
Check out your local grocery discount store. In my area, we have a place called Ollie’s, not far away. You can often find very inexpensive K-cups there. It will just about never be name brand, but the K-cups come in right around a dollar each, which can be significantly cheaper than what you’ll find at the grocery store.
Order online. Amazon has its own brand of K-cups. These work out to 38 cents per cup.
You can save a lot of money running a Keurig on a daily basis if you use the fill-your-own K-cups. These are little plastic containers that you put grounds into and can reuse. This is easily the most cost-efficient means of running a Keurig on a daily basis.
A canister of Folger’s coffee in Chicago runs right about $9.97 and holds 25.9 ounces. A refillable K-cup canister will hold around 0.4 ounces of coffee. This means you would be able to get about 65 cups of coffee out of that 25.9-ounce Folger’s canister. That, in turn, means each cup of coffee would cost you right about 15 cents.
That’s incredibly cheap and likely one of the cheapest ways to make coffee in your home that you’ll find.
Break out grandma’s drip coffee maker.
You’ll get about 16 full carafes of coffee out of a 25.9-ounce canister of Folger’s coffee if you have a five-cup carafe. There are 734 grams in 25.9 ounces, and you typically use 45 grams of coffee for a five-cup carafe. The new version of this is the , “pour over” coffee system which makes your java for about the same price.
This means that a $10 canister of coffee will net you 80 cups of coffee, meaning you would be paying around 12 cents per cup of coffee. That’s a pretty significant savings. You’d only be spending 36 cents/day (if you drink three cups/day) or almost $11/month on coffee that way. Of course, you have to add the price of filters to this, but this would add about 30 cents to the total cost per month, which is really rather negligible.
Are there other cheap coffee-making methods out there?
What are your thoughts on all this? Have you found another inexpensive means to make coffee at your own home? Definitely check out some of The Frugalite’s other articles on budget-friendly coffee here and here, too, if you’re looking for more advice in this department.
Let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section below!
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.
10 thoughts on “What Is the Cheapest Way to Make Coffee?”
Thanks for the great coffee info, Aden. I use a percolator brewer on the stove that works great. You can use less coffee because the water perks through it over and over, until it reaches the strength you like. The down-side is that it takes a bit longer than a coffee maker or keurig, but I think it’s worth it. I typically leave some of yesterday’s coffee in the pot to heat up in the morning quickly to get me through those first few minutes of waking up. Then, I brew a fresh pot for the day. I have also been extra frugal on occasion and brewed a second pot with the same grinds as the first pot, but adding about another tablespoon of fresh to go with it. It’s not quite as good as a fresh pot, but when money is tight, it’s good enough. The other great thing I’ve found with the percolator is that I can use it when the power is out. Before I had my gas stove top, if the power went out, I’d break out my Coleman stove on the porch and brew up coffee in my percolator for my family and the neighbors. Another frugal approach is that I only buy coffee when it’s on sale and buy enough to last me until the next sale. Coffee can be super expensive, but I’ve found that I really like 8 o’clock brand and it goes on sale frequently at my local grocery store. It tastes better than canned coffee, but isn’t super fancy or pricy – just my opinion and I drink black coffee so taste isn’t hidden with milk or sugar. 🙂
I like espresso for a homemade latte, and I’ve found two great ways to make it. I have a stainless steel stovetop percolator espresso maker that makes 3 servings (great for company or on weekends) and an Aeropress, which is essentially a pour over with manual pressure. Purists will scoff, but my Aeropress makes beautiful, frothy espresso. I buy whole beans at my big club and grind them finely for espresso in the store. I warm some milk while the water heats up and use a small battery-powered milk frother (check discount stores like Home Goods) to whip it for a latte. I haven’t done the math, but a 2 pound bag of high quality ground whole beans costs $10-$12 and lasts me 2 months. Even with a little sugar and 1/2 cup of milk per serving it comes in pretty cheap.
Coffee. I love my cup while greeting God early in the a.m. I love a good tasting coffee and have always gone the route of grinding my own beans and using the insert for the Keruig for the freshest coffee you can make. Once in a while I roast my own beans.
You said, “While a K-cup is most certainly cheaper than a drink from the café, I still think that these are very expensive means of having coffee on a daily basis. You’re easily looking at spending $1.50/K-cup when you go with this method. Most people that I know drink more than just one cup of coffee on a daily basis, so it really wouldn’t be uncommon for somebody to be drinking $4.50 worth of K-cups per day here.”
Don’t be ridiculous, Aden. No one charges $1.50 a k-cup. I shop sales when I can. I got a box of 120 Kroger Donut Shop k-cups for $23.99 last Friday. Twenty cents per cup. Off sale they’re about 25 cents. Costco has their brand for about 27 cents on sale (31 cents/per off-sale).
When I don’t use my Keurig, I use a French Press. Far better than drip, cheaper than pour-over on a cup-by-cup basis, and makes a bold cup of coffee. You don’t need filters, either.
To be fair, if you’re looking at a name brand like Starbucks in a pack of 10, it’s over a dollar at my local store. This is why I order mine online in bulk.
I am only a one cup a day person, so I fill the drip 5 cup coffee maker with filtered water, add 2 T of ground coffee, whatever is on sale. I have 3 days worth of coffee. When I use filtered water, there is no “scum” on the top of the cup, and believe it or not, it tastes just as good on the 2nd and 3rd day.
I have a 30 year old Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. (Might even be older) Still works great, even the clock-timer.
Anyway, I make 6 cups every morning, using well water run through my Berkey.
My last 30 oz. container cost $10.69, but I usually get it on sale for 6-8 bucks. (I was out, horror!)
It lasts ~ 7 months. That works out to less than a penny per cup.
Did I mention I was a cheapskate?
I’m the only one in my house that drinks coffee regularly. We buy roasted beans in bulk, then vacuum seal and freeze them in half-pound increments. I grind as I need them, and use a French Press to prepare my coffee. This lets me keep a decent amount stocked at a relatively low price, prepare only what I’ll need, and have the capability to do so even during a power outage.
We fill our own K-Cups. We then take the grounds and feed them to our compost worms. We then take their castings and use it to grow crops. We also trade castings for other things.
Although I love perked coffee, I don’t have a lot of patience *waiting* for it to perk lol. And for health reasons, I’ve reduced the amount of caffeine via coffee+chicory instant or mixing regular w/decaf. No matter how we make our coffee, we love it.