Cheaper than StarbucksTM

How to Beat the High Cost of Coffee

by Joy Pincus


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Calling All Coffee Lovers

My Story: Instant Coffee

Whatever the season, to a coffee drinker, there's simply nothing like waking up to that first, fresh pot of the day. And after work or at lunch time, meeting friends over a cup of caffeine or stealing a moment alone with a steaming mug and a good paperback can be the most rewarding part of the day.

If you're anything like me, you scoff at the very idea of drinking a bean that wasn't grown somewhere in South America and doesn't come carrying a pedigree as good as any thoroughbred racehorse. We Americans have woken up to a new breed of coffee, and what with all the caffeine, we'll probably stay awake. But designer tastes can present a budgetary obstacle.

One coffee chain (Peet's) in Berkeley, California charges $1.70 for a medium sized cup of coffee. At this price, two cups a day, five days a week will cost $68 a month or $816 a year. Ouch.

But what can you do? Return to the bottomless cup of diner dishwater that only passes for coffee and is made by - dare I say - automatic drip? No, of course not. Now that you're hooked on the great coffee made at the local gourmet shop, all you need is to learn to make it at home. Hard? Hardly. With one simple appliance and a bit of practice, you can turn your kitchen into a cafe that will have friends calling to book reservations. And it's all at a fraction of what it costs to drink out.

Introducing: The Press

This clever device makes a strong coffee with an espresso-like cream on top, and all you need to do is boil water, honestly. After placing one heaping tablespoon of coffee per cup into the glass container of your press, you then pour boiling water on top and leave it to sit for one minute. Then gently press down on the plunger top, whose filtered end pushes the coffee grinds down to the bottom and leaves the coffee on top. Pour and serve. It's that simple.

Let's add in the cost of the coffee beans you will buy. According to the Global Exchange website www.globalexchange.org, one pound of beans will provide 40 cups of coffee. A one pound bag of coffee at Peet's costs an average $12, already a great savings over the $68 you would need to pay over the counter for those same 40 cups. But you can double your savings if you order from Porto Rico Importing Company www.portorico.com. Located in New York City, Porto Rico will ship a wide range of roasts and beans to your door for an average of $6 per pound plus shipping.

But I like Coffee Shops!

Well, of course, you do. So do I, and I haven't sworn off of them forever, but frankly, after the experience I've gathered, none of the coffee shops out there compare with the coffee I make at home. Friends are telling other friends, and people I meet for the first time greet me with "Oh! You're the one who makes the good coffee." I can tell they are already angling for an invitation.

So good luck, but beware. Once your friends catch on, you may need to hire a host. Oh, and consider putting in a dessert cabinet as well...


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