Coffee is Good For You
Coffee has taken a bit of a bad rap over the past few years. There are rumors of coffee causing cancer; rumors of coffee causing high blood pressure; rumors of coffee simply being “bad for you.” All that is changing as we finally get some real data from decent clinical trials. If you thought that the health benefits of Green Tea were impressive, you will be shocked at all the health-boosting nutrients in your cup of coffee! Take a look at this article that reviews some of the health benefits of coffee; here is how green tea and coffee compare. And if you want those benefits without spending an arm and a leg, it’s time for home brewed coffee! That’s right: scroll down to the calculations below, labeled “let’s do the math.” You’ll be ready for home-brewed. Yes, I know … it sounds ridiculous, but too many people simply don’t bother to make the effort for home brewed coffee.
But Coffee Can Be Expensive
The article you’re reading now is about how to save money while satisfying your coffee obsession. And, the fact is, for the majority of adult Americans – 54% of us – coffee IS AN OBSESSION. To put a number on it, there are over 100 Million coffee adult drinkers in the US today. Sixty-five percent of us coffee drinkers start our day with a cuppa joe. The majority of us drink at least three cups every day. And more than 30 Million Americans drink a “specialty” coffee (lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, etc.). As a commodity, coffee is a pretty big deal on a global scale, second only to that other dark liquid, oil. In fact, we Americans consume $18 BILLION every year on these coffee concoctions! (Yup, with a B). Well, let’s look at some ways that you can keep some of that 18 Billion in your pocket.
The Secret to Home Great Brewed Coffee …
- Make it at home. Let’s face it, driving to a coffee shop and paying for the “convenience” of someone else making our cuppa joe isn’t really very convenient at all. Wouldn’t you rather just make yours at home? Or perhaps at the office? Keep reading to learn how to make the very best home brewed coffee …
- Consider the amount that you spend for your specialty coffee at the coffee shop over a full year. Now, instead of giving your money to them, spend that money on buying your own superior quality coffee beans; or spend that money on buying your own coffee-making equipment. Make it at home! Your return on investment when you spend that money on doing it yourself is huge!
- Buy awesome quality coffee beans. Always buy organic! That will help minimize ingesting any cancer-causing pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. As a result, your coffee won’t have that chemical aftertaste typical of coffee grown using chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Buy Coffea arabica beans, NOT the more common Coffea robusta. Whenever possible, buy coffee that is certified Rainforest alliance, and USA Fairtrade. Even better, buy “Smithsonian Bird Friendly coffee beans” (although that can be difficult to find). Read more here about organic and earth-friendly coffees. The beauty of home brewed coffee is that you get to control exactly what beans you start with.
- Buy from an artisanal roaster. Each crop of coffee beans is different, depending on growing conditions, altitude, and geographic region of origin. A master coffee roaster has the experience and skills to bring out the best in a particular crop of beans. Chances are, there is at least one artisanal (meaning, fanatic) roaster near you – do a search for “artisanal coffee roaster your zipcode” and you’ll find one. If not, we’ve got some for you!
- Get yourself a simple French press. The French press is typically a simple glass pot, but look for insulated stainless (these don’t break!). You just place your ground coffee in the bottom, add hot water, let ‘steep’ for a few minutes, then push down the “plunger” to filter down the coffee grounds. What’s left is pure, full-bodied coffee. A French press is the best way to taste all the flavors locked inside your coffee, with none of the delicious oils filtered out by a paper filter (IMO).
- Get yourself a great coffee mill – aka, coffee grinder. Because I hate the harsh sound of an electric coffee mill, I have gone way retro: I use an inexpensive hand-cranked, conical, ceramic–bur coffee grinder. I love it. I can grind my coffee early in the morning, without waking the entire neighborhood (or shattering my nerves). The other advantage of the conical ceramic-bur is that your coffee grind will be more uniform in size than you can achieve using the electrical coffee-grinder. That means you can set the size to coarse, so you don’t get the finely-ground “mud” coming through the screen of you French press. Yeah…much smoother…silky. Yum!
