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You might be wondering if your coffee maker is driving up your electric bill. And if it is, how you can save some money while still being able to drink coffee. Here’s what you want to know.
Coffee makers can use a significant amount of electricity. Drip coffee makers are generally quite pretty efficient and use only a bit more than an electric kettle to brew a cup of coffee. Espresso machines and bean to cup machines do use significantly more energy per cup.
Let’s dive into the details of how much power these things consume and how you can save on your power bill while brewing coffee.
- 1 How Much Electricity Do Coffee Makers Use?
- 2 Drip coffee maker energy consumption
- 3 Espresso machine energy consumption
- 4 Bean-to-cup machine energy consumption
- 5 Which Type Of Coffee Makers Use Less Electricity?
- 6 How To Make Coffee With Little Power Use?
- 7 Recommended Espresso Equipment
How Much Electricity Do Coffee Makers Use?
How much power a coffee maker uses brew you a cup of coffee depends greatly on the type of coffee maker you’re using. There are roughly three types of coffee makers people use at home;
- Drip coffee maker
- Espresso machine
- Bean to cup machine
Let’s take a look at those different types of coffee makers and their energy consumption.
Drip coffee maker energy consumption
Drip coffee makers tend to be the simplest and use the least amount of energy of the types of coffee makers listed here.
Drip coffee makers are very simple appliances. They just boil the water in the reservoir and the pressure that generates is what pushes the water out of the spout. The other energy consumers in a drip coffee maker are the light/display and a hotplate and not all drip makers have these things.
So a drip coffee maker is basically a more complicated electric kettle. However, they are often not insulated like a kettle would be so it does use a bit more power than heating the same amount of water in a kettle. If the machine has a hotplate to keep the coffee in the carafe hot, that also uses a significant amount of energy.
Drip coffee makers can use anywhere from 700 to 1500 Watt. Mind you a lower wattage coffee maker doesn’t mean less overall energy consumption because they will use that lower wattage for longer since the amount of energy it takes to boil a liter of water doesn’t change.
It’ll take an average 1200W coffee maker about 5 minutes to brew a pot (10 cups) of coffee. 1200W* 5 minutes means you consume about 0.1 kWh to brew a pot.
Espresso machine energy consumption
Espresso machines use quite a bit more power than drip coffee makers. That’s because there is a lot of metal in espresso machines that has to be heated up. While espresso machines often claim to be ready for brewing in a few minutes, it usually takes longer to properly heat all the components.
Domestic espresso machines tend to have a max power consumption of 1100-1600 Watts. Letting a 1600W espresso machine warm up for 5 minutes will consume 0.13kWh.
The average power consumption of an espresso machine during the heating process is about the same or a bit higher than a drip coffee maker. And the heating process of an espresso machine often takes longer than the whole brew process of a drip coffee maker. Then you still have to use the pump to actually get the water through the coffee puck.
That means you use significantly more energy for a single shot of espresso than for a whole pot of drip coffee. However, if you pull more shots back to back and then turn it off, it becomes more even.
Heating all those components is key to brewing good espresso. It often involves flushing some hot water through the group head and portafilter to heat them up. Otherwise the water might be hot in the boiler but it’ll cool down too much on the way to the grounds to properly brew. Espresso machines also have pumps which use electricity.
Espressos machines are often turned on for a longer period of time as well. That means the boiler has to be kept hot which drip coffee makers don’t have. How much energy the keeping hot costs depends on how new and well insulated the machine is. Newer machines with PID temperature controllers and well insulated boilers will use less power than an older machine without those features.
Bean-to-cup machine energy consumption
Bean to cup machine tend to have the highest energy consumption. This is because they are usually just espresso machines with extra features and technology that stay turned on the whole day. They usually do have a standby feature that limits the energy consumption but it still uses more than a machine that’s turned off.
In some cases a machine that’s turned on the whole day makes sense. If there are a lot of people in the house/office that drink coffee all day long, it’s better to keep it turned on than to turn it on and off every time. The heating up process uses more power than keeping it hot for an hour.
Which Type Of Coffee Makers Use Less Electricity?
In general, simple drip coffee makers use the least amount of electricity if you’re talking about automatic coffee makers.
