Are you frothing at the mouth to get out of debt? If so, your coffee habit maybe the way to kickstart your savings plan. Coffee is the thing many people crave first thing in the morning to get their day started off on the right foot. Here’s the thing. Coffee isn’t only desirable in the morning. People gotta get their java throughout the day, into the evening, and even at night. It is the largest traded commodity behind crude oil. Americans spend in excess of  $12 billion on coffee sales annually. If gourmet coffee is your pleasure, then you could be spending more than you care to know. 

If the best things come in the form of morning cup of coffee, and your day is maladjusted until you’ve had at least one cup, you are not alone.

What is your coffee experience? Does it include Sanka, Folgers, drip coffee, or something else? Coffee is a big deal, and so many people leave home to tantalize their tongue with a gourmet experience they don’t know they can achieve right in their own kitchens. In the US people rush from home to stop by any of the big three: Starbucks, Dunkin’, or McCafe. They yearn for the perfectly roasted beans at the right color, the right flavor, and the “just so,” taste on the tongue that they pay [too much] for. It’s the gourmet experience they pay for, but they miss the relaxation of the “at home” experience.

Gourmet coffee is a “thing”. Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks are spending millions to keep up with the growing trend.

Chris Fuqua, Dunkin’s Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing said:

“Coffee culture in the country is getting a little bit more sophisticated by the day,”

… And…

“Customers really understand what craft coffee beverages are.”

Dunkin’ recently released its cold brew and Starbucks introduced its Nitro Cold Brew. Home made, home brewed drinks are coming to the home front for a pleasurable experience, and we’re not talking about beer. “Forward thinking coffee drinkers”, (yes, that is becoming a term), meet home beer brewers, for a new “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights”, experience, (Hello, Meatloaf), that is not legal anywhere but at home.  

Both companies see gourmet coffee as a key part of its future success.

Gourmet coffee is also present in the healthy forum. The buttered coffee trend, combined with mycotoxin-free beans, grass fed butter, and MCT oil, pioneered by Bulletproof CEO Dave Asprey is catching on. Bulletproof recently celebrated its cutting edge healthy brew by opening a standalone brick-and-mortar opening in Santa Monica, CA. If you like ghee, or grass fed butter you can enjoy Kerrygold at $2.79 per 8 oz. at a variety of stores. Upper end could cost $3.99. If you can’t mistake the Bulletproof quality for lesser ingredients, then keep on keepin’ on. The benefits are there. But, if you are okay with arabica beans, which are resistant to mycotoxins, and okay with shopping your own ingredients online (Hello, Amazon), then enjoy the same experience and rivalrous quality, at a much lesser price.

Cost Beans MCT oil Coconut oil 100 % Ghee Total:
Bulletproof $1.29 $0.53 $0.25 $0.81 $2.88
Generic Ingredients $0.95 $0.27 $0.25 $0.19-$0.53 $1.66-$1.99

But, gourmet coffee comes at a high price. Bulletproof is at the high end, at a retail price of $4.25 for a small cup, before add-ins at the Santa Monica brick-and-mortar shop.  I agree with its benefits, and there’s no way I am willing to pay that price for a retail cup, or for its components, no matter how good it is for me. For the rest of this article I am following the Starbucks pricing menu as a median gourmet pricing structure.

Have you analyzed what gourmet coffee is costing you? The chart below may help.

Price of various of gourmet coffees

At-Home Gourmet Starbucks Keurig
Beans Specialty Milk Beans + Milk Cappuccino Iced Coffee Caffe Latte K cup pod
Price $0.19 per 2 oz $0.12 per 2.5 oz $0.31 $3.65 $2.65 $3.65 $0.80
30 day total $5.70 $3.60 $9.30 $109.50 $79.50 $109.50 $24.00

Assumptions: Starbucks, grande size (16 oz.), used unless otherwise noted.

Regular milk is at least half the price of specialty milk.

I’m a bit of a coffee snob. That means I love the coffee experience. It’s a relaxing event for me, to slow down and sip from that cup. I analyze everything from the beans, to the milk, to the sugar. It all matters because it all makes a difference in the experience.  If you are a coffee snob too you may enjoy lactose free milk options like almond, or soy. I enjoy almond milk in my morning brew. There are plenty of sugar options too: honey, agave, coconut sugar, raw cane sugar, stevia, or the good old-fashioned white sugar. If you prefer other options please comment and share your pleasure of add-ins (the above includes regular white sugar, which is so cheap, and I use less than 1/2 teaspoon, I didn’t include a cost for it).

