How Do You Like Your Coffee?

by AJ Pettersen · 22 comments

The warmth in the morning followed by the energy later makes coffee the drink of choice for people across the world. Coffee comes in many flavors, varieties and prices. Coffee can be obtained in a number of places. Many love to pick it up at their favorite coffee shop on the way to work, some brew the old fashioned way, while others use new machines, such as Keurigs to make their favorite cup of Joe. When you wake up in the morning and need a fresh cup, where do you turn?

The Old Fashioned Way

For years people have made coffee in coffee pots. This is the cheapest way to enjoy your brew in the morning, but it also requires the most work of any of your options.

For about $12 I can buy a 33 ounce tub of Folgers Medium Roast. This yields up to 270-6 ounce cups of coffee. Assuming I put in a little more than a scoop each time I could round to 250 cups. Assuming I don’t waste any, this is about 5 cents per cup of coffee. I like to have about 2 cups each morning, so this option would cost me about $36 per year. Factoring the cost of a quality coffee maker at about $75, the first year would cost me $111. That’s less than 30 cents a day to enjoy my favorite drink.


These new age machines brew a single cup anywhere from 6-12 ounces. Premade Keurig cups are loaded into the machine, the machine quickly warms the water reservoir and brews a hot cup. This leads to almost zero wasted coffee and the taste of the coffee is a little better than that from the coffee pot (in my opinion). My fiancé got one of these as a present last year and I fell in love with it.

The basic Keurig brewer is currently priced at $110 at Amazon. A typical price for a box of 18 K-cups is around $11. This means brewing 2 cups with the Keurig costs 61 cents, over a full year that equates to about $220. The first year of the Keurig would cost me $370.

Coffee Shop

This is where things start to get expensive. If you enjoy the taste of coffee from the café down the street, you are going to have to pay a hefty price. Assuming you get regular coffee at about $2 for 12-16 ounces, you will pay $730 a year. If you get a specialty drink every day on the way to work, you are looking at over $1000 spent on your coffee drinking each year. Does it taste that much better?

What is Your Best Option?

In college I always brewed from a pot. We purchased a $12 pot from Target and it got the job done. Generic Folgers coffee was always okay with me. Over the past few years I have begun to notice the difference between a quality cup of coffee and something brewed out of an old, cheap pot, though.

If you currently purchase your coffee every morning from a coffee shop, you may want to reconsider your options. I find a cup of Keurig brewed coffee to be equal to Starbucks. You could cut your coffee costs in half the first year by switching from the coffee shop to a Keurig.

How do you like your coffee in the morning?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • JC says:

    If you’re drinking the cheap, junky folgers and maxwell house, get rid of your drip brewer and get an old-school percolator. Those coffees taste great with a percolator.

    The only time I use a drip brewer is when guests want coffee and they’re not picky. When I want it for myself, I make it with a french press or my coffee syphon (with a glass rod filter and no metal at all ever touching the brew) depending on if I want a heavy or light cup. The syphon is much better for a light cup, the press much better for a heavy, thick cup.

    At work I sometimes use the keurig thing, but most of the coffee pods are terrible. The kenyan stuff isn’t bad.

    At the diner in the local farmer’s market, they only serve maxwell house through a drip… so I just sweeten it to excess and accept it as the beverage one drinks with bacon and hash browns.

  • Alan says:

    There is only one way to truly bring out the flavor and aroma of coffee, and that’s with a press pot (often called the French press)

    NO paper filters to strip away the aromatic oils, NO maintaining the heat, just grind some beans, tip the grinds into the pot, add hot (not boiling) water, let brew for 3-4 minutes, depress plunger and pour into your cup/s. Ideally use a tea-strainer over the cup to catch any wayward grinds.

    Once you’ve experienced a week with a press pot the idea of going back to a percolator or any other method seems plain stupid. The press is the purest, most simple way to experience everything your beans are capable of.

    If you use any fancy machine, or buy your coffee already as a powder then you’re just not really drinking coffee; you’re drinking a coffee substitute.

    Tip – use a little hand grinder (very cheap) or be prepared to spend a small fortune on the grinder, as the grinder is much more important than any machine or pot. You want EVEN grinding, no powder.

  • Frugal Joe says:

    McDonalds has great coffee, I get a cup about once every three weeks. With a cup you can get unlimited refills. I get free coffee until the cup no longer holds coffee. I have even stopped off at two or three McDonalds on the way home from work to fill a thermos for the next day. Thats why I am Frugal Living Joe.

    • Jean says:

      I’ve had quite the opposite experience at my local McDonald’s and have since stayed away from the coffee but perhaps I should give it another try, or at a different outlet maybe.


  • Jean says:

    I rarely go to the coffee shop as I never saw the point of paying that much for something which I can’t really justify taste wise. I usually just brew up a cup of instant coffee or cappucino at home and enjoy it with a cake or cookies.


