Why You Might Consider Making Coffee at Home
If you live in New York like we do, you understand the importance of starting your morning (and afternoon) with coffee. It’s pretty much the lifeblood that keeps the city running. But while coffee shops line nearly every corner (and trust us, we’re not complaining), it can be really satisfying to make your own cup of joe at home. Curious about the benefits? Wonder no more.
The Quality is Higher
With the rise of third-wave specialty coffee has come the return of the light roast. Why? Think of any other quality ingredient. The better it is, the less fuss that’s needed to draw out its flavors. Slice a ripe summer tomato in half and dust it with a few flakes of sea salt, or throw a simply seasoned, dry-aged ribeye on the grill for delicious results. But lesser ingredients often require more manipulation—and still taste only half as good. Dark roast coffees—roasted for long periods of time at high temperatures—are often processed that way to mask the flavors of inferior beans. There are quality dark roasts out there with chocolate and smoke flavors, but when shopping for your next bag, try a single-origin light roast and see if you can detect floral, stone fruit or bright berry notes in your cup.
You Know the Source
Sleuthing out the path coffee beans took to get to your cup can be tricky. But when you buy your own bags of beans—and pay attention to the labels—you can find out a lot. Are the beans from Hawaii, South America or Africa? Was the person who grew it paid a fair price? Was a forest cleared for the plantation, or is it shade-grown and bird-friendly? When you buy beans from specialty coffee companies that put social and environmental responsibility at the core of their mission—and on the front of their bags—you have a lot more information about how you’re spending your dollar (and how that brew found its way to your cup).
You Generate Less Waste
Speaking of cups, the majority of drinks sold at Starbucks are to-go. In the United States alone, 3 billion paper cups wind up in the trash each year. And that’s only a small fraction of the 200 billion-plus disposable paper cups languishing in landfills across the country. Now’s the time to trot out those minimalist Scandinavian ceramic mugs you couldn’t pass up on vacation, or the trompe l’oeil ceramic I Am Not a Paper Cup. Reusable cups are massively better for the environment. And when you use a grinder and coffeemaker at home, you can make your coffee to order. That means less wasted coffee and water and fewer wasted beans.
If your do-gooder side isn’t strong enough to inspire change, your penny-pinching side might be. The average 16-ounce cup of brewed coffee at a cafe costs about $2. At home, that same 16-ounce cup, brewed from an $8 bag of beans, costs 50 cents. For your two bucks, you could brew a 64-ounce pot at home. (And let’s be honest, how often are you forgoing an even pricier coffee shop cortado or latte—and maybe a chocolate chip cookie, too—in favor of a plain brewed cup?) But at home you can brew using your favorite method—French press, stove top espresso maker, pour-over, or drip—each for a quarter of the cafe cost.
As an added bonus, in your kitchen there are no long, snaking lines, and no coffee shop jazz overkill. In fact, your kitchen counter might need a tip jar to reward your DIY coffee savvy.