On the Cost of Coffee

Currently, I make my morning coffee with a Bialetti moka pro (pictured above). I’ve tried a number of coffee makers over the years, from a La Pavoni Europiccola EPC-8 Espresso Machine (awesome but time consuming) to a French press (awesome but annoying to clean). However, I’ve never kept track of how much coffee (in bean form) each takes to produce a decent cup. My Bialetti seems to use a lot of coffee—about three scoops just to make, essentially, one 10 ounce cup. If 10 ounces seems like a big cup, note that a fairly typical coffee mug holds from 10 to 12 ounces. So three scoops to make one mug of coffee seems like a huge amount.

We all know that coffee from the coffee shop is ridiculously expensive—$2.25 for a latte or whatever. But how much is a good cup of coffee made at home? Recently, I’ve been buying Peet’s coffee (Major Dickinson’s Blend). It’s $12.95 a pound. I bought 12 ounces and got seventeen cups from it, using my Bialetti. That comes to $0.56 a cup—not bad, but still more expensive than I would like.

So next week’s experiment will be to use 1 scoop of ground coffee in my French press, to make a 10 ounce cup. Unfortunately, I have no way to measure the caffeine content of the coffee, which is, after all, the whole point of drinking it. But I’m going to try to see if I can feel any difference in coffee strength. While one-third of the coffee suggests the French press coffee will be much weaker, I’m not so sure, because the brewing time is longer. The Bialetti pushes the boiling water over the coffee pretty fast, so it seems to me plausible that the strengths could be similar.