It was almost 20 years ago, when I was enrolled in college and struggling to make every penny count, that I realized how much I was spending on my daily hit of java. Every day, I would line up at Tim Horton's (Canada's most successful coffee chain) and grab a coffee. Like many coffee enthusiasts, I would do this 2, maybe three times a day. I calculated off the top of my head based on the price of a regular sized cup of coffee at the time ($1.27) and quickly determined that I was spending between $800 and $1,000 dollars in one year... just on coffee... and that was 20 years ago.
Like millions of other people around the world, I love my coffee but to spend that much of my hard earned money just on coffee simply doesn't make any sense. These days, a large cup of coffee is well over 2 dollars. In some touristy areas, the cost might exceed $4 a cup. This happened to me a couple summers ago when I visited a local resort town. I was floored when, after handing over a $5 bill for one cup of coffee, I got back 2 quarters as change. As I already mentioned, I love my coffee but enough is enough.
Actually, I said enough was enough 20 years ago. These days, I brew my own coffee everyday. Using a coffee grinder , I grind fresh beans so that every pot produces the most premium, delicious tasting coffee. I get my beans from Costco which usually costs about $12 a bag and will last me 4 to 6 weeks. Think about that for a second. $12 for enough full pots of coffee every day for more than a month. Adding the cost of fresh water, electricity for your coffee maker, you're looking at a total cost of about $20 to make 30 full pots of coffee every month. Milk and sugar are optional. I personally don't add milk or sugar to my coffee. I sweeten my java with beneficial honey.
I think I can safely say that I've saved about $16,000 since I first calculated how much money I was wasting on coffee. That's a good down payment for a home and more than enough to purchase a good used car. I did exactly that 10 years ago when I used the money I saved up to that point as a down payment on my home.
Once in a while, I'll grab a cup of coffee from the drive-thru if I'm on the road for convenience but now, I usually brew a pot and pour my coffee into a travel mug before I hit the road. The travel mug will keep my coffee hot for up to 2 hours whereas the paper cup from the coffee shop will hold heat for about 20 minute before going cold.
Another thing I should point out is the sales tax you pay every time you buy a cup of java. We're all sick and tired of paying taxes. Some jurisdictions don't have a sales tax but most do. Each time these chains raise their prices, so does the sales tax rise so each time you brew your own coffee, you'll have actually avoided paying any sales tax. Those pennies add up to dollars very quickly.
And now for the most important part of this article, making your very own perfect pot of coffee. The first thing I would do is avoid pre-ground coffee and get into the habit of grinding your own coffee beans. Coffee grinders run around $20 apiece and can be found at your local hardware store. One of the best coffee beans I've tried is the Zavida Organica brand found at Costco. There are a couple of others such as Williams and Blue Mountain coffees which you might pay a few extra dollars for but in exchange, you get flavor you'll never get from the usual coffee chains.
As for the coffee maker itself, you should invest in a premium coffee maker that has slow brew and fast brew settings. To get the prefect pot of coffee, the slow brew method will help you get the results you want so you'll need a few extra minutes of patience until your pot is ready. I use a quarter cup of beans for every full pot I brew. Place the beans in the grinder and grind for 10 to 15 seconds. Be careful not to over-grind your beans or add to much / too little.
Now, for the next part, filtering your coffee. I double filter my coffee using a trick I devised a few years ago. No, I don't use two paper filters. First, I place a metal / plastic reusable filter that I got from the dollar store into the filter basket and over that, I then place a paper filter. Voila! Double-filtered coffee and no grinds at the bottom of the pot. It also makes cleaning up afterwards a lot easier.
Fill the coffee maker's reservoir with fresh water, filtered if possible and add your fresh ground coffee into the filter basket and close the lid. Depending on your coffee maker's settings, set to run a full pot at slow brew. Once the brewer has run its full course, you are ready to enjoy your first fresh ground, home brewed cup of coffee for a fraction of what you'd have paid at the drive-thru. Add milk, sugar, cinnamon to your liking.
I'm sure you'll tell yourself, 'Wow, this coffee tastes delicious!". After today, you'll be on your way to saving thousands over the long run while enjoying the most awesome coffee in the world from your very own kitchen.Who'd have thought that a good cup of coffee and saving money could go hand in hand?
Oh, I almost forgot to add the cost of the coffee filters. I bought a pack of 300 at Costco for about $8. That's going to break my bank!
It might take a bit of practice until you get it right. For instance, you might only want to brew half a pot. In that case, only grind 1/8 cup beans for your brew. If you're really in a hurry, then of course it's ok to use fast brew setting. You'll still get a great cup of coffee.
Finally, for curiosity's sake, estimate how many cups of coffee you buy at your local java hut in a year and add up the cost, which, don't forget, also includes sales tax. Let me know in the comments section what your estimated total is. I'll bet it'll be an eye opener.
Again, regarding the sales tax... I estimated that I paid over $100 just on sales tax in one year (20 years ago). I can buy 8 full bags of fresh coffee beans today at Costco with that $100 which would then last me about 10 months, give or take. Doing the math really is worth the time. It really makes one wonder, 'what else am I wasting my money on?'.
To coffee lovers everywhere, I hope tomorrow's cup of java is your best yet.
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