I know I usually write about home improvements, but today's a little different. We're going to talk about coffee. A habit many Americans have. It's what fuels our work lives and gets us through the day. Now the topic of saving money on lattes has been beaten to death. So this isn't going to be another one of "those" posts. But seriously, what would you do with an extra two thousand dollars per year? Keep reading and see how you CAN save without giving up your lifestyle.
As you know I love DIY and lifehacking. I love learning new things and hate paying people to do things I can do myself. I figured it can't be that difficult to make your own latte at home. Well here's my experience.
For Christmas 2019 Santa brought us a shiny new Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL. Out of the box, it made an amazing espresso and lattes. This thing does everything. It grinds the beans, makes espresso, steams any type of milk with the built-in steam wand, and delivers hot water for tea. It was fun to geek out on finding the perfect grind setting, tamping pressure, and steadying my hand steaming milk. In less than a week I was better at making my lattes than my local barista.
My biggest fear of getting an espresso maker was wasting money on another appliance that would just collect dust after the novelty wore off. This turned out to be totally false. My other concern was that the savings I anticipated from making lattes at home would be eaten up by the cost of milk and time wasted messing with a machine I didn't understand. This too turned out to be false.
I did research several types of espresso machines and settled on the Breville because of the great reviews and the quality that I know they put into their products. I knew I wanted a solid all-in-one machine that was compact enough to fit in our space yet big enough to service our whole family.
For the sake of this article, I'm using costs from Starbucks as a comparison. Personally, I enjoy patronizing smaller coffee shops that use beans from local roasters. They are slightly more expensive than Charbucks. Regardless, I was actually shocked when I calculated the savings.
THE COST BREAKDOWN
Cost of buying Starbucks Lattes
- Soy Latte = $4.56
- sSoy Chai + 2 shots of espresso = $5.25
We were spending $10.69 per day plus our time to go get it.
That adds up to $3,901.86 per year on coffee.
Cost of making your own latte
- Cost of Machine = $600
- Yearly Maintenance Expenses = $26
- Coffee Beans (makes 13 16oz drinks) = $13 ($1.00 per drink)
- Oat Milk 64oz (makes 4 16oz drinks) = $5 ($1.25 per drink)
- Tazo Chai Tea 32oz (makes 16 two-pump drinks) = $3.29 ($0.20 per drink)
- Homemade Latte = $2.25
- Homemade Chai Tea Latte = $2.45
Now we spend $4.70 per day. That's only $1,715.50 per year on coffee. A savings of $2,186.36
So our Breville Barista Express machine paid for itself after 100 days!
A Savior During a Pandemic
And let's face it, who doesn't want to get away from their kids right about now? During this pandemic, there's been no need to go anywhere. And it has made working from home a living hell. But at least I can enjoy homeschooling my kids while not getting any work done with a nice homemade latte.
We had no clue how convenient it would be to have our own espresso machine until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Not having to go out for coffee every day turned out to be a blessing and quite possibly saved our lives. Coffee was the 1 thing we would go out for each day no matter what. But when the stay-at-home order came down, we stayed in and enjoyed our latte without risking exposure.
Need an extra pick-me-up after lunch? Not a problem. You can select either 1 shot of espresso or a double if you're pulling an all-nighter.
Iced Latte or Hot?
It can do both. I love pouring a freshly extracted espresso in a mason jar of iced milk in the summertime. It's great for the kids too. They call it the hot chocolate machine. We use it to make them a cup of steamed warm milk. Sometimes they are lucky and we add a scoop of cocoa powder.
Downsides of the homemade latte
There are a few drawbacks. The biggest one I found initially was not being able to visit my favorite coffee shops. I like to hop around and work remotely from different places. There's something about being a part of the hustle and bustle, people watching, and just feeling social although isolated at my own table. But I have found, since making my drinks at home, I have started going to public co-working spaces instead of coffee shops. They have become popular in major cities and neighborhoods. Pretty much any public space with wifi and a place to sit down. It fills the same void of the coffee shop but with the freedom of bringing your own food and drink. I feel bad about not supporting the local coffee shops I love so much. I do try and support them by buying my beans there when I can. Or stop in for lunch from time to time.
The only other annoying thing about the machine is that the water tank doesn't hold a lot of water. I have to refill it after about 4-6 hot drinks. The frothing wand uses a lot of water when making steamed milk. The only other complaint is that the steamer is super loud. Not a flaw of the appliance but just in general steaming milk is a loud process there's no way around it. Sometimes I wish I had earplugs.
What if my partner likes different flavor beans?
We have this issue because I like freshly ground locally roasted beans. My wife likes her soy chai tea latte from Starbucks. So I buy my own roasted beans and she buys ground coffee. My beans go in the hopper and grind on the Breville while her ground coffee just gets scooped into the portafilter. This system works pretty well for us. You could also buy a separate grinder if you want to be a big coffee nerd. 🤓
Conclusion: To Brew or Not to Brew, that is the question...
As you can clearly see we have saved a ton of money, over $2000 a year, just by brewing our own espresso and making lattes at home. The Breville has more than paid for itself by now. There are so many other benefits other than saving money. As I talk a lot here about the joys of DIY. Being able to make something for yourself that you truly enjoy is priceless. And what better way to start each day. By reminding yourself that you are capable and self-sufficient. That you are in control of your life and not dependent on fate.
Accessories to go along with Breville Espresso Machines
- Yetti Mugs -
- 16oz steaming cup -
- Thermometer -
- Electronic warmer and milk frother -
- Water Filters -
- Cleaning Tablets -
- Descaler Cleaner -
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