We’re trying to get out of debt here. So, let’s explore how to create additional cash flow while working a plan to save money. It won’t happen by buying a commercial grade espresso machine and opening a coffee shop, at least not without creating a lot of debt first. If your goal is a commercial-type coffee experience without the retail price, then this is where we come full circle. You can have the same quality at home, for a fraction of the price, while saving the retail at-the-counter cost and reinvesting the difference to better your financial freedom. Keeping your choice add-ins at home and buying a couple of startup items could help you put less money into your brew, and brew your saving plan to be debt free.

Startup cost

Start up equipment Cost
Moka Pot $27.01
Nespresso Frother $82.93
Total $109.94
Nespreso milk frother
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Nespresso milk frother

moka pot
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Moka pot

Follow those links to order yours on Amazon. Okay, that’s a month worth of cappuccino, but if you are stopping at Starbucks for your morning fix, then you are spending that every month. I have both of those products at home because my spouse and I both enjoy cappuccino, and we aren’t willing to pay the Starbucks price.

If you are married, and both coffee lovers, you spend nearly $220 on cappuccino at Starbucks each month–and that’s if you only have one cup. The average American drinks 3 to 5 cups each day, so hopefully you are supplementing this habit somewhere other than Starbucks. Look at the results:

Cost per cup/Savings to pay down debt

1 cup 2 cups 3 cups 4 cups 5 cups more
Starbucks – Cost per cup $3.65 $7.30 $10.95 $14.60 $18.25 $@!%$
30 day total cost $109.50 $219.00 $328.50 $438.00 $547.50 Are you for real?
Cost of beans + milk $0.31 $0.62 $0.93 $1.24 $1.55 $1.86 +
30 day cost $9.30 $18.60 $27.90 $37.20 $46.50 $55.80 +
30 day savings $100.20 $200.40 $300.60 $400.80 $501.00 You’re intensely saving!!!

If you only buy 1 cup per day you are instantly saving $100 each month. If you have a spouse, or buy 2 or more cups of coffee at Starbucks a day, then you can’t afford not to make this initial investment. You’re on the road to saving $200 each month, $2,400 annually, by investing a little time at home and investing your savings in getting out of debt. When the best cappuccino is available at home–why go anywhere else?

Okay, you love coffee, but you’re short on time in the morning. I get it. Mornings are hectic, especially if you have a family and the unpredictability of kids thrown into the mix. What if I told you that in the 8 minutes you spent in the Starbucks drive through, you could have your very own gourmet experience at home? That’s all it takes–8 minutes–the amount of time it takes to boil water.

I grind the beans the night before, premeasure them, and put them in a plastic container, in the freezer. While I am locking down the house at night I fill the moka pot to the water line and have it waiting for morning. When preparing breakfast for the family, or finishing packing lunches I am also brewing the most delectable part of my day. By the time I hear the espresso brewing I turn off the burner and hit the button on the milk frother so that they are ready at the same time. I love the sip more than I can put into words, so while the kids eat breakfast I am sipping on the paradise dream of gourmet coffee that affords me the possibility to get through the day. If you are a coffee connoisseur you understand the dream, and how the experience sets your day into perfect motion.

If you consume serious amounts of coffee, it may take sacrifice in the first month to curb your habit long enough to cash flow the startup equipment. Make the initial investment so that you can save passionately. You might also be saving time by enjoying a shorter work commute, and fuel costs by not idling in the Starbucks drive through that not accounted for here.

Homemade gourmet cappuccino
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My homemade gourmet coffee.

If this is all too snobby for your coffee preference then you aren’t alone. At more than $12 billion annually this business isn’t going away anytime soon, but its trends could be changing right before our eyes. Can you really taste the gourmet difference? A recent taste test stumped Today show hosts Al Roker, Matt Lauer, and Savannah Gutherie. They preferred the cheap stuff over gourmet. If your tastes are similar to theirs then the expensive stuff tastes “bitter”, and when a higher cost is indicative of a higher quality the bitterness left a bad taste in their mouths. If $1 or so a cup delights your taste buds, then you may opt to stay our of Starbucks and enjoy greater saving potential than is presented here.

Please comment below with your preference: Gourmet, or deli coffee, and why.

Related articles: A healthier coffee

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