Espresso and Espresso Beans

We drink coffee lattes made with our own espresso machine.  In the days before we had an RV we would buy the lattes at local coffee shops in the greater Seattle, WA area and search for espresso stands as we traveled.  We had some really bad espresso on the road and only a few instances of good espresso.  We normally made our own lattes at home on weekends so we bought an espresso machine on to carry in the motorhome.  We also have our own burr coffee grinder.  We stock up on espresso beans before venturing into the unknown or known slim pickings, especially the Midwest where espresso is hard to find, and store it in the freezer as whole beans.

Sometime around the Fall of 2007 our ten year old Krups pump espresso machine started not doing as good a job.  We thought  it was just the quality of the beans, but in February 2008 it died and we bought a new DeLonghi pump espresso machine at Target for $80 and we could immediately tell it was the old machine that was our problem.  We think it was not getting to high enough pressure.  As of February 2008 we are saving over $8/day making our own lattes.  It costs us under $3 for our three lattes a day and that runs about $11 out.  These $80 espresso machines do not last that long but after spending $200 for a new Krups, we found the more expensive machines do not last that long either.

Let us add up the numbers.  The highest price we have ever paid for a pound of espresso beans is $13 and highest we have ever paid for a gallon of milk is about $4.25, ignoring Whitehorse, YT where it was $4.88C/4liters.  A normal price for a pound of beans is $8-11 and milk seems to run $2.25-3.25 a gallon.   We once kept track of how many shots of espresso came out of each pound and the number was 70 shots.  Each day we normally have two 16oz lattes and one 12oz latte using four shots total.  Each shot is 1oz so we use 40oz of milk per day, approximately.  In two weeks we use one pound of espresso beans and  4.8 gallons of milk so lets call it 5 gallons just to make the numbers easy.  At the high end this is $13 + 5 x $4.25 = $34.25 or $2.45/day for our addiction but is normally under $2/day.  We find that when we can't make our own we spend about $11/day for lattes out so with the highest prices for ingredients we save $8.55/day or over $250/month.   We didn't even include the syrups Diane uses, they run us about $4 a bottle and last about a month each so about 13c a day.  Coffee shops charge 25c to 50c for flavors. 

The cost of a pump espresso machine, $75-80 at Target or Wal-Mart plus tax, a burr grinder, $50-100, and some practice making your own will save you real money if you don't mind storing the milk, beans, syrups or chocolate for mochas.   We even know someone who has their own coffee roaster in their RV and buys only green (unroasted) beans.  Of course if a cup of Folgers's tastes fine to you this is all moot.

We buy espresso beans all over and now keep track of the ones we want to repeat.  We find that preferences for espresso vary greatly by person and we have also found that someplace with good coffee might have lousy espresso beans and vice versa.  Both of us think Starbucks is just OK, but friends who like mochas (chocolate) seem to really like Starbucks.  Starbucks Christmas Expresso Roast is a bit better.

The Best:

Sexpresso from Babys Coffee in Key West, FL

Very Close Runners Up:

Victors Coffee in Redmond, WA - this is where we got most of our morning lattes when working

Sleepy Monk Coffee in Cannon Beach, OR - same roaster as Victor's, this is where Victor and Jane now live

Wandering Goat Espresso la Chuppacabra - Eugene, OR.

Other Really Good Espresso Beans:

Allann Bros Coffee Maestro's Blend - Albany, Oregon.

Bad Ass Coffee - From Kona, HI with outlets in many places.

Bay Area Espresso - available close to the San Francisco Bay area

Buckmaster Coffee Company, Hillsboro, OR - available from Northern CA to Southern WA in many grocery stores, though sometimes the beans are old

Cafe El-Aquila, Tampa, FL. - Bought at Publix in Florida in pre-ground bricks and surprisingly good.

Community Coffee Private Reserve Espresso.  Southeast.

Coffee Rush - Gilbert/Chandler, AZ.

Firmly Grounded, Eugene, OR - the shop is just east of Shopko and Costco Gone.

Full City Coffee Roasters, Eugene, OR. Has multiple locations in Eugene.

90 Mile Stretch Espresso from Island Joe's Coffee in Key West

Jitters - Redmond, Washington.

Just Java Coffee - La Quinta/Indio, CA

Lowery's Espresso and Organic Espresso.  From Snohomish, WA close to where we used to live. 

Olympic Crest Coffee Roasters, Lacey, WA.

Origin's, Cape Coral, FL

Old Bisbee Roasters El Salvador, Bisbee, AZ

Old Town Coffee Co, Florence, OR

Perkins Roasting Rosebud Espresso Blend (Organic Perk's Blend is only OK) from Woodinville, WA.  Bought at farmer's market close to Woodinville.

