How much money are you really saving when you brew your own coffee? Low-quality beans are obviously cheaper than a Starbucks latte, but that’s not really the comparison we are interested in. Can we get high-quality coffee at home for less than the price of regular coffee from our local cafe?
I decided to take a look at a range of coffee options to determine what my real cup of coffee cost is. While I was at it, I put together a handy calculator that you can use to determine your coffee costs and how much you are saving by ditching the daily Starbucks habit.
How Much Is a Cup of Coffee?
When you brew it at home, the price of coffee is really just the cost of coffee grounds. Sure, you need to pay for water and electricity, but those are negligible by comparison.
In a later section, I’ll show you a calculator that you can use to determine example how much a cup of coffee costs when you brew it. But first, let’s look at some rough estimates.
A mid-range bag of Arabica coffee beans costs about $12 per pound. Assuming you brew at a 1:15 coffee-to-water ratio — which is about right for a strong drip coffee — that pound of ground coffee will make about 28 cups of coffee.
So one cup costs about $12 / 28 = $0.43.
Now let’s say that you are a 2 cup per day drinker. That means you’ll be spending about $0.86 per day or $314 per year on coffee.
Ethically sourced or single-origin coffee will likely cost closer to $25 per pound in many cases, which would mean $0.89 per cup or $652 per year for that same 2-cup drinker. Those extra few cents can go a long way toward making sure that coffee farmers earn enough profit to live off of.
But let’s say that you want something fancier. Suppose that you want to try high-quality, authentic Kona coffee beans. That will probably cost around $100 per pound of coffee.
Using the same math, that means that you’d be paying $3.57 per cup or — for a 2 cup per day drinker — $2,606. Then again, ‘m not exactly expecting that any of us drink Kona year-round, as much as we would love to.
Let’s look at one more coffee price point for comparison. Cafe Bustelo, a popular Cuban-style coffee brand, costs roughly $6.50 per pound.
One cup of Cafe Bustelo coffee, then, would cost $0.23 to brew at home. At 2 cups per day, you could get a. year’s worth of Cafe Bustelo for $168.
Wrapping up all of those prices, a cup of coffee can cost
- For low-to-mid-range coffee: $0.20–0.40 per cup ($145–190 per year for 2 cups a day)
- For ethically sourced or single-origin coffee: $0.80–1.00 per cup ($580–730 per year for 2 cups a day)
- For very high-end varieties like Kona: $3.50–4.00 per cup ($2,500–2,900 per year for 2 cups a day)
Coffee Cost Comparison
We need something to compare to, and the obvious choice is the coffee that people buy at their local coffee shops or at a chain like Starbucks or Dunkin.
Fortunately, I didn’t need to survey a bunch of people to find out how much they are paying for coffee because Square’s 2019 coffee report already took care of it.
According to that report, the average price a consumer pays for a cup of regular coffee is $3.13. Even if we assume that these are predominantly 16-ounce coffees, that’s the equivalent of $1.57 for an 8-ounce cup.
Compared to coffee beans brewed at home, that’s roughly four times the price!
How Much Does Coffee Cost at Starbucks?
- Tall (12 ounces) — $1.85 ($1.23 per 8-oz cup)
- Grande (16 ounces) — $2.10 ($1.05 per 8-oz cup)
- Venti (20 ounces) — $2.45 ($0.98 per 8-oz cup)
If you buy one grande coffee a day, that’s about 2.5 times the cost of the coffee you’ll get from $12 per pound coffee beans — and those home-brewed beans will taste much better than Starbucks coffee!
If those prices look low, remember that we aren’t talking about more expensive types of coffee like a latte or cappuccino, just regular coffee. This is also a nation-wide average, and the price may be higher in cities where the cost of labor
How Much Does Coffee Cost at Dunkin?
Maybe you aren’t a Starbucks drinker. I’m more likely to stop by a Dunkin if I need a quick cup of coffee on the road, so let’s look at their typical prices.
- Small (10 ounces) — $1.81 ($1.45 per 8-oz cup)
- Medium (14 ounces) — $2.15 ($1.23 per 8-oz cup)
- Large (20 ounces) — $2.38 ($0.95 per 8-oz cup)
- Extra large (24 ounces) — $2.61 ($0.87 per 8-oz cup)
Yep, the average Dunkin coffee is actually about the same cost per ounce as a Starbucks coffee, although it’s slightly more expensive at the small end and slightly cheaper at the large end.
Coffee Cost Calculator
What Is the Cost of Pod Coffee?
Keurigs, Nespresso, and other pod coffee makers are becoming increasingly popular, and their per-cup cost is very different from a standard drip coffee maker since you are buying pods or capsules instead of beans.
Now, these numbers are going to be assuming that you are using the standard pods. If you get a reusable pod, then the per-cup cost is essentially the same as a drip coffee maker.
You can buy K-cups for as low as $0.30–0.40 per pod. However, some of the higher-quality k-cups — including the strongest coffee k-cups — can cost as much as $1.50 per pod.
Per cup cost is easy here since one pod makes one cup. At the low end, you’ll be spending about $0.30–0.40 per cup or $220–290 per year for a 2 cup per day drinker.
If you prefer the fancier pods, you could end up spending as much as $1.50 per cup or $1100 per year. Of course, that’s assuming you drink only the fancy ones, and it’s still cheaper than a Starbucks habit.
Nespresso pods cost
Nespresso pods come in two types, each for a different line of machines: OriginalLine and VertuoLine. The Nespresso VertuoLine uses a barcode reading system that prevents third parties from creating capsules, so you are forced to buy just the Nespresso-brand pods. The OriginalLine, on the other hand, has a wide variety of third-party pods available, often at lower rates.
The Nespresso brand pods are about the same price for either line, so we’ll look at those together.
The Nespresso-brand capsules for both the OriginalLine and VertuoLine machines cost about $0.70–1.10 per cup or roughly $500–800 per year if you drink 2 cups per day.
If you buy the third-party OriginalLine pods, you can spend as little as $0.30 per cup or $220 per year for 2 cups a day. That’s about the same as the low-end pricing for Keurig pods.
Less Money, Better Coffee, Happy You
The money you can save by making your own coffee is huge. You could save enough in a year to buy a mid-tier espresso machine. Or you could spend it on something that isn’t coffee-related, I guess.
Even good quality ethically sourced or single-origin coffee beans are cheaper than a Starbucks habit. And let’s be honest, most of us aren’t sticking with plain black coffee when we go to Starbucks.
For the price you are paying for that latte, you could easily be sampling a range of coffees from around the world. Doesn’t that sound like a better way to live your best coffee life?