Home espresso: equipment price vs cost of coffee - Page 3

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#21: Post by Marcelnl »

hobby's are expensive by definition, if they are not they are a pastime :D
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#22: Post by coyote-1 »

beanman wrote:We can out-do most coffee shops with maybe a $2-4k cost. Anything above that could be justified with ease of use, looks, etc.
I feel coffee is a hobby. Hobbies are an expense, not a cost savings/ROI. If we want it, and can afford it, we spend what we want.
Sure, some number crunching makes us feel good about what we're spending.
What's the break even timeframe for $1000 golf clubs? Probably not one.
Season tickets to your favorite college sports game -- all pleasure and memories, and nothing else.
So feel free to crunch some numbers. Then blend together your savings, the value of better at-home espresso, etc, and spend what you feel is smart for your bank account and retirement account.
I guess it's a hobby. I always thought it was a beverage....

Depending on our parameters, we can often at least equal renowned coffee shops while not spending anywhere near that amount. First off: if milk drinks are your thing AND you make many of them daily then yeah, a double boiler (or other heating system, such as Ascaso Duo) is very likely in your kitchen or in your future. And those are not inexpensive. But if you do one or two espresso shots a day, it can be done with almost any machine.... as long as you're willing to work at it a bit, and perhaps think outside the box a bit.

That, for me, is the hobby aspect of it. How can I get great results from 'minimal' gear? I have this approach with my smart home, which I've given great automations and voice controls and excellent security. All for just a few hundred dollars, with zero subscription costs. I do it with music, where it's about learning to play rather than buying more expensive instruments. A Stradivari sounds no better than a $89 toy violin does in the hands of a bad player.

And it's what I'm doing here. Learning my gear inside and out, modifying it, making the small but necessary monetary investments needed to overcome the limitations of that gear, and then just doing it well. Recent example: I was at Stumptown a few days ago. Had an espresso there that was delicious, and a bit different in overall character than my usual. So I got a bag of what they brewed, which was HairBender. First time I brewed it I got it nearly right. But not only did I get it nearly right that first time, I easily predicted the next step needed to nail it. Which I've done in the two subsequent shots. From my humble gear, it tastes and smells exactly as it tasted in that coffeehouse.

That, to me, is hobby.


#23: Post by Espressofilo »

If I had to find some sort of financial logic to justify expense in new espresso equipment, that would be in amortized yearly expense vs yearly savings for equal pleasure.

Say that you find a pleasure which you measure as "X" in your overall day coffee brews. Now imagine that you would improve this "X" pleasure by either buying "better" (more pleasurable) coffee, or better equipment that gives you more pleasurable coffee.

You might say that you could spend €3000 for new equipment that will loyally serve you for let's say 20 years, and that is $100 per year (no discounting applied).

Would this new gear save you from spending $150 per year, for 20 years, in better coffee to have the same overall satisfaction?

This reasoning ends up making you spend an awful amount of money in espresso gear, of course, but it almost has a financial logic in it.

Thinking about it, cafés apply this logic. They spend thousands in grinders and machines because they have to serve you - in Italy - a 7 gram cup which is perfectly satisfying. I feel better machines extract more goodness from coffee. In order to have a comparable results at home I need to use 14 grams. In the long run, if you are a professional, the saving in coffee makes up for the higher cost in grinder and machine.

This kind of calculation is much easier for French press, pour-over and Turkish coffee lovers, they can spend all their money on a good grinder. Lucky men!

As far as I am concerned, I have my Baby Gaggia from 2001 and I could never justify spending money that I don't have on a better machine, partially because I am very satisfied with it. I have recently bought a new grinder and I took a very expensive - for my purse - one in the expectation that it will last a lifetime and its usefulness will be felt in every cup. One lives only once, they say.

