Coffee may not be an American invention, but Americans LOVE it. Some can’t get up in the morning without getting their coffee fix, and others have to have at least one more cup in the afternoon to give them the strength and willpower to get through the last half of the workday.
This coffee addiction can get expensive, though, especially if one has to get their fix at Starbucks or even a gas station convenience store. For this reason, an overwhelming number of Americans are embracing the chance to make their own coffee at home, using one of the huge variety of coffeemakers on the market today. This can save the average coffee drinker loads of money per year (more on that below), and if you think that you can’t get the same café-quality coffee at home, think again. There are loads of new coffee machines that can enable you to make coffee that doesn’t just taste like the coffee you get from Starbucks, but can even let you make artsy designs in the foam as well!
Before we get to the top ten list of the most popular coffees to use in these machines, let’s take a look at the benefits of making coffee at home instead of buying it while you’re out, as well as some tips for making the best cup of joe around.
Coffee Machines vs. Starbucks: What Are the Benefits of Brewing Your Own Coffee at Home?
Starbucks and other coffeehouses are great. You can find one on nearly every corner, and they can do some really interesting things with a regular ol’ cup of coffee. But what if we told you that you could do those exact same things at home for a fraction of the cost?
According to Business Insider, the average American spends somewhere between $1 and $5 on a single cup of coffee each morning. That may not sound like much, but if you add it up, it comes to an average of about $365 to $1,825 per year! And that is just buying one cup a day. That could be just fine for the big spenders among us (and kudos to you if you’re one of them!), but for the others who have a tighter budget, this could be a big problem.
Brewing your own coffee at home, on the other hand, normally works out to just 16 to 18 cents per cup. That comes to a much more manageable $58.40 to $65.70 per year.
There are, of course, other initial costs involved in becoming your own barista, such as purchasing a good coffee machine (see this review for Amazon’s top pick [LINK]) and the coffee grounds that go in it, but over time, these costs are averaged out, and the savings far outweigh what you spent. Plus, the quality if the coffee made at home can be just as good (or even better!) than the coffee you buy on your way to work – if you make it well. There are a multitude of different options for every coffee lover out there, so you can still get the café experience you love without the café.
Tips for Brewing Great Coffee at Home
Okay, so now that you’re thinking about getting a new coffeemaker or dusting off your old one at home, you’re probably wondering just how you can get that good café taste from your own beans. Here are a few quick tips to turn you into a great barista overnight. You’ll be putting Starbucks out of business in no time!
1. Buy the right beans
You can’t make great coffee with subpar coffee beans or grounds. If you want café quality, you have to do your research, and possibly spend a bit extra to buy the best roasters you can find. Whether you buy beans, grounds, or K-Cup pods, check online and find out which one provides the best, smoothest taste and give it a try. Our top ten list below is a great place to start!
2. Don’t be afraid to experiment
You might not find that perfect coffee bean on the first try! Consider buying sample packs of various different types of coffees, so that you can try them all and find your best match. Many brands offer variety packs as well, so you can switch up your coffee routine whenever you want!
3. Use fresh beans
No matter how good your coffee beans or grounds are to start with, they’re not going to stay good forever. Make sure to buy fresh coffee beans or grounds in order to get the most (and the best) flavor. Most bags at the store will have a “roasted on” date on the side or the back so you can know how fresh they are (and if they don’t have this date, don’t buy them! There is no telling how long they have been sitting there). Keep these beans fresh and flavorful by storing them in an airtight container, as exposure to too much oxygen degrades the flavor and makes the coffee stale.
4. Don’t Use K-Cups
Keurig and Nescafé both have some extremely popular coffee makers that work using a small pod full of coffee grounds that you insert directly into the machine. This makes it easy to use and convenient as all get-out, but coffee connoisseurs often turn up their noses at this method. These K-Cups are expensive and their packaging has been labeled as harmful for the environment, but that is not the only problem. Most coffee experts agree that if you want great, coffeehouse-quality coffee, you aren’t going to get it from a pod. The flavor in the grounds disintegrates too quickly, and the coffee that is produced as a result is subpar at best.
