I was at Sur La Table Fashion Valley the other day, taking advantage of the free knife sharpening, when I got the chance to speak to a very awesome sales lady. The biggest hype are not only the amazing Jura and De'Longhi espresso makers but the Nespresso Machines. "They are all the rage!" I have friends that swear by their K-Cup machines and pods proclaiming the value of "only $0.61" a cup and the necessity for speed. But we have to come and realize the bigger picture. There's not that much coffee in them!
When it comes down to it, I thoroughly enjoy sampling freshly roasted beans from places like Bird Rock Coffee, Intelligentsia, Dark Horse, Philz, Tonx, grinding them fresh using my Baratza Virtuoso and executing a fine Hario v60 pour over which yes does require a goose neck kettle (Hario Buono). It's calming and an art I strive to perfect every morning I'm home. I also only end up producing one paper filter of waste compared to the non-bidegrable k-cups / pods that have been filling up our landfills at an estimated one billion per year.
Whether it's delicious or not, single-cup coffee is expensive. In fact, pound-for-pound, it costs consumers far more than the finest artisanal coffee available in the Bay Area. A 24-pack of Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cup, for example, typically retails for $16.49. The capsules each hold roughly 8 grams of coffee, which means that the 24-pack works out to about $39 a pound. A 24-pack of Starbucks House Blend typically costs $22.49, or about $53 a pound. By contrast, the same Starbucks roast costs just $12 a pound when sold in a single bag. An artisanal bean, like Four Barrel Coffee's Kenya Gatomboya, a shade-grown coffee from a 700-member cooperative, costs $18 for a 12-ounce bag, or about $24 a pound.
But as expensive as single-cup coffee is for consumers, the costs to the environment are even higher.