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We compare the cost and convenience of caffeinating at home versus a café. 

Coffee - that beverage that has most of us captured in its charm. For those of us who are official coffee addicts, we rarely go a day without having our cup (or cups). Those touch screen coffee machines that bring our coffee to our mugs are revered as sacred instruments. And the instant coffee machine rank among the many that bring us our brew every morning – and afternoon and evening as well!

Coffee machines come in every shape, color, and configuration. Whatever level of convenience you desire; whatever brewing capacity you need; whatever time considerations are pertinent to you – it’s all out there in one machine. But for those who want a good, hot cup of coffee – fast – then the instant coffee machine is the thing to have.

The instant coffee machine – most often seen in an office setting – allows the user to simply add the appropriate amount of water for one cup of coffee into the top of the machine, add the pre-measured coffee packet into the coffee compartment and press the on switch. Your coffee comes out almost immediately. The great part about the pre-made coffee packets is that they come in a variety of flavors that you can keep on hand and use depending on what you are in the mood to drink.

The instant coffee machine is sold in number of retail stores. Depending on its functionality the price will vary accordingly. Most of the larger, more commercial machines are bigger and pricier. But you can also find a small instant coffee machine model for in home use as well. You can buy a large supply of the pre-made coffee packets at the same time. It may be a larger expense at the beginning but it will soon pay for itself as you save money on the pricey coffee shop lattes and espressos.

The instant coffee machine is the fast way to getting the perfect cup of coffee in any flavor that you desire. Check out the varieties available on the market today and you can be well on the way to your perfect cup!

1. The cost to your pocket

Given that a cup of coffee costs about $4 at a café, and as much as $5 in some areas (both regional and metro – it's not just the cosmopolitan cafés charging big bucks for their coffee), you could be spending upwards of $1500 a year if you have one cup of café coffee a day. 

And that number just goes up if you sometimes sneak in an extra brew or two, or get a muffin as well. 

So, would you be better off taking that cash and investing it in your own instant coffee machine? Let's have a look at the numbers. 

The cost of the machine

At CHOICE, we review a wide range of coffee machines – automatic, semiautomatic, manual and pod, vending coffee machine– and they vary drastically in price from $37 to $3999. 

Pod or capsule coffee machines are usually cheaper than manual espresso machines (you can pick up a basic pod unit for less than $100 or splurge up to $699). 

But our expert taste testers agree that if you're fussy about flavour, a manual espresso machine will almost always give you the best, barista-like results. This is because it gives you the most control over the brewing process. 

The cost of the coffee: Ground vs pods

You also need to take into account the cost of pods and capsules if you have a pod or capsule machine, or ground coffee or beans if you have a manual or automatic. This is where your cash outlay will vary wildly.

Although you can pick up a bag of ground coffee from the supermarket for as little as $12 per kilogram, coffee aficionados will argue the best results will come from barista beans, which could cost you about $50 or more per kilogram. 

Depending on the size of your grind, a kilogram of beans should give you about 120 to 140 single shots of coffee or 60 to 70 double shots (based on eight grams for a single shot, 16 for a double). 

Doing the maths: Making a coffee with grinder coffee machine vs buying one

We've compared coffee costs for a year below, based on buying a manual espresso machine as they deliver the most barista-like results. Keep in mind, your personal preferences (for equipment, coffee brand, even how much milk you use) will change the costs – this is a guide only. 

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