5. Ignore Tip #4 (if you want)
Coffee “experts” may not be sold on Keurig or Nescafé’s machines, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are some of the most used and well-loved coffeemakers on the market right now. If you look at the reviews on Amazon or other sites, you will find that most people are extremely happy with the coffee produced by these machines, so if it sounds like something you would like to try, try it! You are your own barista, you should find your own great brew that is true to you.
Now that you know how to make better coffee for less money at home, here is a list of the best coffees on the market to try in your new (or old!) coffee machine. If you don’t have a machine yet, check out our review of Keurig’s K575 Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker here for an idea!
The Top 10 Best Coffees of 2018
1. GEVALIA Traditional Blend Coffee
This 100% Arabica coffee is smooth and sensuous, with a strong scent and flavor of “dried and fresh fruit notes.” You get six twelve-ounce bags of Gevalia coffee grounds in this pack, which will certainly last you a while: the recommended amount is one rounded spoonful of coffee per six-ounce cup.
2. K-Cup Coffee Lover’s Variety Sampler
Remember how we said before that you should try lots of coffees and see which one is your favorite? Well this 40-cup pack lets you do just that! It comes with two Keurig single-serve K-Cups for each of 20 different brands. This allows you to try twenty different brews in a variety of flavors and roasts, so that you can find your new favorite coffee, or so that you can switch up your routine and have a different coffee every day!
3. Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend Coffee for K-cup Pods
Sticking with the K-Cups, Dunkin’ Donuts brand coffee lets you enjoy the same coffee you can get from your favorite convenience store at home – literally. Dunkin’ Donuts has long been a preferred brand of coffee, and now you can make 60 cups of their smooth, classic blend in your own Keurig coffeemaker. Note: Doughnuts not included.
4. Starbucks Breakfast Blend Medium Roast Ground Coffee
Still missing Starbucks? Then this one is for you! You don’t have to pay out the wazoo to get Starbucks coffee at a Starbucks store, you can make it on your own with this 20 ounce bag of Starbucks Breakfast Blend coffee grounds. This lighter roast is smooth and rich, without being as intense as some other coffees. It is perfect for starting your day off right.
5. Death Wish Ground Coffee
Death Wish makes the world’s strongest coffee – and it’s not for lightweights. The flavor is bold and it has a huge kick of caffeine to keep you amped up for hours. This 16-ounce bag of organic coffee grounds can be used in almost any coffee machine. Just ask yourself one question first: Do you have a death wish?
6. Tim Hortons 100% Arabica Medium Roast Original Blend Ground Coffee
Tim Horton’s 100% Arabica Medium Roast Original Blend Ground Coffee makes use of a special blend that Tim Horton’s has been using since it opened in 1964. This ground coffee is fresh, and should always be served that way: at Tim Horton’s cafes, it is always served within twenty minutes of brewing so that customers always get the best coffee possible.
7. Folgers Classic Roast Ground Coffee
You can’t have a list of coffee without mentioning Folgers. This brand has been THE brand in American coffee for decades, and conjures up feelings of relaxation and home. This 30-ounce canister is airtight to keep your coffee fresh, and the coffee itself is roasted right here at home, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
8. Peet’s Coffee, Decaf House Blend
Not everyone wants that kick of caffeine in their morning coffee. Peet’s Decaf House Blend gives you the great taste of coffee without the jitters. Newly available in K-Cups, this blend can be brewed in any Keurig-style coffee machine to make getting your daily decaf even easier.
9. Lavazza Caffe Espresso Ground Coffee Blend
Italians know how to make the world’s best espresso, and Lavazza comes straight from their homeland. This 100% Arabica bean coffee is blended and roasted in Italy, and produces a deep, delicious, smooth flavor that will leave you wanting more than that tiny espresso cup can give you.
10. Valhalla Java Ground Coffee by Death Wish Coffee Company
As the Amazon description says, “Harness the power of Odin with this masterful artisan roast.” From the makers of Death Wish coffee, this artisan blend is completely organic, and masterfully crafted to give you a delicious, flavorful coffee at home. And it’s risk-free: if you don’t like it, you can return it for a full refund!
Did you find your perfect coffee match? Let us know in the comments!