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Updated: 5 May 2022

How much your barista coffee habit is really costing you

Investing in a decent home coffee machine will help you recreate your favourite barista coffees - and save you a fortune over time

If you’re a barista coffee fan, you’re probably already well aware of how much a daily coffee shop coffee can add to your weekly expenses. 

Based on spending £1.95 on a coffee shop espresso every day, we’ve calculated you’d spend up to £60 per month, £712 every year and a staggering £3,559 over five years - and these savings stack up even quicker if you’re a fan of cappuccinos, lattes and other coffee shop drinks. 

Investing in a home coffee machine could save you a fortune - but choose the right type, and you’ll potentially save even more. We’ve done the maths…

See our pick of the best coffee machines.

What’s the most affordable way to drink good coffee at home?

Couple drinking coffee at home

If you’re looking to save money by buying a home coffee machine, we’ve calculated what type of machine will give you the most savings.

Pod machines are the cheapest to buy, with the machines that we’ve tested working out at an average of £140, compared to espresso machines at an average cost of £223 and bean-to-cup machines at £711. Although the smaller upfront cost might seem appealing, keep in mind that the cost of buying coffee pods can rack up significantly over time.

We’ve crunched the numbers so you can see approximately how much each home coffee machine type will cost you over five years. These costs are based on drinking two espressos a day every day, for five years, plus the upfront cost of our cheapest relevant Best Buy coffee machine.


Upfront cost
Cost after 1 yearCost after 2 yearsCost after 3 years
Cost after 4 years
Cost after 5 years
Pod
£95£307£518£730£941£1,153
Espresso
£70£185£301£416£532£647
Bean-to-cup£290£405£521£636£752£867

Espresso machines work out the cheapest over five years at a total cost of around £647, followed by bean-to-cup machines which will set you back around £867. Owning a pod machine is by far the most expensive option at a total cost of around £1,153 after five years.

Is it cheaper to buy ground coffee or pods?

Using a pod machine

The staggering difference in the running costs of machines over time comes down to the cost of coffee pods. Consider Nespresso for example. The cheapest Nespresso branded pod costs 36p per pod (£3.60 for a pack of ten). Alternatively if you were to use Illy Espresso Ground Coffee (£5.50 per tin), you’d need 7g of ground coffee for an espresso, which works out at just over 15p per drink. This is around 40% cheaper than using a coffee pod.

Some Nespresso compatible pods, such as Aldi’s Alcafé Espresso pods, work out slightly cheaper at 14p per drink, but you’ll still get more for your money from a tin of ground coffee. 

Buying ground coffee and using an espresso machine or even a cafetiere or filter coffee machine is by far the most affordable way to drink real coffee at home. 

Many pods are also made from plastic or aluminium, so can’t be placed straight into your household recycling. So ground coffee is also a more sustainable option as it can be placed in your food waste or home composting bin.  

Explore our round-up of the best Nespresso-compatible pods

Espresso machine pros and cons

Making coffee with espresso machine

So espresso machines that use ground coffee work out the cheapest, but would this machine be the right choice for your home coffee machine? These pros and cons will help you decide.

Pros

  • Not limited by one brand of ground coffee unlike pod machines
  • Many take ESE (easy serve espresso) pods which are like coffee tea-bags, as a quicker, less messy option
  • Many have dials and controls to tailor the size and strength of the coffee 

Cons

  • Typically more cleaning involved 
  • Takes more time to prepare a coffee compared to an automatic machine

Check out the best espresso machines.

Not ready to give up your barista coffee habit?

Buying coffee in a coffee shop

If you still like the idea of a daily coffee, joining a loyalty scheme will save you money, but which one? We’ve recently reviewed coffee loyalty schemes too.

Costa currently offers the most generous loyalty scheme: every four drinks you purchase in a reusable cup will get you one for free. 

With Caffè Nero’s loyalty scheme, you get two stamps when you use a reusable cup, with nine stamps earning you a free hot drink. 

Meanwhile if you’re a Starbucks regular for your barista coffee, you’ll have to spend £50 before getting a free hot drink.  

Take a look at our round-up of the best coffee loyalty schemes.