Thursday, August 20, 2009
Frugal Friday: Make Espresso at Home!
At our house, we LOVE coffee! Call us nerds, but we actually have held coffee taste tests at family gatherings. It's true.
We live in a small town that actually has an abnormal amount of pastry shops and coffeeshops. It's a tourist town. However, our town fiercely protects itself from chains so we don't have a Peet's or even a Starbuck's for that matter. (Not that I'm a fan of Starbuck's...I'm a Peet's girl!) I like my coffee good and strong. Unfortunately, I haven't found a place that serves coffee (the more economical choice) as strong as I like it. So, when I go out for coffee, I usually like to order an espresso drink for the stronger flavor. However, I can rarely do this without feeling a bit guilty about shelling out $3.50 for a small espresso drink.
So, if I really want one, I usually make one myself. It really isn't that hard or that expensive to do. You do NOT need a big fancy espresso maker to do it either. To me, that kinda negates the frugality of making your own. Instead, try a nice little stovetop espresso maker. Bialetti is a well-known Italian maker of these. A 3-cup Bialetti Moka Express (that produces 6 ounces or 3 "espresso cups") sells for about $25. But, I found this little baby in the home goods department at Ross Dress for Less for under $10. It's not Bialetti, but it has worked for me for nearly 8 years. You might have luck finding one at stores like Home Goods or TJMaxx as well.
Yesterday, I posted a homemade iced coffee recipe along with a tutorial on how to use this little wonder. I decided to price the drink out just to see what it actually costs me. I weighed out the coffee grounds that I used on my little scale. The amount barely registered on my scale, so I know that I did not use more than 1/2 ounce of coffee beans. Lately, I've been using good-quality beans from a local roaster ($10/pound). I also used 3/4 cup of milk (at $3/gallon) and 3 teaspoons of sugar (negligble cost). So, according to my calcuations, my homemade espresso drink cost me a mere $0.45! That's about a $3 savings for just one drink made with the equivalent of 2-shots. Even if you shell out $20 for the maker, you can "earn" back the cost of it if you make an espresso drink at home seven times. If you don't like your drinks as strong, you can use half of the espresso and make two drinks out of it at just $0.30 each. Not a bad deal.
For other money-saving ideas, check out Life As Mom for Frugal Fridays.