What's your per cup cost?

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
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#1: Post by Dogshot »

I saw an advertisement for McDonald's recently, and they are selling a coffee and a muffin for $1.39. This prompted me to figure out how much my coffee costs per cup.

My coffee, no milk, is costing me $1.07 per cup, as of today. How much does yours cost?

Here's how I totaled my cost:

I make about 5 per day, 7 days a week, 48 weeks a year = 5x7x48 = 1680 coffees per year

Machine is just over 3 years old, and I paid $1900 for it --- $1900/(1680x3years) = $0.38 per cup (so far)
No mods to my machine, and any repairs were done by me, and parts funded by WLL.

Grinder cost me $700, 3 years ago --------- $700/(1680x3years) = 0.14 per cup

Coffee costs me $16.50 per pound. 1 lb = 454gm, and I use 15gm per coffee; 454/15= 30 cups per lb. So, $16.50/30 = $0.55 of coffee per cup.

Ok, so
Machine = $0.38
Grinder = $0.14
Coffee = $0.55
total = $1.07

Of course, the longer I own the machine and grinder, the lower my costs will be, and so this is a snapshot of my costs today rather than my expected costs overall.

Anyone else interested in contributing their per cup costs? I wonder if I am on the average?

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#2: Post by uscfroadie »

I take it the 48 weeks is due to being out of town/away from home 4 weeks out of the year?

Good breakdown...and the major selling point is that you are enjoying great coffee at home as opposed to swill at $2.50 - $3.50 a cup from Mc D's/Starchucks.

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#3: Post by LordFoo »

If you want to get a more accurate ballpark figure, I'd round up a bit to accommodate inflation ($2600 equipment cost three years ago is more like $2750 today), electricity (~$0.07/kWH in Toronto, or about 3-6 cents per cup [based on 200W average usage, 10-20 hours per day]), water if you own your home, etc.

Of course, this only matters for the purposes of analysis -- these costs are all negligible compared to the immeasurable value of enjoying fresh coffee made properly in the comfort of your own home :)

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#4: Post by EricL »

Plus, to do a real apples to apples comparison, McDonalds wouldn't be in the mix. Nor would Starbucks. Unless that's what you are already drinking. Mine would be to compare it to a couple trips a day down to my local cafe. And they only pull Vivace Vita, so milk based drinks are the primary output. And while they do have a 2 group synesso, the skill of the barista's runs from good to 'why are you here?'.

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#5: Post by Dogshot (original poster) »

I was not actually comparing my costs to McDonalds' directly. I'm not at all interested in comparing it to the closest alternative. I was just relating what captured my interest in finding out how much are my current costs.

Sure, there are a lot more variables - electricity, the cost of my time, my tamper & assoc. paraphernalia, the interest on saving that money instead of spending it... I intentionally focused on the biggest ones to keep the calculation simple and yet still somewhat meaningful. Absolute accuracy is not a primary goal here.

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#6: Post by bgn »

The analysis of cost of investing for home brewing vs. buying coffee in cafes is interesting, but, I think, hard to do realistically. For example, a cost analysis based on a home brewer who makes 5 cups a day at home, would that same person really buy 5 cups a day if he could not make it at home? Also, for home brewing, especially if cost analysis is compared to a shop like McDonalds, I think a $15 french press with fressh coffee would fair just as well in the taste category as a $2000 espresso machine. I agree that to brew at home has cost advantages and adds the fun of a great hobby, but to do the analysis to justify several thousand dollars of investment to brew coffee at home seems unwarranted to me. I'd love to have an expensive machine, but 2K for a coffee brewer at home is a lot of cash no matter how you cut the pie.

Dogshot (original poster)
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#7: Post by Dogshot (original poster) »

OK. How about this...

The cost of what we do to make our espresso is way out of line with the cost of obtaining coffee through just about any other means. In fact, the only relevant thing to compare it to is what similar others are spending on their coffee-making at home.

And so, I am curious to know what similar others (i.e., other HBers) are currently spending per cup?

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#8: Post by sweaner »

I don't think you should add in the machine and grinder costs. That seems to assume that for each cup you are removing value from those machines, which you are really not. At least to that degree.

I once calculated the cost of being a member of a Country Club. I wasn't golfing much, and my cost was $150....PER HOLE! :shock:
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#9: Post by malachi »

Your model assumes 0 waste.
That's unrealistic unless you are the world's greatest barista.
Even if you're willing to drink any and all shots - you're still going to have some waste.

For example - I'd calculate my average daily waste as follows:
for 3 doubles - on average 1.5 shots tossed (adjusting the grind, seasoning the machine, etc)
for each double - on average 1 gram overfill

I'd calculate my "new coffee swap" waste as around 25 grams of coffee (trapped grounds, left overs, etc) per lb.
What's in the cup is what matters.

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#10: Post by Dogshot (original poster) »

If waste is relevant for your calculation, and in your case I am not surprised that it is significant, then by all means please include it.

I waste little, and my per lb cost of coffee is an average, so my waste assumption fits into the coffee cost.

Sweaner, don't listen to what your Diedrich roaster is whispering in your ear :D . I think the cost of the machine is relevant. Including it does not remove value, it includes it. Ultimately, you will sell or scrap your machine, and if you know how many coffees you made with it and your total machine cost, then you can realistically say how much it cost you to make a cup of coffee using that machine. Also, it makes sense to me that someone who makes 5 coffees a day on their 10 year-old Gaggia will have lower costs per cup than someone who makes 2 coffees a day using their GS/3.

I don't golf, but I thought that $150 a hole is about right?

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