- Don’t even think about buying your coffee pre-ground! As soon as coffee is ground it must be used immediately. Letting ground coffee sit around for even a couple hours results in oxidation. Oxidation is the enemy of great coffee. When you buy a package of already-ground coffee, those coffee grounds are losing their health-boosting nutrients by the minute. The solution is: grind your coffee as you use it, right before you brew it up.
- Get yourself an air-tight canister of some kind. Air is the enemy of great coffee. You don’t want your coffee oxidized. Oxidation robs your coffee of all those valuable antioxidants that make coffee so healthy. So, once you open a package of beans, transfer those beans to an air-tight container. Only take out beans as needed to grind and make coffee. My favorite air-tight container is called the Airscape – it has a lid that acts like a little piston that allows you to push the air out of the canister as you use up your beans … genius!
- Keep your coffee maker clean – whatever kind you use. Clean it daily, whether you think it needs to be cleaned or not. If you use your coffee maker every day, once every week or couple weeks, clean it with vinegar to clear all the old oils. Those oils get oxidized over time, and they cause rapid deterioration of your fresh pot of coffee that you make every day. So just clean it already!
- If you really want a new taste sensation, try going to cool brew coffee. Cool brew coffee is strong but buttery sooth; caffeinated, yet sweet and mellow. Try it and you’ll be hooked! For those of you with partners that don’t share your love of coffee, cool brew coffee may turn the tide: introduce them to a cup of non-sweetened cool-brew coffee and you just might have a new cuppa-partner. It’s easy – simply set up your French Press as usual, but add cold, filtered water to the fresh grounds. Let stand 12-18 hours and voila! Strong, sweet, cool-brew coffee. Stay tuned for a video on how to make the best cool-brew.
- Finally, consider adding a small scoop of the amino-acid, Theanine, to each pot of coffee – however you make it, hot or cold. Theanine acts in synergy with the caffeine in the coffee … it will help prevent the jitters, and help you stay in the zone.
Do the Math: the Argument For Home Brewed Coffee
The average (and we both know that you are way above average) coffee drinker in the US drinks three cups per day. The average cost of these is $2.25. Some of you go for the fancy stuff; of course, that costs more – like $3.65 or more! But we’ll use the lower figure for our calculations: Doing the math, we spend (on average), $268 every year drinking coffee. And if you happen to be one of those who splurges on the occasional (or maybe frequent) “specialty” coffee (latte, mocha, etc.), well, you can spend multiples of that figure with ease. Let’s call it an even $300 for simplicity. You may spend way more than that (again, you are above average).
Let’s examine what you can purchase for that …
Home brewed coffee will require:
- French Press
- Ceramic-burr manual coffee grinder (“mill”)
- Awesome Organic Coffee
An awesome French press will set you back between $50 and $100. It will last you way longer than a year; a stainless French press will last a lifetime. Amortized over the next ten years, that’s only $5-10 per year! Even if you are buying the very highest quality of organic C. arabica that you can find, you probably aren’t paying much more than $20/pound. Even at that rate, added to the cost of the French press, compared to buying those cuppa’s from the coffee shop your annual coffee indulgence will leave you with money in your pocket! Chances are, you can find organic, C. arabica for less than that, and save even more – check out the collection of coffee that we drink at Sacred Herbals.
There you have it. Stop investing in the college fund for the kids of your coffee-shop-owner. Start investing in your own. Or simply keep those dollars in your pocket. I promise you that making your own coffee, using superior quality beans, and inexpensive equipment, will bring a new appreciation for the finer qualities of coffee into your life. Stay tuned for more. And while you’re at it, be sure to download my Coffee Glossary and Guide – you’ll be amazed how simply knowing the vocabulary of coffee can help you detect the nuances of fine coffee. Especially important once you move to home brewed coffee.