Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee (Frugal Tip)

In my younger years, one of my favorite jobs was working in a coffee shop. I enjoyed listening to the whirl of the milk as it was being steamed, filling the case with fresh pastries, setting up the condiment table, and serving the customer their first cup of coffee in the morning. Well, except that time the lady told me she needed it to ‘be regular’, if you get my drift.

Then it was the type of customers that fascinated me. The artists, the business people, the students, the moms… I enjoyed the conversations that filled the place, the smell of fresh coffee that permeated the place, and the sounds of jazz, celtic, & contemporary music that accompanied the place. It wasn’t even my place, but I treated everday as such.

Where this all leading

Well, it is my view to think we pay for the experience that comes with a cup of coffee when we frequent Starbuck’s or Coffee Bean, Tea & Leaf. But you have to admit that the $5.00 experience, even shared three times a week, is a costly expenditure. For us Frugalites, saving money means cutting back or severing our relationship with this extra expenditures. Hopefully for the sake of putting that money towards paying off our debt or throwing it in the bank to increase our wealth.

Definition of a Frugalite: One who is frugal, yet fun. A person who wants to save as much of their hard earned cash as possible – but in creative ways. …

But just because you choose to break up the relationship between you and the coffee joint, doesn’t mean you need stop drinking excellent tasting coffee. The baristas don’t make coffee any differently then you do.

So, today we will be exploring how to brew a perfect cup of black Java, with a French Press coffee press, in the comfort of your own home for pennies on the dollar.

  1. Buy newly roasted, whole beans

    The length of time coffee beans are roasted will affect the color and flavor of the brew. Popular blends of beans to buy:

    American Roast (or regular roast) beans will result in a moderate brew-not too light or too heavy in flavor.

    French Roast beans will produce a stronger coffee taste.

    Viennese Roast (my favorite) is a blend of two-thirds regular-roast with one-third heavy-roasted beans.

    Italian Roast is for espresso.

    I hear Dunkin Donuts coffee beans ($8 bag) is a great coffee to find in your local grocery store.

  2. Use water that tastes good

    The right coffee beans + great tasting water is what makes a killer combination of brewed coffee. Use your favorite filtered water. Pre-boil your water before grinding your coffee beans to insure water will be at the proper temperature when you are ready to use your french press coffee maker.

  3. Time to Grind

    One of those little grinders will work just fine. No need to spend lots of money for a grinder!

    Put the beans in the grinder and grind for 10 seconds to create a course grind. Grind only what you are going to use for the day.

  4. The French Press

    Put 1 rounded tablespoon of coffee into your French Press coffee maker. Then, pour your hot water into the pot. Leave a minimum of 1 inch of space at the top. Stir the brew with a plastic spoon. Place the plunger unit on top of the pot. Do not press down. Let the coffee brew for 2-4 minutes, depending on your preference in taste. Hold the pot handle firmly with the spout turned away from you, then using just the weight of your hand, apply slight pressure on top of the knob to lower the plunger straight down into the pot. Lowering the plunger slowly with minimal pressure produces best results. Finally, pour your amazing cup of coffee into your mug.

    Here is a great tutorial for using the french press coffee press.

  5. Wan’t to jazz it up?

    Great additions: creamer, sugar, flavored syrups (like Taroni syrup – Yum!)

    For iced coffee: make your brew stronger, because the ice cubes will dilute the coffee.

Conclusion

The great thing about using a French Press coffee maker is that it’s easy to clean, no filters to buy, takes up very little counter space and storage space.

And the money saved:

If you consider buying a black coffee at Starbuck’s, it will cost you $2.00 per cup x 3 times a day x 52 weeks = $312 a year

At home: french press & grinder ($30 for both) + 0.26 per cup of coffee* x 7 days a week x 52 weeks = $95 + $30 (one time cost) + you get to drink coffee every single day = $125

So enjoy that awesome coffee and amaze you friends with your new talent. Want to know what your coffee says about you? Check it out, here! Leave a comment and let me know type of coffee drink you like. It’s a fun read!

*The 0.26 per cup was figured by $8 bag of beans divided by 30 days in a month

28 thoughts on “Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee (Frugal Tip)

  1. Serendipity

    I love the definition of frugalite. I’ve never given much idea to a french press but it seems great for the days I don’t feel like brewing up a whole pot of coffee for just me. But, it’s amazing how quickly Starbucks will add up indeed.

    Reply
    1. money funk

      I thought it was a great one. Good ole’ internet. I love my french press. They do carry an 8 cup press, too. I didn’t realize that.

      Although, Starbucks is rather tasty indeed – its a treat in our family. We go… maybe once a month to order our Chai Lattes, Green Tea Fraps and White Mochas.

      Reply
  2. Forest

    I don’t drink a lot of coffee really, just the odd cup here and there. However I have taken a liking to Turkish Coffee here in Egypt and have even purchased a special little device for making it! It’s kind of like a think muddy espresso with cardamon spice added… Luckily for me if I do want it from a locla Egyptian coffee shop it’s about $0.30… However the American Coffee Shops here charge almost American prices (tea leaf, starbucks, costa etc etc).

