COVID and Coffee

In this article, I’ll explore the cost savings and added benefits of making my own daily latte versus my former daily Starbucks habit.

Coffee cup infographic with layers of coffee and milk representing percentage of costs

Going Remote

March 16th, 2020 was the last day I was in the office before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to go remote. That morning was like any other and started with a stop at my local Starbucks. Little did I know, it would be my last.

Lockdown in March started with brewed coffee at home each morning, but I quickly started to miss my daily espresso-based latte. After joining several Reddit groups (r/Coffee, r/coffeestations, r/espresso) and researching the best pro-sumer machines to craft lattes at home , I decided to purchase the Breville Barista Express — an affordable, yet highly rated espresso machine with built in grinder.

Breville Barista Express photo

Brew your Own

Despite the hardships introduced by the effects of COVID-19, there were good, unexpected things to develop as well — more time with family, discovering how to bake, and for me: crafting my own morning latte.

One of the attractive features of the Barista Express was the numerous YouTube videos allowing a noob barista to get up to speed crafting lattes relatively quickly. More generally, there is a whole sub-culture of coffee snobs and enthusiasts who love to share tips and tricks crafting high quality coffee and creative latte art — or more often latte art fails.

Calculating ROI

Perhaps the best thing about crafting your own coffee at home is the substantial cost savings.

TL;DR — Achieve ROI in 200 days

While the sky’s the limit with home espresso machines and accessories, it’s still possible to craft a better-than-Starbucks coffee at home on a budget of $1000 or less. Below is the breakdown of costs for my fully-functional coffee station:

These costs together amount to about $2/day over the course of a year. Add in the costs of coffee, milk, and the electricity to run the machine and your morning cup of coffee suddenly costs way less than what you would have spent at your local Starbucks for a mediocre espresso drink. Add up these savings and ROI is archived in just over 200 days for a single daily latte. That number drops to under 100 days when you have 2 latte drinkers in the household.

For that single latte drinker, the breakdown of costs for your morning latte is as follows over the course of the year:

  • Coffee Maker — 65.73%
  • Milk — 17.48%
  • Coffee — 9.62%
  • Accessories — 6.57%
  • Electricity — 0.60%

(yes, electricity thanks so Sense monitoring.)


March 16th, 2020 was my last Starbucks — and I haven’t looked back. Crafting my own coffee at home has saved me close to $1000 in the first year and only gets cheaper everyday.

Thanks COVID!




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Jake Holmquist

Jake Holmquist

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