How power hungry is your coffee hobby?

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#1: Post by cgfan »

In the current realm of increased energy consciousness, I decided to dust-off my handy "Kill-A-Watt" home energy monitoring device to measure how much power various appliances in my home consumes. Since I just started this I have little data, but what I did collect surprised me quite a bit.

"Kill-A-Watt" home energy monitor...

As everyone knows one of the big culprits in home energy consumption is the refrigerator/freezer. So I monitored that first and used it as a reference. For the purposes of this post I also monitored my Expobar Brewtus I and a electric always-on 2.4 Liter hot water dispenser pot I use for brewed coffee, tea, and cooking. (The Expobar is on a 7-day timer, which goes on for a few hours during the week and around 4 hours on weekends... I've also installed some after-market insulation on its twin-boilers.) Here are my rather surprising results: (Note: all measurements are in true power [power-factor-corrected] terms)

Refrigerator/freezer * monitored over 34 days * 88 Watts avg. consumption

Expobar Brewtus I * monitored over 63 days * 29 Watts avg. consumption

2.4 Liter always-on hot water pot * monitored over 6 days * 47 Watts avg. consumption

First off I was surprised to see how efficient refrigerators have gotten - in my case the equivalent of an always-on 88 Watts light bulb. :D But I was also floored to see what percentage of my power consumption came from my occasionally on dual-boiler espresso machine at 1/3 the power consumption of my refrigerator! :( The power consumption of the hot-water pot I knew would be high, but it still floored me relative to the refrigerator at more than 1/2 the power of the refrigerator, and half as much as the Brewtus I itself! :oops:

So together my coffee hobby is costing me in power consumption the equivalent of an always on 76 Watt light bulb (29+47), more than 85% of the power consumption of my refrigerator.

All in all it let me know where I can probably save some energy, namely in finding an alternative to an always-on hot water pot, though even without that change it's still well worth the $9/month that this power costs me.

But I still would love to find an on-demand counter-top water heater that works off of a cold reservoir and has a reasonably customizable and accurate temperature setting... My guess is that such a combination does not yet exist...

So I'm curious to hear what other people find in their home espresso / coffee setups. Have you measured yours lately? What easy-to-do mitigations have you applied? Have you found the perfect insulating material to insulate your boilers?

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#2: Post by yakster »

I may have to try this, but throw in my Behmor rated at 1630 W and you really increase your energy use.

I've got an electric kettle for pour-over, a La Peppina open-boiler + PID (1100 Watt heating element), and sometimes the stove for vac pot.

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#3: Post by cgfan (original poster) »

Doh! Oh how could I have forgotten - I missed including my coffee roaster in my original post... In my case I profiled my Gene Cafe, but I also own a Behmor which I haven't profiled yet. But as you will see it's not much at all...

Gene Cafe coffee roaster * monitored over a single 12 oz. roast * 0.32 kWh per roast

I used total power consumption since it's used intermittently and so is best measured "per use"... So at my local utility rates this amounts to only $0.03 per roast.

I'll eventually profile my Behmor as well, but I'm guessing it'll be about the same...

So it looks like for me the major components are my espresso machine and my always-on hot water pot.


#4: Post by dialydose »

Why not put the kettle on a timer? I would imagine it heats up pretty fast.

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#5: Post by cgfan (original poster) »

There's an idea. I guess I could get it down to around 50% of my current consumption (by turning it off at night), but I probably can't go much beyond that since my use of it is so unpredictable. The message I got from my own power monitoring is to try to altogether find another solution for the on-demand hot water needs.

But this thread is also here to solicit other user's power consumption numbers. Any takers out there? It'd be very illuminating to compare.

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#6: Post by yakster »

When I first started roasting with the Behmor (and BehmorThing) in 2009 I was tracking things like KWH. I've since dropped some of the variables I tracked as uninteresting, but I still have the data from 2009, so I looked at the data for 32 roasts (and threw out the top number as it was unreasonable).

The average usage was 0.3 KWH and I graphed the usage against the load size, profile, ambient temperature, and degree of roast. The degree of roast seems to have the most correlation, but the roasts aren't spread equally, there being only two City roasts represented and five Full City+ roasts, and twelve each of the City+ and Full City roasts.


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#7: Post by Mayhem »

The power bill for my small-ish apartment has at least doubled since getting into coffee as a hobby...
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#8: Post by cannonfodder »

A couple months ago I lost my job. You know, I hate that term. I did not lose my job, I know exactly where it is, they just wont let me back in the building. At any rate, coffee became a luxury item I could not afford. So I turned off the A3 for the first time in years. While we took other cost saving measures, shutting down the espresso machine had a larger than expected impact on the electric bill. I had one full months cycle with the machine off while I went to press pot coffee. I will get out the electric bill and look the numbers up but there was a very noticeable drop in power consumption. Thankfully I powered her back up Tuesday (got a new job).
Dave Stephens


#9: Post by erik996 »

I leave my LaValentina on 24/7, and I've noticed about a $20/month increase in my electricity bill.

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#10: Post by Ken Fox »

Certainly there are expenses more essential than the electricity needed to power an espresso machine and associated devices. If I needed to seriously economize, there are many things I would cut out before I would get down to concentrating on my espresso machine and other coffee paraphernalia. In comparison to other hobbies and interests, coffee seems to me to use relatively little energy overall, and it costs very little to maintain once one has made the initial purchases.

If one compares to a hobby like golf or skiing or cars or boats or (any number of other interests) the expenses are minimal and so is the energy usage. Even hiking, one of my favorite things to do in the summer, is only mediocre right where I live, so it requires an hour plus of driving in each direction if one wants to "do it well." I'm sure I use more energy over the course of the year in search of hiking trailheads, than I do with roasting, grinding, and extracting coffee. Even bicycles cost more, if you are really into biking, and have to change your multi-thousand dollar bike every few years, in order to keep up with the latest and greatest (I don't, but I know a number of people who do).

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