Coffee consumption is on the rise in the US. In a recent survey, 64 percent of Americans age 18 and up stated they had at least one cup of coffee the previous day. Based on data from the US Census Bureau, that means that around 150 million people had a cup of joe.
When it comes to making your own coffee, there are quite a few options. You can grind your own beans, buy ground coffee, or opt for convenient pods. But, when it comes to getting a quality cup of coffee, which option is most cost-effective? Are certain coffeemakers better than others?
With so many options on the market, you have a lot of choices for controlling your costs and creating an ideal cup of coffee. Here’s how you figure out what’s right for you.
Ground vs. Whole Bean Coffee
Your biggest ongoing expense when you brew coffee at home is the coffee itself. Typically, outside of pod form, you have two options: ground and whole bean.
Ground coffee has already been through a grinder and is ready for use. You simply place it in the area of your coffeemaker designated for grounds (usually in a coffee filter), and there’s no extra work.
Whole bean coffee must go through a grinder before use. Many people attest that grinding your own coffee creates a fresher, more flavorful cup of coffee.
Usually, whole bean and ground coffee have similar prices per pound, though the exact cost varies by brand and size. Store brand coffees in either form may be only $3 per pound. However, specialty or rare coffees can run much higher.
For example, Kopi Luwak whole bean coffee, often considered the most expensive in the world, can run almost $400 per pound.
While coffee prices vary, you can typically find similar prices for ground and whole bean variants. However, if you choose whole bean, you’ll need a grinder.
Combined Grinder Coffee Makers
A combined grinder coffee maker has a bean grinder built into the machine. That means you don’t need two separate appliances to enjoy freshly ground coffee.
The cost of these coffee makers tend to be a little higher than regular drip models since they are more complex. However, that doesn’t mean they are unaffordable.
For example, you can find a Hamilton Beach Grind and Brew Single Serve Coffee Maker for under $100. This can be a great option for individuals or couples that don’t need an entire pot of coffee at a time.
The Krups Grind and Brew Automatic Coffee Maker, which can make a full carafe, is often available for less than $140.
If you want more features, the Breville BDC650BSS is a great option. You can choose from eight strength settings and hold up to ½ pound of coffee inside the machine. However, it does come with a nearly $300 price tag.
Regular Drip Coffeemakers
For those who use ground coffee or prefer a separate grinder, then a regular drip coffee maker is the direction you need to go.
Prices for a drip coffee maker can vary, with some available for less than $20, like the Black+Decker 5-Cup. Low-cost machines don’t have the bells and whistles of their more expensive counterparts. Options like setting an automatic brew time typically aren’t available. However, they can still produce a reasonable pot of coffee.
If you want additional features, like delay brew or larger capacity, you usually need to spend between $50 and $100 to get a quality machine. The Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Thermal fits right in that price area, and it brews up to 20 percent faster than certain competitor units.
When you cross over $100, you get even more options. The Cuisinart DCC-3200CPAMZ PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable Coffeemaker gives you the ability to control the brew strength and adjust the warming temperature.
If you use a drip coffee maker but want to freshly grind beans, you will need a separate grinder. You can find many to choose from for under $15.
The Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Electric Coffee Grinder offers a large capacity and multiple settings. This makes it not only cost-effective but also pretty high-quality.
If you want additional grinding options, spending over $40 isn’t uncommon. The Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grinder is just below $45 but offers 18 different grind settings. Plus, you can set it to grind for the equivalent of anywhere between 4 and 18 cups of coffee brewed, giving you a lot of options.
Benefits of a Keurig Coffeemaker
Keurig quickly took the world by storm once it hit the market. These machines provide a quick and convenient way to brew a single, fresh cup of coffee at any time. So what are the benefits of a Keurig.
From a cost perspective, you can find Keurig coffeemakers at a variety of price points. For example, the Keurig K15 is an entry-level model. You can easily find it under $100, though, at times, you can buy one for less than $60. In many cases, it’s still noticeably more expensive than the cheapest drip coffeemakers. However, the brand has a strong reputation, so you should get enough use to justify the price.
The Keurig K475 is on the higher end of the price scale, usually coming in around $250. For that price, you do get additional features. Along with a bigger water tank, you have options like strength and temperature control. If you have a multi-person household, you can also brew an entire carafe at a time, as long as you have the right pods.
Overall, the price range of Keurig machines isn’t unlike other coffeemakers, so you aren’t necessarily spending more to enjoy the convenience.
Where Keurig gets expensive is the pods, called K-cups. One estimate showed that if you use K-cups, you pay the equivalent of around $40 per pound of coffee, though the exact amount varies by brand and whether you buy in bulk.
If you want to keep the cost of your coffee down, you do have options. One of the easiest is to buy reusable K-cups. These mesh containers allow you to put any ground coffee into the basket and brew your beverage using the Keurig. This is another great benefits of a Keurig Since you can get a 4-pack of reusable K-cups for around $10, that is a cost-effective option.
Which is Most Cost-Effective?
When it comes to machine costs, it depends on whether you use ground coffee or whole bean. If you like to grind at home, then a combined coffee maker or drip version with a separate grinder can come in around the same price point.
Keurig machines start at a higher price than drip coffee makers but aren’t outside of the usual range by much. However, if you use K-cups, you could spend a lot more on coffee than if you use beans or grounds.
If you want to keep your Keurig costs low, opt for the reusable K-cups and purchase ground of whole bean coffee. Otherwise, just make sure the additional expense fits in your budget.
What kind of coffee maker do you use at home? Tell us in the comments below.
Looking for more great comparison articles? Give these a try:
- Fresh Market vs. Whole Foods
- Credit Karma vs. Annual Credit Report: Which is Better?
- Online Investing Tools: WiseBanyan vs. Acorns
If you enjoy reading our blog posts and would like to try your hand at blogging, we have good news for you; you can do exactly that on Saving Advice. Just click here to get started.