By August 10, 2011

The Cost of Making New Orleans Cold Press Coffee

I really enjoy drinking homemade cold press coffee. I’ve drank quite a bit of the stuff since writing my how-to. So I got to thinking: what’s the price for homemade cold press coffee?

This March I ran a three way cost comparison for making coffee via drip, AeroPress and the Keurig K-Cup. In the spirit of half-baked research, I did it some calculations on how much my “coffee moonshine” cost me.

I make small batches at a time — usually 1 1/3 cup of coarsely ground coffee and 48 ounces of water. After sitting for 12 hours, this yields 40 ounces of concentrate. I mix 50% water, 50% concentrate to drink, so each batch makes 80 ounces of mixed beverage.

I currently use the Guatamalan whole bean coffee from Costco. It’s available at $18.99 for three pounds, or $0.40 an ounce.

I use 3.5 ounces of ground coffee per batch, for a cost of $1.40 per batch. 80 ounces of mixed beverage comes out to $0.18 per 8 ounce glass, rounded up.

That puts homemade cold press coffee at the most expensive coffee I make here, but still less expensive than the disposable Keurig K-Cup:

Brewer typeCost per 8oz cup
Bunn NXHB$0.07
Aerobie AeroPress$0.14
New Orleans-style Cold Press$0.18
Keurig K-Cup (Coffee People Kona Blend)$0.56

Popular regional coffee franchise Dunn Brothers sells their Infinite Black cold press coffee for $10 per 64 liquid ounces of mixed beverage. That comes out to $1.25 per 8 ounce glass. I expect to pay a premium when I buy coffee at a shop, but this seems expensive even for me. I typically order an Americano, which is two shots of espresso and hot water. That has to be one of the cheapest drinks to make at a coffee shop and has a high markup percentage. However, I justify the cost a bit by telling myself I don’t have a super expensive espresso machine at home. Having worked in two coffee shops in my life, I know that it’s a pain in the ass to maintain an espresso machine, and tamping grounds is an art form.

However, with New Orleans-style cold press coffee you just grind some coffee up, add water, store it for 12 hours, and strain. You really can make the same quality of coffee you’d get at a shop, and at a drastically less expensive price.

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1 Comment on "The Cost of Making New Orleans Cold Press Coffee"

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  1. Jenner says:

    I work in the financial district of San Francisco. My building sits on a large urban plaza. From the middle you can see 8 coffee outlets, including two Starbucks and one of those Starbucks even sits next door to a Peets. There are lines out of each of these places and conservatively a cup averages $3. I need to quit my job, get a vendor cart, come up with a catchy name and image and sell coffee. Since any new outlet has plenty of people who were standing in line at the others for customers. If I got only 500 customers per work day I would gross just shy of $400k a year. Not bad for a cup of coffee that by your chart probably at worst would cost me 50ยข plus a paper cup. My point, coffee doesn’t seem to be a price conscious choice for people. For some, too lazy to make at home, for others it’s a social thing, for some they are just too dumb to realize paying $80-100 a month on coffee is a little much on their $42k secretarial jobs. Coffee is status or social for a lot of people, the actual drink is not really the point. I bet if Starbucks made their daily selection out of Maxwell House few would notice.