    I wrote a post a while back about making cheap coffee taste better with eggshells: http://frugalzeitgeist.com/make-good-of-bad-coffee/

    Thanks,

    Forest.
    http://frugalzeitgeist.com

    Reply
    1. money funk

      I have heard about using eggshells, but totally forgot about it. Never tried it though. A concept to consider. Thank you for sharing.

      Turkish coffee has all the grounds at the bottom of the cup right? My cousin met a family and they served him Turkish coffee. He didn’t want to be rude, as he was unsure of the customs, so he ate the grounds, too! I assume you don’t consume the grounds, so I am sure that family got a good laugh. BTW, with cardamon spice sounds delish.

      Reply
      1. Forest

        Hey Christine, I am going through all of Jeff’s posts from the mega Yakezie post he wrote…. Came across here and saw a comment I never replied back too :).

        Yeah the grounds are at the bottom, I actually eat some of the grounds sometimes because I like them :)…. But generally you are supposed to leave them.

        Cardamon and Ginger are in many Turkish Coffee brews, yum!!!

        Reply
  3. Jeff

    Thanks a lot Money Funk, you just sent me into a relapse. I can’t read this post without wanting a cup.

    You know how much I love the numbers, you did very well with this one. Too bad you beat me to the presses with it, I had it lined up in a few weeks :-(

    Reply
    1. money funk

      LOL! Sorry.
      And dually sorry to beat you to an upcoming frugal post. Could always note how to make the fru-fru coffee drinks on a budget. :D

      You know, there is Decaf. Might help ease the pain.

      Reply
  4. HighClassLowIncome

    Making coffee at home has definitely saved me some money! I also like the flavored creamers by Coffeemate and International Delight. I still cave and get coffee from Starbucks or Peets sometimes though, but I usually try to just get a plain cup of joe to cut the cost.

    Reply
    1. money funk

      I do like my hazelnut, french vanilla and a little coconut from Coffemate. But am not partial to Internation Delight, because I have to add sugar to that one.

      Oh, I forgot about Peet’s. They have good coffee. And to our Canadian coffee drinkers, I hear about Dr. Horton’s.

      I like to get a plain cup of joe, too. And add the raw sugar they carry at Starbucks. Yum! You know what is really good: Starbuck’s Christmas blend. I love it!

      Reply
  5. Moon Hussain

    Christine,

    I think when people fall into routines like this, where they’re going to “treat” themselves in the morning (I do this with diet Snapple, trying to break it), it’s because, well, maybe we’re trying to escape something bigger by getting lost in the moment.

    For instance, “work sucks, but Thursday morning should be great, I’m treating myself to a Dunkin’ Donuts bagel and coffee and a new mag. Mhhm!” Heh, I miss the DD bagels!

    Reply
    1. money funk

      So then it’s tied to emotions. And if we don’t reign in our emotions they can get us into lots of financial trouble (darn, speak from experience – lol). Good call.

      Reply
  6. Holly

    I started using a French press recently and I love it! I does make the best coffee! I buy whole bean coffee at Trader Joe’s and grind it at home on an $18. grinder that I bought at Target (Hamilton Beach – works great!).

    I like different things in my coffee, depending on my mood. Yesterday I had cream, a little dollop of chocolate ice cream and a splash of brandy (for flavor, not intoxication!) It was heavenly! Sometimes I stir together honey and cinnamon (this makes it possible to mix the cinnamon into the coffee instead of having it float on top) and then add my coffee to that.

    Reply
    1. money funk

      I forgot about TJ’s. I love that whole store anyway. How funny, if I don’t have creamer or milk, I throw in some vanilla ice cream. Yum! But I like your chocolate & Brandy idea. And I do love cinnamon. But I use that in my oatmeal. Okay… off to eat breakfast with a great cup of java! Thank you for stopping by!

      Reply
  7. FFB

    French press huh? We’re not at that stage yet but I think our next step is a grinder and then we buy whole beans instead of ground. You can get a giant bag of whole Starbucks beans at BJ’s.

    Reply
    1. money funk

      And contrary to popular belief, do not store your beans in the freezer. The moisture is not good. Store in an air-tight container in a dark place. Will last about 1 to 2 weeks. :)

      Reply
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  9. Financial Samurai

    C – Do you think it is a blessing or a shame that I don’t drink coffee? I enjoy coffee ice cream, but I try not to eat ice cream b/c like coffee, it doesn’t sit well with my stomach.

    Reply
  10. Ted

    I love our french press! Less waste. Better tasting. Quicker brew. We have a grinder and I love the process. Of course, half the time I drink tea as well!

    Reply
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  14. wickett6029

    I absolutely HATE using a french press for coffee, and have tried several brands, only to toss them in the trash :-( All my coffee tastes nasty when brewed this way (and I also grind my own beans fresh)I’d rather use an old-fashioned percolator than a french press.

    Any tips for making a perfect cup of java without a french press?

    Reply
  15. Monevator

    Loved the opening introduction. It really reminds me what drew me to such places decades ago, before it all became commodified middle-class tritery.

    I need to find a new local cafe! :)

    Reply
  16. Greg

    I have never tried a french press, but my sister-in-law bought me a Keurig coffee maker for father’s day a couple of years ago and I absolutely love it. I order the dark roast/extra bold flavors and drink at least three cups a day.

    I may need to check into getting a french press for ‘special’ occasions.

    Reply
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