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# Gourmet Coffee Habit Costing Consumers as Much as \$1,500 Yearly

Gourmet coffee consumers rarely consider the cost of their daily coffee in terms of the expense to brew premium whole bean coffee at home (50 cents to 75 cents) with prices of a pound of gourmet coffee beans versus a two or three cup a day (\$4.50 to \$6.00) coffee drinking habit when purchased at premium coffee houses. A recent Washington Post article discussed Seattle law students spending money from their student loans for Starbucks coffee across the street from the Seattle University School of Law.

Erika Lim, director of career services at the law school has launched a campaign to reduce coffee consumption by students attending the university on student loan money. She points out that students are spending education loans on luxuries like latte instead of necessities like a loaf of bread. That borrowed money takes years to repay and many students don't do the math to see that study time with 2-3 cups of coffee at Starbucks over 4 years can cost them significant sums - as much as \$4500 in principle, interest and fees on their student loan - over the course of their education. An online calculator has been posted for those interested in calculating their caffeine expenses at: http://www.hughchou.org/calc/coffee.cgi

Gourmet Coffee drinkers have become accustomed to paying \$2 or more per cup for fresh brewed coffees at Premium coffee houses - and many sources are predicting those prices may increase to as much as \$4 per cup soon due to expected increases in green coffee prices. But smart gourmet coffee consumers have long known that premium coffee brewed at home costs just 12 cents or so per cup, depending on preferences for coffee strength.

Many coffee producers recommend starting with 1 tablespoon of fresh ground gourmet coffee beans per standard 6 ounce cup of water. Starbucks recommends double that amount for stronger coffees at 2 tablespoons per 6 ounce cup. A pound of gourmet coffee (that is 16 Ounces or 1 Lb.) divided by 1 1/2 Ounces comes to roughly 10 pots of 10 cups (6 Ounce cups) equaling 100 cups for the cost of one pound of gourmet coffee beans. At the average of 1.5 tablespoons per 6 ounce cup and average size of 12 ounce coffee mug, you can expect 50 cups of home brewed coffee per pound of gourmet beans!

Prices of premium gourmet coffee beans range between \$10 and \$18 per pound, making a cup of home-brewed gourmet coffee, made fresh to your liking, cost only between .10 cents and .25 cents per cup or between \$1.00 and \$2.00 per pot of coffee! Even the rarest and most expensive coffee sold, the exotic Kopi Luwak, at \$175 per pound, is still less than \$1.75 per 6 ounce cup when brewed at home! So if you have expensive tastes and want a 12 ounce mug of the rarest and most expensive coffee on the planet, you still need only pay what some premium coffee houses charge for a latte (\$3.50) for that rare privilege.

When consumers learn that they can purchase gourmet whole bean coffee for between \$10 to \$18 per pound, then fresh grind and brew at home for significantly less than gourmet coffee companies charge, many see home brewing premium gourmet coffee as luxurious treat. Purchasing a thermos or a large travel mug to take coffee with them from home makes drinking rich, fresh roasted coffee a possibility for about one-seventh the cost of buying that coffee from expensive and crowded coffee shops.

Many so-called premium coffee houses keep their coffee heated on warmers after brewing, but this practice causes the flavor to turn bitter after less than an hour of warming. It is actually more likely you will get a rich flavorful cup of coffee from an insulated thermos or insulated type pump containers. Reheating coffee can destroy the flavor of good gourmet coffee - just as quickly as extensive warming.

Coffee purists prefer to make individual cups with a coffee press, fresh grinding beans for each cup and drinking the entire amount brewed before it turns cold to get the maximum enjoyment from their beans. Microwave a good cup of coffee that has gone cold and you'll see how much better it is freshly brewed. Using good clean, fresh water is essential since coffee is 99% water and bad tasting tap water can quickly ruin even the best fresh ground beans.

You can enjoy great gourmet coffee more and pay less for the privilege by starting with whole beans and grinding them yourself with a \$20 coffee grinder. Make only what you can drink or carry with you in a nice thermos or travel mug instead of reheating coffee later. Use good tasting water and keep your brewing equipment clean to prevent the rancid bitterness that can come from previous grounds in crevices.

You can brew at home with fine gourmet coffee beans, fresh ground and brewed in a French press coffee maker, carry a fancy thermos of great coffee to work or school and enjoy the best coffee available for far less money than you would spend at crowded and expensive premium coffee house.