Here is how I arrived at those thousand-dollar coffee figures.  It all started with pennies.

A 10-ounce can of decaffeinated Bustelo espresso coffee lasts me and my husband 57 days.  At $5.79 ($1.00 more than regular), that means $0.10 per day.

If you add the cost of milk (we use about 1 cup or 8 oz. for our two coffees at a cost of $0.24), the cost per day goes up to $0.34.

  • Farmland whole milk – $0.03 per oz. (based on a half gallon or 64 oz. for $2.19)

We both use about a teaspoon of sugar per cup which costs about $0.01 per teaspoon, if you buy a 5-lb. bag of sugar.

  • Domino sugar – $0.01 per teaspoon (based on 5 lb. bag at $4.99 which is $1.00 per lb. and $0.06 per oz.)

Now we can’t forget about the cost of the equipment.  My little Krups espresso machine was a wedding present (thanks Tuvana!), but to Krups’ credit, my trusty gadget has never given me problems and the $60 price seems to have remained the same in those ten years.

Let’s say you buy the machine at $60 and you use it every day for one year, it will cost you $0.16 per day.  If you use it for 10 years, like I have, it works out to $0.02 per day.

Wear and tear: During those ten years, I managed break two carafes at the cost of about $17 per carafe — dang! — which adds a whole cent to the machine’s daily operating cost for a grand total of $0.03 per day (over a ten-year period).

In summary, our coffee made at home cost us:

  • Coffee – $0.10
  • Milk – $0.24
  • Sugar – $0.02
  • Equipment – $0.03

Total $0.39 per day for 2 coffees

Now for the comparison with store-bought coffee.

My coffee would probably be considered a cafe’ au lait, but Starbucks only makes a cafe’ au lait with brewed coffee (which they call Cafe’ Misto).  So my cup also resembles their Latte, which is made with espresso, minus the foamy milk.  (I don’t use the foaming mechanism on my machine, which I found too much trouble and not that effective.)

  • Caffe’ Latte – Tall (12 oz.) $3.15  (Espresso with steamed milk and light foam)
  • Cafe’ Misto – Tall (12 oz.) $2.20  (One-to-one mix of brewed coffee and steamed milk)

Since my home-made coffee would land somewhere in between these two drinks, let’s say the cost is halfway between a Latte and a Misto at $2.68.

My husband’s coffee, in his tiny espresso cup and saucer, would be considered an Espresso Macchiato, although admittedly, without that slight layer of foam, it’s not as pleasing.  So let’s knock off $0.50 from the cost of his $1.45 Starbucks macchiato for a total of $0.95.

  • Home cost for 2 coffees – $0.39
  • Estimated Starbucks cost for 2 similar coffees – $3.63
  • Savings per day: $3.24

What about annually?

  • Cost of 2 homemade coffees every day for a year –  $143
  • Cost of similar Starbucks coffees every day for one year – $1325
  • Total savings of homemade coffee per year = $1,183
  • Ten year savings = $11,830

Photo credits:  coffee beans, paper cup.


  • Sherri May 31, 2012, 10:39 am

    I can’t emphasize the points you make enough. If you are constantly on-the-go, try a coffee mug with a press built-in. It basically combines a French press and a travel mug. I recently bought a small one for $5.00 on sale.

    My husband and I are huge coffee snobs, but we don’t need to go to a coffee shop to get great-tasting gourmet coffee. Investing a few hundred dollars in a top-notch coffee setup and brewing it at home is a great way to save money without sacrificing on quality. This guide has a good overview on brewing gourmet coffee at home.

    • Amy June 1, 2012, 10:51 am

      Hi Sherri,

      Great to meet a fellow coffee lover! Thanks for pointing out that article too. I love my simple Krups espresso machine, which we got for $60 when we got married. Still going strong all these years.

      So glad you are with me,


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