Post-Present Blues: Save for Travel in 2012 by Brewing Your Own Coffee

28 Dec
2011

This week, we created a series of posts to help you save money in 2012 to make your travel dreams a reality. Today’s is about cutting coffee costs. 

When I was working in Chicago, a lot of days I would treat myself to a $2 coffee on the way to work. I didn’t like making my own because I had a normal-sized French press. It made great coffee, but it made too much. I didn’t need a liter of coffee everyday.

The high-tech choice is the Keurig one-cup coffee brewer, but they run over $100 for the machine and take up kitchen counter space. And the cups are about a $1 per, so you’re not saving money anytime soon.

My grandmother sent us a nice gift card for Christmas, and I picked up a Bodum travel coffee press for $20, and I love it. (Note to Grandma: Lisa got a shirt and picked out some wine too. Thanks again!)

I wish I had this mug in Chicago. It’s double-walled so it keeps the coffee warm. It has a nice, tight-sealing lid. And unlike the Keurig, it uses normal coffee. Yeah, I get a chunk or two above the press some days, but I can live with that. And it makes adding milk and / or sugar basically impossible, but I’m a black-coffee guy, so I don’t care. I just need warm water, which is tricky when it’s windy because my kitchen is outside.

My daily coffee still costs some money, but like my old boss used to day: “It ain’t free, Paul, but it’s pretty darn close.” I’m using small sample bags that I got for $1 per from Safeway. They last a bunch of times, so I’d count this as a $8 per work-week swing, ~$400 a year in savings. Pretty sweet way to enjoy better coffee.

Here’s how to make coffee with the Bodum travel coffee press.

Boil some water. Mountains are not necessary.

Boil some water. Mountains are not necessary.

Here's the mug. Note the non-slip sleeve. Just like Effen Vodka, which you may or may not want to add to your daily brew.

Here's the mug. Note the non-slip sleeve. Just like Effen Vodka, which you may or may not want to add to your daily brew.

I'm using these little sample coffee packs. They're a good option if you don't have a good way to store grounds or are living in a van.

I'm using these little sample coffee packs. They're a good option if you don't have a good way to store grounds or are living in a van.

Add some coffee to the mug. I'm using about 2x this much now. You'll find your own ratio.

Add some coffee to the mug. I'm using about 2x this much now. You'll find your own ratio.

Insert plunger and screw on lid. Most important thing: only fill the water to the top of the plastic gripper. Fill too high and you get a lot of grounds above the press.

Insert plunger and screw on lid. Most important thing: only fill the water to the top of the plastic gripper. Fill too high and you get a lot of grounds above the press.

Wait a couple minutes, depress plunger, and enjoy. It takes a bit of time to cool.

Wait a couple minutes, depress plunger, and enjoy. It takes a bit of time to cool.

  • Dad

    I will let grandma know about the press

    Dad

  • http://twitter.com/scottsala Scott Sala

    bodum rocks. Use the french press, grinder, and even have the toaster.

  • http://twitter.com/scottsala Scott Sala

    put the milk or sugar in with the grounds!

    • http://www.pauldavidolson.com/blog/ Paul David Olson

      That should work, right? I’ll give it a shot next time we have milk.