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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, July 04, 2011

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Coffee

Frugal Kitchens 101

A couple of weeks ago I caught a new segment warning of the rising price of coffee.  According to the segment the price of coffee is predicted to rise 98% before the end of the year.  That is a substantial increase that will have the highest impact on coffee drinkers who indulge on buying coffee at coffee shops but will also affect those making coffee at home.  Coffee prices at the coffee shops and restaurants range from included with a meal, to just over a dollar to as high as $6 or more for specialty coffee.  Coffee made at home ranges in price from about 5¢ per cup (brand name, on sale), 9¢ per cup (brand name coffee, not on sale), to as high as 79¢ for K-cups (Keurig single cup brewer).  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101 discusses some ways to save money on coffee. 

  • buy organic - Organic coffee is worth the extra expense because it eliminates pesticide and herbicide residues.  
  • buy fair trade if possible - Fair trade is a certification that indicates the producers are being paid fairly so they are able to provide themselves and their families with the necessities of life.
  • buy on sale - The rising costs of coffee will make it a loss leader in grocery stores.  A loss leader is an item sold below what it cost the grocery store to stock in the hopes that when you are in the store you will pick up a couple more items that the store will make money on.  An example of this is Maxwell House ground coffee was up to $10.48 per 926 g container at No Frills.  This past week, the same size container was on for $5 at Sobeys, limit of 3 per customer.  We bought six total that will help us ride out the rising prices for almost a year.
  • coffee shop loyalty - Tim Horton's is Canada's coffee shop chain and while their prices are reasonable they are still more expensive than coffee made at home.  However, ground Tim Horton's coffee is available at each of their coffee shops as well as in some grocery stores.  So you can enjoy your favourite coffee shop coffee at home.  It is more expensive than the regular brand name ground coffee at 34¢ per cup but about a third of the price of a small Tim Horton's coffee at the coffee shop.  Other larger coffee shop chains are selling their whole bean and ground coffee in their coffee shops and grocery stores as well. 
  • make coffee at home - If at all possible, make coffee at home.  The savings will be substantial allowing you to indulge in good coffee making equipment that will continue to save money for years to come.  Even if you don't want to take a thermos to work, there are now coffee bags much like tea bags at well under the price per cup of coffee shop coffee.  If your place of employment has a Keurig, Melitta One:One or Tassimo single serve coffee maker, buy your own K-cups or pods if you have to pay for the coffee there.  Bring a small can of coffee and the re-usable K-cup filter if there is a Keurig. 
  • splurge on the necessary equipment - If you enjoy coffee, buy good equipment that will last.  For example, we have: a Melitta espresso maker; Keurig single serve coffee/tea brewer, percolator, coffee grinder, specialty coffeeware, and travel mugs.  Pamper yourself a few specialty items like espresso cups, a French coffee press, and a good coffee grinder.  Put things in perspective as far as cost. Take-out coffee at $1.50 per cup, one per work day per year will cost $360.  That buys a lot of nice equipment and coffee but then the equipment continues to pay for itself saving you the cost of coffee shop coffee.
  • storage - Coffee beans should be stored away from direct light.  Ideally, coffee should be ground just before making the coffee for best flavour and aroma.  Don't grind more than you will use that day as coffee once ground quickly loses the essential oils for flavour.  Ground coffee should be stored in the refrigerator.  K-cups and Tassimo pods should be stored in a cool, dry location away from direct light.  One:One pods should be stored in a sealed, glass container in a cool, dry location away from direct light.

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