I’ve had a serious Starbucks addiction for over 15-years. It all started when I worked there during my final year of college. Reduced or free drinks including their yummy iced coffee, frappachino, or espresso started an expensive habit. (Their logo is a Siren after all beckoning me to sit back and have a drink.) If I were to add up my addiction’s cost, I’d probably be disheartened by how much I’ve spent (I’d estimate a ballpark figure of $7,000 over 10 years). Over the past 5-years, I’ve been able to bring my every day drink down to the lowest cost possible including using a Starbucks Gold Card to earn free drinks and free additions, like syrup or soy milk. Yet, I hadn’t figured out a way to make my drink at home without spending a fortune on an espresso machine.

That was, until now….

I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of a Bialetti Moka Express stove top espresso maker before; they’ve been around since the 1930’s! However, for my birthday, Mr. LH did some research on how I could brew my own espresso at home and came across the Bialetti. All of the reviews he read were very positive. Since we don’t really do “birthday presents” he ran the idea past me and I said go for it.

I’ve now had my Bialetti a week and I absolutely love it! Bialetti’s come in a variety of sizes, but I got the 3-cup one since Mr. LH can’t stand coffee. Basically, I fill the lower basin with water, fill the espresso/coffee filter with ground coffee (I’m currently using the dark espresso blend from Starbucks), place it on the stove on a low to medium heat and wait until it percolates. I remove it and let it cool down a little bit (I like iced espresso), then poor it over ice, add vanilla syrup and half and half and it’s good to go.

My Bialetti Set Up

It’s easy to clean, I just unscrew the top when it cools and rinse it out with clear water. It’s actually the only way to clean a Bialetti – no soap or scrubbing allowed. The only downside of a Bialetti is that I have to stand near it while it percolates because it has the ability to explode due to pressure if it’s not taken off the stove right away. However, the 3-cup only takes about 8-minutes to finish percolating so it’s not a big deal.

Now for the economics…

My drink at Starbucks always ran me $2.55 – $2.65 (a variation of 10-cents because sometimes I wouldn’t get my cup discount). To mimic my drink  at home I had to purchase half-and-half and vanilla syrup. The break down looks like this:

    • Vanilla syrup: $8.00  – in 6 days I used about one-third of this bottle which equates to $2.67 divided by 6 days = .45-cents
    • Half-and-half: $2.00 – in 6 days I used about half of this carton which equates to $1.00 divided by 6 = .17-cents
    • Espresso Coffee: $12.00 – in 6 days I used about one-fourth of the beans which equates to $3.00 divided by 6 = .50-cents
    • Total cost of my drink now: $1.12 (that’s a savings of $1.48!)

Final product - Yum!

I could reduce this cost by purchasing less expensive beans, but for now I’ve calculated I’ll save $355 per year if I make my drink at home 5-days a week. I’m still allowing myself 2 Starbucks visits a week because there is something about going to Starbucks that I like.

Now Mr. LH just has to get used to the smell of coffee brewing in the morning (not a smell he enjoys). 😉

Have you found ways to reduce the cost of your habits?
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