How To Save On Your Electric Bill Making Coffee
Want to save some money and/or power? Here are some simple things you can do to brew coffee with less electricity
- Brew only as much as you need: Brewing more coffee than you need uses more electricity, water and grounds than necessary. This is a very easy way to save some money. Water is cheap but heating it isn’t. Coffee grounds are quite expensive.
- Don’t overfill the reservoir: It depends on the specific brewer how the water is heated but some of them heat the whole reservoir. Put only as much water as you need to brew in the reservoir to make sure not more water is heated than necessary.
- Get a machine with thermal carafe: Drip coffee makers usually brew into a carafe. On some versions there is a hotplate built in to keep the coffee hot. This uses quite a bit of power. Using a thermal carafe removes the need for this hotplate and thus reduces power use.
- Turn off: Turn off the machine after use. Especially if you don’t need to brew any more coffee. Espresso machines need a long time to heat up
- Unplug: Some coffee makers can draw a current even when turned off. This especially goes for machines with standby function and timed brewing.
- Keep your machine clean: Scaling over the heating elements reduces their efficiency. Keeping scale out makes it more efficient and also extends the lifespan of your machine.
How To Make Coffee With Little Power Use?
While coffee makers are usually not the largest power hogs in the house, there are some ways to make coffee with even less electricity use. Above you can see which type of coffee maker uses the least amount of energy but there are even better options.
#1 Cold Brew
Cold brew coffee is the most energy efficient way to brew coffee. Cold brewed coffee uses cold water to brew so no heating is necessary whatever. You can choose to put the container in the fridge but that doesn’t really use any extra electricity since you’re using the fridge already. But, it’s not necessary to brew cold brew in the fridge, at room temperature is an option.
The drawback of cold brew is that it takes hours to brew (about 8 hours out and 12 hours in the fridge). So you can’t just decide you want some cold brew coffee and then just have a cup 10 minutes later.
#2 Manual Brewers
Most energy consumption of a coffee maker comes from heating the water. If you want hot coffee, there is no way around having to heat the water. However, coffee makers also have displays, lights, pumps and hotplates. Compared to heating the water, those don’t really consume too much power but it does add up over time.
Manual brewers like a simple pour over cone, French press or Aeropress don’t have any of those things. And while they still need hot water you do save on all of the other power consumers. You’ll still need hot water though so it’s necessary to use a kettle. A good electric kettle is quite efficient in heating water since they’re well insulated. A good kettle will heat your water more efficiently than the average drip coffee maker.
As an added benefit, if you learn some coffee brewing skills it’s easily possible to make better coffee with a manual brewer.
Recommended Espresso Equipment
Besides an espresso machine, there are a few other tools that can make your espresso better. Here are my favorites:
- Espresso Machine: The Breville Barista Express (Amazon) is the sweet spot in price and quality for most casual home baristas. It comes with a built in grinder and most tools you need to brew espresso.
- Tamper: A nice tamper helps you tamp your grounds in the filter for the best result. Any correctly sized tamper can do the job but a nice heavy one just feels so much better in your hand than a plastic model. This Luxhaus one (Amazon) has a nice trick up it’s sleeve to make tamping very consistent.
- Beans: Good espresso starts with good beans. Using fresh beans is a big improvement over pre-ground coffee.
- Scales: Getting consistently good espresso means you have to know how much grounds is going into the machine and how much is coming out and how long this takes. A coffee scale is going to make your espresso much more consistent and also makes adjustments a lot easier. The Apexstone coffee scale (Amazon) is cheap and doesn’t look too sleek but is just as accurate as more expensive scales. The TimeMore scales (Amazon) look and feel a lot nicer but cost a bit more.
- Grinder: To make the best of your fresh beans, a good grinder is necessary. Espresso requires a good grinder to get the best results. The Baratza Sette 30 (Amazon) is a good espresso grinder that can also be used for other brewing methods and while not cheap, is good value for money. If you prefer hand grinders, the 1ZPresso JX-PRO is one of the best options (Amazon)
- Distribution tool: After grinding you can get some clumps in the coffee grounds. Those clumps should be broken up so the water can extract all the coffee grounds equally. Distribution tools are very simple things but this one (Amazon) is beautifully made and will look good in your kitchen.