Rocky Mountain Roasters, Jasper AB - bought in Banff, AB

Seattle Mountain Blend from Seattle Mountain Coffee, available at some Costcos
Second Cup, Ontario chain - bought in Banff, AB

Silverhook Alaska Coffee, Denali blend - bought at Wal-Mart in Anchorage, AK

Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters, Bridge Bend.  Florence, OR.

Sprouts Natural Market Organic Espresso blend - bought in Mesa, AZ

Steep & Brew Italian Espresso out of Wisconsin

Sunrise Coffee Co, Boilerplate Espresso, Port Townsend, WA.

The Market Seattle Espresso, from The Market in Birch Bay, WA.
Tullys, Seattle, WA - our favorite of the large Seattle area chains


OK Espresso Beans (we won't go out of our way to get these, but they work)

Austin Chase Coffee Espresso from Seattle, WA (has a place in Poulsbo, WA)

Beans 4 Brew "Milano" in Foley, AL.

Big Bend Coffee Roasters in Marfa, TX

Big Mountain Coffee Espresso Blend, Canadian brand bought in Banff, AB

Big Truck Espresso Blend from Olympia Coffee Roasting, Olympia, WA.

Bisbee Coffee Co, Bisbee, AZ.

Black Cat Classic Espresso from Intelligentsia, bought at The Fresh Market in Jacksonville, FL

Cafe La Lave - in bricks from Florida grocers.

Cafe Rico Rico - in bricks from Florida grocers.

Cameron's of Eden Prairie, MN.

Cascade Pride Espresso - bought at an Oregon Winco.

Clarks Nutrition house label, Rancho Mirage, CA

Cliff Hanger Espresso from Kicking Horse Coffee, Invermere BC - bought in Banff, AB

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf - Los Angeles, CA chain, bought in Mesa, AZ

Counter Culture, Durham NC - bought in Indiana

Dancing Goats Blend from Batdorf & Branson in Olympia, WA.

Equal Exchange Black Silk Espresso - not silky smooth, bought at PCC in WA.

Firehouse Coffee Roasters Espresso - Bullhead City, AZ.

Fresh Market Trattoria Espresso bought at Fresh Market in FL

Gavina Old Havana Espresso - bought at Costco in Mesa, AZ

Hava Java, Canadian chain bought in Sault Ste Marie, ON.

It's A Grind - US chain.  Bought in Orange, CA, Gilbert, AZ and Naples, FL.

Grind Coffee House and Roaster;The in Fort Myers, FL.

Java Bruin Nicaragua.  Bought at Java Bruin in Hyder, AK.

Javatopia Organic Espresso from Cinncinatti, OH.  Bought in natural food market.

Jet Fuel from Independence Coffee Co. Bought at HEB in Texas.

Kalani Organic.  Bought at PCC in the Seattle area.

Lighthouse Coffee, Tarpon Springs FL (coffee is from Ohio) - bought at coffee shop

Manatee Coffee, Naples, FL Island Dark Roast, bought at Costco in Florida
Medaglia D'Oro from Miami, FL.  Bought in Miami.

Mud Bay Coffee Roasting, Olympus Espresso Blend. Olympia, WA.

Nelson Family Farms Dark Roast.  Bought at Nelson Family Farms in Fort Pierce, FL.

North Pole Coffee Roasting Co, North Pole, AK.  - bought in Alaska

Old Bisbee Roasters Tanzania Ruvuma Peaberry, Bisbee, AZ

Red Rooster Coffee Roasters Old Crow Cuppa Joe, bought a Fresh Market in Florida

Orchard's Marketplace, Southern CA supermarket.  - bought in Ramona, CA

Organic Eve Coffee Dark Roast from Magnum Coffee Roastery in Spring Lake, MI - bought at Costco in Jacksonville, FL

Pegasus Coffee from Bainbridge Island, WA

Pilon Espresso from Rowland Coffee Roasters, Inc. in Miami, FL.  Bought in Miami.

Poulsbo Dark from Central Market.  Bought in Poulsbo, WA.

Raven Brew "Deadman's Reach" (Alaska and Washington)

Rosauers Premium Roast Espresso from Rosauers Supermarket.  Bought in Moscow, ID.

Sam's Choice Fair Trade Espresso from Wal-Mart.  Better than we expected.

San Diego House Espresso from San Diego House in old town San Diego, CA

Sweet Spot from Bold Bean Coffee Roasters of Jacksonville, F, bought at The Fresh Market

Three Peckered Bill Goat Blend from Ravens Brew Coffee, Ketchikan, AK.  Bought in Skagway, AK.

Thomas Hammer Fireball Blend.  Bought in Moscow, ID.

Tony's Organic Espresso - Bought at PCC in Issaquah, WA

Trader Joe's Shade Grown Ground Espresso Blend

One's We Avoid

Nob Hill Trading Company Espresso - From Nob Hill Foods in Central CA since it is over-roasted and tastes like French Roast.