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How Many Cups of Coffee Must You Make For Your $8,000 Espresso Machine To Make Financial Sense?

Are you better off just purchasing your latte from a café every time?

One of the selling points of coffee machines is that they bring the same high-quality coffee experience to your home at a fraction of the price. But how much coffee do you need to drink for it to be worth the hefty investment?

There are many different types of coffee machines in the market, which range from pod/capsule coffee machines to filter machines and commercial coffee machines. Each type of machine differs in function, quality and price.

Pod or capsule coffee machines are the easiest and fastest way to make coffee easily in the comfort of your home. Some of these machines also come along with milk frothers (about SGD150) to cater to the coffee-lovers that enjoy milk with their coffee. This gives you the chance to make a latte, cappuccino and other coffees at home.

However, if you want to come closest to replicating the coffee that is produced from cafes, you need a proper espresso machine.

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What Goes Into a Cup of Coffee?

The cost of purchasing the coffee machine does not mean that the cost of your coffee is settled. There are a few other costs to factor in.


#1 Coffee Beans

Many cafes have their own house blends. Light roast or dark roast? Fruit or cocoa? Different bags of beans are roasted differently from different parts of the world. Some beans are cheaper while others are more expensive. Some people swear by a certain type of roast while others might be more price-sensitive.

How much you spend on purchasing would depend on the type of bean and quantity purchased. In general, a bag of beans (about 250g) costs around SGD15. A bag of this size can probably make you about 10-12 cups of coffee depending on how many shots you include in each cup.

We also have to consider if the coffee beans come whole or grinded. For whole beans, a coffee bean grinder would be necessary for you the turn the whole beans into powder before you can make your espresso.

Estimated Cost Per Cup: $1.50 – Note that this is an average price, there are many coffee blends available that could cost up to $3 per cup or more


#2 Other Ingredients

Besides coffee beans, to make a cup of coffee for yourself might require the purchase of other ingredients such as milk and sugar. Some people might also prefer adding options such as soy milk, almond milk, skim milk, vanilla syrup and mocha powder to their coffees.

Estimated Cost Per Cup: $0.50

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Total Cost Per Cup

Based on the factors included above, a cup of coffee you make at home would cost about SGD2 (estimated).

Assuming a cup of coffee bought from a café would cost about SGD5, this would mean that you save approximately SGD3 for every cup of coffee you make.


How Many Cups of Coffee Would You Need to Make

A commercial coffee machine does not come cheap. These commercial coffee machines range from SGD2,000 to more than SGD20,000. Let’s also not forget that these machines, like any other machinery, require servicing and maintenance, and comes with a fee. Miscellaneous costs include the cost of other equipment such as coffee grinders, servicing, extra cups for shots and frothing of milk.

Assuming that one of these machines cost SGD8,000 after adding miscellaneous costs, you would need to make more than 2,667 cups of coffee for your espresso machine to make financial sense. This is based on the SGD3 you save by making the coffee at home. The 2,667 cups of coffee would have cost you SGD13,335 if you bought it from a café.


Is This Realistic?

Based on 2,667 cups of coffee, assuming you make 3 cups a day, means 889 days of making coffee. This means that you would need about 2.5 years of making 3 cups of coffee a day to justify purchasing an expensive, commercial coffee machine.

Note that a more expensive machine would thus require more cups of coffee to be made for the purchase of the machine be justified.

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Time and Effort

Making a cup of coffee on your own is fun. You can control how many shots you would like, how much milk to add, how hot the milk is and add other ingredients to make the coffee perfect for yourself.

However, making a cup of coffee takes time. There is a lot of time spent preparing to make the coffee, making the coffee itself and cleaning up after that. Would you be able to spare that extra 10 to 15 minutes in the morning to prepare a cup of coffee for yourself?

It takes skill to be a barista and such skills require time to hone. Not everyone can master creating beautiful latte art. Of course, we can also opt for cheaper coffee machines such as capsule coffee machines that are fairly easy to use and relatively hassle-free. For a good cup of coffee, perhaps we might be better off purchasing from a café rather than spending thousands on a premium coffee machine.

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