Coffee! Is the temple of convenience costing you a small fortune?
1996, my first coffee shop opened in Manchester England. Starbucks were two years away from opening their first Uk coffee store and you had to go to a coffee shop to get a good coffee. Fast forward to today and good coffee shops are still hard to come by but home coffee making is big business.
So having just entered the home coffee making arena I find that I can make good coffee at home at reasonable price and with little or no fuss, so what’s the big deal on how much it costs. Well, I have looked at all the ways in which I used to make coffee at home and compared convenience and price paid, not just in money but in time and effort. After all we live in a ‘I want it now’ society and time is money as they say, or is it?
Instant Coffee. Lets start with instant coffee, it’s quick and convenient made by spraying finely ground coffee into a freeze-dried environment, packaged and used by everyone. 50% of the worlds coffee grown is used for instant coffee. Yes, I used to give my house guests instant coffee and drink it myself! Why? Well, I just could not face having to make coffee again and again after making coffee all day at work. The bus man’s holiday where a bus driver would never choose to go on a bus for his holidays. I did use a cafetière and a stove top moka but only for special occasions. Instant coffee it’s so cheap and convenient, I know it’s not great but it’s all I have. Well as I sell coffee online, I am sensitive to price per kilo. I buy for my business in price per kilo and sell to other businesses in price per kilo and some serious home coffee users buy by the kilo. So, I looked at the equivalent price per kilo and what a shock, I mean what a shock. Now let me make this clear I am not anti-instant coffee, my philosophy on coffee is that you are your own expert in that you like what you like. I’d happily drink an instant coffee if offered. So here it is, you are paying an average of £52 per equivalent kilo for the privilege of easy coffee in an instant. If you were to buy a kilo bag of instant coffee, which even in the catering tins you cannot do, the cashier would till up £52.00! Is that cash or card sir? That is a super-premium price for the privilege of being able to make a, let’s face it, bog standard cup of joe. Worth it? Please don’t take my word for it, just look in the supermarket or online the equivalent price per kilo has to be listed. So, in the temple of convenience of home coffee making it’s super quick, super expensive and not very fulfilling of making coffee.
Filter Coffee. We have seen it on all the cop shows the guy picks up the glass pot pours it into his cup, grimaces but keeps going. I went through a phase of using a filter machine at home and I liked it. The coffee tasted fresh and was hot. Now I knew to pre warm my cup before putting any hot beverage into it. Cold cups kills coffee we say and it’s true. So why did I stop? Well, I loved the smell of the coffee brewing but I needed that coffee shop taste and I gradually stopped using it. I would highly recommend filter instead of costly, and poor tasting instant. Filter coffee is by far the most economical way to produce a decent hot long coffee in the home. What I mean is in a big mug. You will pay a minimum of £11.00 per equivalent kilo in a supermarket and get a decent coffee. The new bean to cup filter machines now produced mean that you can make one cup super-fresh and not waste a bean. More on these machines later. I was spending the kilo equivalent of £30.00 per kilo but I liked the coffee. Better than instant and way cheaper.
Cafetière or French Press. Very similar to filter in taste and about the same value. If you want a long hot coffee, these are great, smell great and you know what, now you are taking a little time to ‘get it on’ so to speak. This is where I think a bit of appreciation for the ritual of making and drinking coffee holds value. What’s the rush, kick back and enjoy the vibe. Good value expect to pay between £11 in a supermarket to £30 for a boutique blend per equivalent kilo.
Stove Top Moka. Now this is the daddy of ritualised delicious home coffee making. It’s messy it’s temperamental and it take time. Oh yes you have to be committed to use a Moka pot every day. I did use this and the coffee was delicious every time. I learned to make latte by hand frothing hot milk, Americano, which a long black or white coffee, by adding off the boil hot water. As for cost well you would be mad to waste your time on cheap beans, but if you pay £25 per equivalent kilo, you will get brilliant value for money as well as amazingly delicious coffee, well worth the effort but not very convenient. You can use pre ground coffee also again brilliant value for money I highly recommend that you try this at least once in your coffee drinking life.
Pod Coffee. So, I’m not for or against it I just think it is a bit like digital music. I can and do listen to it but I know that vinyl is really the real thing. It is also very costly in equivalent price per kilo. In the temple of convenience this method is very good, quick clean and tastes alright. What’s not to love about pod coffee is the price. Per equivalent kilo can be as much as £138 per kilo! Expect to pay between £30 to £50 per equivalent kilo, yes, they are convenient but the setup is similar to the printer cartridge model. The printers are sold at sometimes less than cost as it’s the cartridge that holds the value for the seller. Worth it? No not for me I’d rather hand make a coffee than use a pod. It’s no coincidence that the average Equivalent price per kilo matches instant coffee as it’s the same players selling the same thing. Granted the pod is miles better than instant so there is a plus side to pod coffee.
Bean to cup machines. This is the type of machine I have purchased for myself, after 25 years of refusing to make coffee at home I now love making coffee at home. Yes, I use my own beans but that is in fact the best barometer for me as I know how good I can make my coffee in my business. Not only does it make very good coffee it is also very cost effective and versatile. A bean to cup machine grinds the beans then deposits into a basket, compresses it then pushed water through. Hey presto good coffee. I can make espresso, latte, cappuccino and a long black or Americano. Pre-warm my cup and it’s very close to the best I can do with my commercial machine and grinder at work. Cost effective? Yes, I spend £25 per actual kilo on a boutique coffee and there is no waste even the grinds can and do go on the garden. The cost of the machines is higher than the rest and are from £300 to £2,700. Mine was £350. That seems a lot to pay but before you turn away think on how much just instant coffee or pod coffee is costing you over a year? There is a higher up-front cost but over the course of a year I recon this ticks all the boxes for me. Great taste, adjustable strength, super quick and convenient. With the right beans you will never look back.