K-Cups – Financially Stupid or Stupid Awesome?

In the past, I’ve worked at offices that have the fancy coffee machines where you select your preferred coffee pod or K-cup and it makes a single cup of coffee just for you.

I always loved this at those jobs because it meant that I got to drink good flavored coffee instead of plain, terrible office coffee.

But it would never even occur to me to buy one of these little machines at home because it doesn’t seem practical.

I know a lot people are buying these single-serve Keurig coffee makers, but it seems like a financially stupid decision to me.

Or is it?

Since I love coffee, I thought it deserved a good, hard look.

Well, not too hard, just a little math.

I assume that people buy these primarily for convenience or because they are the only person in their home that drinks coffee (and they never have more than one cup at a time).

And I think there is nothing wrong with paying a little extra if it saves you a good deal of time, but even that has its limits.

Cost of Keurig & K-Cups

Keurig coffee makers are not cheap. Looking at the Keurig site, the cheapest one I see is $89.95.

Then we have the coffee.

Looks like there are over 200 varieties and I chose the same brand that I drink at home – Newman’s Own Organic, which has a price of $60.99 for the 80 cup value pack.

The real question, though, is how much coffee is actually in a single -cup?

The info is not anywhere on the Keurig site as they claim that it varies by brand/type.

From what I can gather, it appears that it is roughly 8 grams per K-cup.

Cost of Drip Coffee Maker & Bagged Coffee

You can order a decent coffee maker for around $20 or so.

Personally, I have a Bunn coffee maker that I paid around $80 for a few years ago.

We make around 7-9 pots of coffee a day in my house, so the Bunn is a great investment for us over the $20 option.

In fact, we used to use cheaper coffee makers but they regularly broke no matter how well we took care of them.

And, I pay around $9 for a bag of Newman’s Own Organic coffee at my local grocery store.

Stupid or Stupid Awesome?

If you look at my bag of coffee that is 10 ounces, or 35.44 K-cups (1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams).

That means to drink the same coffee in a K-cup that I drink in my Bunn coffee maker, it would cost me $26.68  in coffee (roughly half of the value pack listed above).

So, the bagged coffee is cheaper. My Bunn coffee maker is cheaper.

And my Bunn machine makes a full pot in under 5 minutes so it is no slower than the one cup in one minute Keurig maker.

Even if you are the only person who drinks coffee in the house and you only drink one cup a day – you are still losing money by using the Keurig machine.

Coffee cost with Keurig maker: $26.68

Coffee cost with Bunn machine: $8.99

Difference: ($17.69)

Of course, the Keurig is still cheaper than regular trips to Starbucks.

image: Mike Prosser/Flicker, CC2.0

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  1. I can’t see the point of K-cups. I have a single cup coffee maker that I’ve had for years. It’s a Black and Decker. Since I live alone, I can buy a 900 gm can of Maxwell House coffee for $5 and it lasts me a month. I see you can now get refillable pods so you can use your own coffee, which makes a lot more sense. But I won’t be getting one that takes K-cups unless I absolutely have to. And I also have an 8 cup coffee maker which I only use when I have company but I could use it for just myself as well if I had to.

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