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#24: Post by mrgnomer »

Recently bought a Strega and Ceado on sale for around $4500 CAD. Basing a yearly expense on my daily double shot/lattes that's less than what I'd spend at a cafe. I roast at home and sometimes pick up a bag or two of artisanal roasts per month. Deducting that from my set up cost I'm still in the black by a bit. Add upgraditis stuff and we're creeping into the red. Throw in electricity costs, maintenance costs, milk costs and whatever else costs and the red break even line for the year gets a bit broader. Still, breaking even in just over a year while enjoying better espresso than most cafes are capable of pulling while using fresh home roasts is worth it to me.

Not being pressured into using proprietary language to order a latte, well that's priceless.
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love


#25: Post by Honeycomb »

Buy what makes you happy and what you can comfortably afford. Trying to work the numbers out as a rationalizing tool will do nothing for you.

I certainly wasn't drinking an espresso a day when I did the mental gymnastics on my first machine of "if I drink one espresso a day it'll take x years to pay off?" Today I am drinking an espresso most every day (and a V60 on the others), and enjoying it much more than the analysis paralysis I put myself through of wishing I had a machine :D

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#26: Post by mrgnomer »

Working out ballpark costs is pretty basic and puts espresso commitment into perspective, atleast for me.

I've been into espresso long enough to only be reluctant to pay pumped up prices on standard equipment. Finding good equipment at a good sale price is more motivating than finding good reasons to spend the money. Long term savings on cost investment is something that just helped make the jump into the rabbit hole easier when starting out. Still, it's comforting to know I'm saving a good bit of money in the end anyway.
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love


#27: Post by coyote-1 replying to mrgnomer »

I've never done any endeavor that has spending involved where I did not make calculations as to cost/benefit. I find it difficult to fathom a sentence that says "I want a casual cup of espresso at home, let me run right out and get the trendiest most impressive machine I can find and cost is no object and counter space is no object".

And it seems to me that, even with the most expensive espresso gear available, I see people struggling to get a good shot.

So if there's an unavoidable investment in learning the equipment anyway, and learning virtually any piece of equipment can get you a good shot, the cost/benefit of a $4K machine is nowhere near that of what I have.

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Randy G.

#28: Post by Randy G. »

A quality pair of walking shoes cost less than two tanks of gas, so how can you justify owning a car?

To justify my expenditure on coffee equipment I would have to figure out the value of sitting down with my spouse nearly every morning for 22 years with a cup of coffee I roasted and brewed myself. From that I would subtract what I have spent on equipment. If I did, I estimate that I could afford that Carrera I always wanted.

I suppose that there are many things in our lives we can quantify and justify. But considering our very short time here, why squeeze the enjoyment out of the small pleasures like a cup of coffee with a loved one?
* 22nd Anniversary 2000-2022 *


#29: Post by Milligan »

I think the fact is, if it was a true cost/benefit analysis then one would not drink espresso.

Whether $8000 in equipment is some cost savings over a few drinks a day in a cafe belies the notion that espresso is even needed. At the end of the day, we can all agree whether consumed through a tenuously justified multi-thousand dollar home setup or by way of a barista, espresso is an expensive consumable.

Perhaps the question should be, how do we justify drinking coffee as espresso?

Well for me, because there isn't much else like it and is taste soooooo goooooood :lol: Justification, not needed.

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#30: Post by espressotime »

Marcelnl wrote:I did some math years ago, comparing to nespresso cups as I realized we were burning through over a hundred euro's in coffee each month. The result made me buy a Faemina and used super Jolly, and off into the rabbit hole I went.

Since then coffee became a 'hobby' and cost since that status change are not very important anymore, I'm pretty sure that my setup outperforms most coffee shops in a circle of let's say 100km around me...
A reasonable espresso...takes me at least a 50km drive, a ristretto ...find me a place where I do not need to explain what it is first...so roasting my own and using a machine that'll easily last another 80 or so years makes me think that the cost of the software is the only thing to consider...

I hardly ever buy greens more expensive than 15euro/kilo, buy roasted beans and you're looking at 25-30 euro per kilo easily... sure the roaster cost almost 2K, so what...the final outcome makes me smile 6-7 times a day when I pull shots...priceless :lol:
You live in Groningen? :mrgreen: