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January 25, 20189 min readHome

How I Save $650 With My At-Home Zero Waste Coffee Routine


If you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug - follow me here), you’ll know I’m obsessed with my morning cup of coffee.

I tend to wake up at 6:10 and make my way to the kitchen to start my kettle at 6:20. Although I like to think that I’m not addicted to coffee, deep down I know I would be grumpy and sluggish without it.

This habit may be something for me to explore kicking in the future, but for now there’s no way I’m letting go of it.

About a year ago when I went zero waste, I decided that I was going to invest in my coffee routine from the start as I was going to cut my coffee shop addiction.

Yes, it’s possible to be zero waste in a coffee shop. Stay in and drink from their ceramic mug or ask they pour your coffee into your reusable thermos.

However, as a graduating senior going zero waste, I wanted to challenge myself and see how much money I could also save by making my coffee at home.

When I started going zero waste I began to realize not only how wasteful buying coffees out was to the environment, but how terrible it was for my wallet! Since switching to this zero waste coffee routine, I've saved over $650! Win for the environment, win for my wallet!

My Zero Waste Coffee Routine Set Up:

I’m going to admit off the bat that I spurlged on my coffee routine. That will be clearly evident by their cost points. It want to emphasize that you don’t have to spend as much as I did to have zero waste coffee. But I’ll get into that later in the blog.

After hours of research, the first thing I decided to splurge on was my Chemex.


The first thing that caught my eye about this coffee maker was it’s elegant design. Apparently, I’m not the only one that finds it aesthetically pleasing as it’s a permanent display at the MoMa.

Looking past it’s design, the Chemex will brew one hell of a good cup of coffee. As a pour-over style of coffee maker, you’re assured your grounds will never over steep and turn out bitter. It’s made of a non-porous borosilicate glass - which means it’s easy to keep clean and very strong. It doesn’t have any nooks or crannies, meaning it clean with a quick swipe with a brush and some water.

Chemex cost: \$47

To go with the Chemex, you need some filters.

Coffee Filters

I bought these reusable coffee filters.

You don’t need to wash them as it’s only coming into contact with coffee beans and water on a daily basis. After I pour water over the coffee grounds and let it drain through the coffee filter, I just shake the grounds into my compost.

If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll save them for a DIY coffee scrub (mix it with coconut oil and use in the shower for a deliciously smelling and exfoliating body scrub).

Coffee Filter cost: \$12 (for two)

To get those coffee grounds steeping, you need to have a hot water vessel.

Hot Water Kettle

After a long internal battle, I decided to splurge on this gooseneck kettle.

This kettle is one of the most handsome designs too (can you tell I have a thing for modern simplistic design).

The gooseneck spouts allows for a more controlled and consistent flow rate.

The handle is super comfy to grip, especially in the morning when sometimes I don’t want to be up and I need to ensure everything I do is efficient and comfortable.

Kettle Cost: \$36

Arguably one of the most important parts of making coffee, the coffee grinder!

Coffee grinder

I bought this one.

Although it’s held up well over the past year, I wish I had held out for a manual one. I’ve stumbled on a couple use manual ones in thrift stores, and buying one of those would have been drastically better for the environment (and cheaper for me).

However, c’est la vie, I bought it and I will use this one until it dies!

Coffee Grinder cost: \$25

My One-time Coffee Set Up Cost: \$120

Cheaper zero waste option:

Remember when I told you I spent a pretty penny on my coffee set up? Yeah, I know.

However, you DO NOT have to spend as much as I did.  Try this instead:

Thrift a French Press

I’ve found these all over thrift stores, and they typically run for about \$8. Bonus, you don’t need any filters!

Cost: \$8

Thrift a coffee bean grinder:

Once again, these are littered around thrift stores. Usually, they are \$5.

Coffee Grinder Cost: \$5

RELATED: How to Reuse Glass Jars


I haven’t found these as frequently in thrift stores. If you need one asap, I’d check with friends, family, and Craigslist. If those aren’t an option for you, check out this one.

Kettle Cost: \$28

Cheaper One-Time Coffee Set up Cost: \$41

Variable Cost

 Coffee Beans:

I buy my coffee beans in bulk from Whole Foods.

And I only buy fair trade coffee after discovering the amount of slave and child labor utilized in conventional coffee bean cultivation.

Coffee cost: \$15

This lasts me about 2 weeks with daily use, which comes out to about \$1.07 per cup of at home coffee

RELATED: Easy Zero Waste Swaps

Coffee Routine

Prior to my morning routine, I'll obviously buy my coffee beans in bulk and cart them home. Once home, I'll whip out my coffee grinder and grind a cup or two of beans so they're ready for the week (I don't like grinding my beans in the morning because the machine is kind of loud and I don't want to wake up my roommates, and I'm also lazy in the morning).

This routine only happens in the morning as I try to only have the cup cups of coffee my Chemex produces throughout the morning. If I have coffee later in the day, it'll keep me up past my bedtime.

After my alarm wakes me up at 6 am, I shuffle to my kitchen and fill up my kettle with water.

While it's heating up on the stove I'll hop in the shower.

After about 5 minutes, the kettle is whistling and ready to go. I'll head over to my coffee station to deal with my used coffee grounds I've let sit out and dry and either make a coffee scrub with it and coconut oil, or I'll throw them into my compost.

I'll then rinse my coffee filter and place back into my Chemex, and pour in two tablespoons of pre-ground coffee.

Per Chemex instructions (and the advice of many moustached hipsters on the internet) I first pour only enough hot water to cover and soak the grounds. I let that rest for about a minute and then will pour in the rest of the water.

While that's draining, I'll normally prepare my breakfast and assemble my snacks for the day.

Once all the water has been filtered through my coffee grounds, I'll pour that into my thermos along with 1/4 cup of coconut milk. I like coconut milk because it tastes amazing, provides some healthy fats, and comes in a recyclable metal tin.

Viola! I'm done!

Cost of Buying Coffee Out

According to this article, we millennials spend about \$3 a day on coffee.

Average daily cost: \$3

Average yearly cost: \$1,100

Savings from my routine:

I only need to make 62 coffees at home (8 weeks) before I've recouped that cost.

\$15 coffee/14 days =1.07 unit cost of coffee per day

If the average cup of coffee is \$3, I save 1.93 on coffee alone.

120/1.93= 62, meaning you'd have to drink 62 cups (2 months) of homemade coffee to recoup your investment costs.

After two months, you've recouped your investment compared to daily purchases of average franchise coffee. From that point forward, you'd be saving $54/month or $648 per year!

One more time for the people in the back:

You can save \$648 or more a year by making zero waste coffee at home!


Wrapping it up!

Well ladies and gents, that's all I got for you on this subject.

I hope this has inspired you to start making some coffee at home, zero waste style, for both the environment and your wallet's sake.

And as always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments down below :)

Such an easy way to save money!!! Living a zero waste lifestyle doesn't have to mean spending money, instead, you can save A LOT of it! Make delicious coffee while saving money is a win-win

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Hi, I'm Taylor

Amateur adult. Zero waste zealot. Personal finance fiend. Spicy food supporter. I’m an mid 20’s gal living in Denver, Colorado. My love of the outdoors has cultivated my zero waste lifestyle, which inadvertently fueled my passion for personal finance. Cheers to everyone interested in lessening their footprint while growing their wallet!


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