  • Francesca says:

    I very seldom drink coffee, I prefer hot tea with lemon and honey. But my husband makes a pot of 12 cups once a week and it lasts him all week as he may only drink two cups a day. After it cools he puts it in the fridge and each day he heats it in the microwave by the cup. We use a Mr. Coffee that we purchased for $19.00 four years ago and the coffee we use is Folders which we buy for about $8.99 for three lbs. Also, on days when we have to go to the grocery we can get coffee from their coffee machine free.

  • Louis says:

    I use a Technivorm drip coffeemaker. It is best one you can buy. It heats the water to correct temp every time, and makes perfect coffee every time.

    I grind the beans with a Baratza Maestro Plus grinder each morning with whatever the best beans that are cheap, usually Guatamalan or Sumatra, and Costa Rican when I can find it. No coffee shop has yet improved upon what I can make at home, and for way less money.

  • Marbella says:

    We Swedes drink the most coffee in the world, myself I drink 2 liters a day. it must be fresh and strong coffee. We make coffee at home, it will be cheaper and the coffee in coffee shops tastes like shit.

    • J says:

      I read ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’. Good story, but I noticed just about every chapter they were putting coffee on. I thought… “These Swedes must be wired all the time!”

  • Christine says:

    A while ago we had two coffee machines – one for my regular brew and one for my husband’s decaf. Needless to say there was wasted coffee. I’d put the leftover regular into a mason jar in the frig for iced coffee, but it just wasn’t as good.
    At Christmas my son gave us a Keurig machine as a gift. I was inclined to bring it back but we didn’t want to hurt his feelings. It does make great coffee. BUT the K cups are costly. Solution? Buy one of the attachments that allows you to use your own coffee in the machine. No more waste. No more pricey K cups.

  • Marcia says:

    I started drinking coffee a couple of years ago at age 40. I drink 1 cup per day at work (most days), and brew my own at home (about 2 cups, part regular part decaf).

    At $8/lb from Trader Joe’s, I calculated $0.43 per cup.

  • Charlotte@EverythingFinance says:

    I don’t drink coffee, but my husband brews a pot every morning. He drinks a cup or two before he leaves for work and then takes the rest with him. He has never cared for Starbucks. He says it taste burnt. They have to heat it up so much so that it will still be hot after they add all the flavors.

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More says:

    I never liked coffee. I am sure I could add a bunch of stuff and get used to it but I rather not get an acquired taste that costs money. The caffiene would be nice sometimes but why start what would probably wind up being an addiction due to the caffiene.

  • Kathryn C says:

    I can’t really drink coffee anymore, it gives me heartburn. Like 1 second after I take a sip. It’s a disaster.
    So now I drink green tea. zzzzzzzzzz. Since I’ve stopped drinking coffee I think I’m less funny and just generally a little boring. It’s a problem. Seriously.

  • david says:

    Actually I LOVE my coffee. I roast my own beans (and have for years) and make my dry cappuccinos at home. At one point I calculated my “specialty” drinks at <$1.00/day. Recently I upgraded my roaster and espresso maker so for the next year it will cost me a little more. That said however over the long haul it will be cheaper than hitting the local coffee stand or using the Keurig my wife loves so.

  • jeff says:

    I grind my own beans from Trader Joe’s (anything dark or extra dark roast) and brew in a Bodum Chambord French Press ($16 at Target). This makes much better coffee than any coffee maker I’ve tried.

  • Justin @ The Family Finances says:

    I drink my morning coffee from the coffee pot in the break room at work. It definitely isn’t the best tasting, but it’s free.

  • Vanessa says:

    I brew a pot of coffee at home for my morning coffee and sometimes bring a cup to work/school (depending on what time I start my day at). If I don’t bring a cup to go, I usually stop at a coffee shop and get a cup for 2$ — then throughout the day I will either have a few cups from the free coffee machine in the lobby, drink a few cups of tea, or go back to the coffee shop. Every day is different and so I can’t definitvely say what my coffee habits are!

  • M Meagher says:

    I brew my own coffee at home and take a thermos style cup with me. But the best news is that my local bank (actually several local banks) have a Keurig coffee system in the lobby. It’s for customers just like me. I get a nice fresh cup of coffee and it doesn’t cost me a dime. Don’t know how long it will last but I’m riding the java wave while it’s available.

  • kathleen says:

    I am good about brewing my morning cup at home with great beans from a mini chain of coffee shops. My challenge though was when I had a mid afternoon coffee craving. I kept going out to Dunkin Donuts for a small or medium coffee. I finally bought the Mr. Coffee version of a Keurig for my office. It’s super basic so it only cost $75. It is a splurge (especially when you factor in Green Mountain K cups), but I figure the time and money I’m not spending going to Dunkin is sort of off set by this purchase.

  • Daisy @ Add Vodka says:

    I’ve never really looked at the cost of coffee, but I brew it from home. I maybe get coffee out once a month if I’m really dragging, but I’ve taken to making tea at work, so it’s cheaper too.

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