Does It Pay to Make Your Favorite Coffee Drink at Home?

Do you come out ahead by buying an upgraded machine and making your coffee at home, or is it more economical to keep visiting your favorite shop? Given all the variables and preferences when you start talking about coffee, this question was a little more difficult to answer than I anticipated.

Are you a latté drinker, or is straight black coffee your preference? If you’d pick a frappuccino over a double shot of espresso, the answer is going to be different. And what about your expectations? Do you want freshly ground beans, or is an espresso capsule acceptable?

We’d be here all week if we dug into every potential coffee drink option, so let’s talk some broad categories.

Coffee

If you’re a daily straight coffee drinker (either black or with cream/sugar) there’s a strong case to be made that a quality drip maker with a built-in grinder would improve your bottom line compared to regular coffee shop visits. At about $2 a cup, even if you only buy a cup every other day, you’re spending about $350-$400 per year on “coffee shop” coffee plus tip. You can upgrade your at-home coffee game (especially if you’re using a Black & Decker with pre-ground coffee!) and come out ahead financially. Amazon has several four-star options in the $150 range. Buy some quality beans in bulk, and you’re in business.

Latté/Espresso

For latté or espresso drinkers, the call is a little tougher to make. If you’re a high-end espresso drinker who wants a top-notch machine (which could easily cost $1,000-plus) and you won’t feasibly be making a drink at home daily, you may be better suited to stick with Starbucks. But if a mid-range machine or one that uses espresso pods wouldn’t make you turn your nose up, you can make a case for switching to an at-home machine. Factoring in the cost of beans and milk, you’re looking at about 400 days (one latté per day) to break even on the cost of your machine (using an average of $600) plus supplies. Past that, you’ll be saving about $1.50 for every latté you make. That can certainly add up. But you must also consider the wear and tear on your machine and potential repairs.

As with anything, the non-money factors are also important to consider. If you’re a social drinker who enjoys chatting with your favorite barista, you meet friends for a latté regularly or your drink of choice changes by the day, you’ll likely be better off sticking to your coffee shop runs. But if you’d rather sip your upgraded latté at home with your dog on a quiet morning, hop on Amazon and poke around. Consider how frequently you buy your latté and assume your at-home overhead per latté may be about $2 a cup plus your machine cost. Depending on your preferences and frequency, you might decide to make a change!

The views contained herein are those of PYA Waltman Capital, LLC, and should not be taken as financial advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any security.

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