Coffee Pod Armageddon And The Perfect Frugal Brew

Last Christmas we received our very first pod coffee maker as a gift from my parents. It looked beautiful all shiny and black, and when we took it out of the box, several cute little round coffee pods spilled out with it.

Back then I was a newbie in the world of frugality, and I was thrilled with the prospect of making a cup of coffee for far less than my daily cup from Starbucks. For we had just started our journey to financial independence, and we believed that any amount of money we could save was progress.

The Moment of Truth (or not)

The first morning I used my new coffee pod machine, I was brimming with excitement as I carefully poured the water into the reservoir. Coffee pod ready in hand, I lifted up the handle and dropped my very first coffee pod into the designated area. With a quick close of the handle and the press of a button, it took less than a minute before I could smell the amazing aroma as I watched the coffee stream into my favorite coffee mug.

Then came the special moment I was waiting for. I picked up my mug, tilted it towards my mouth, and let the warm, comforting taste of delightful bitterness enter in.Then I ran over to the sink and spit it out!

The coffee pod tasted like dirty dishwater! Not that I’ve ever tasted dirty dishwater, but if I were to imagine what dirty dishwater would taste like, this was it. Then I tried the other pods with the same result. Some were a little better, but overall, they all tasted horrible. I missed my Starbucks!

As time progressed, my coffee pod dilemma got a lot worse. I started to receive Costco sized cases of coffee pods for every birthday and holiday. Not wanting to waste the free coffee pods, and being the only coffee drinker (Mr. FE doesn’t like coffee, downright sacrilegious!), it was up to me to keep drinking this dishwater and suffer alone. The agony!

Finally, I got up the nerve to tell my parents a little white lie. I told them that I didn’t have the pod coffee machine anymore because it broke. Then the following birthday I got another pod coffee machine with more coffee pods.

A frugal brew!

The Invasion of the Coffee Pods

As time went on, I began to feel as though these coffee pods were hunting me down. Everywhere I turned there were coffee pods. I found them at the office, local retailers, the salon, and in the homes we visited. I was even having nightmares about coffee pods. I was literally being stalked by coffee pods! This was war, I tell you!

Eventually I got up the nerve to end this epic battle, so as the final blow, I decided to donate my pod coffee maker and leftover coffee pods to the office. Then I called up my mother to have a daughter to mother chat about not buying me anymore coffee pods. No more white lies!

These Dang Things Drain Your Wallet!

Coffee pods cost up to three times as much as traditional brewed coffee, and the price keeps going up. In fact, Time Magazine released an article on this called “Here’s How Much You’d Save by Dumping K-Cups for Traditional Coffee”, and according to the article, the inventor wishes he never created the k-cup in the first place. He doesn’t even own a pod coffee maker!

The article in Time Magazine also made reference to a coffee maker calculator, created by economist Dan Basoli, which shows just how expensive these coffee pods really are. Kudos Mr. Basoli! We won’t even get into the damage these coffee pods are doing to our environment!

The Solution

At $2.99 this was a steal!

Now that I had survived the invasion of the coffee pods, I needed to find another solution. After looking at several coffee makers, french presses, and various weird artifacts, I decided to try the Pour-Over method.

Not only did my research prove that this made a delicious cup of brew, but it was also in line with my time constraints and budget. So I forked over a whopping $2.99 for the Melitta Brewing Cone and thought I would give it a try.

Next, I invested my money in some good quality coffee beans from Costco. I decided to try the Starbucks Pike Place Roast whole bean coffee at $15.49 for 2.5 lbs. I figured that there are about 75 tablespoons in a single pound of whole bean coffee. Where I use 3 tablespoons per cup (I like my coffee strong!), this gives me approximately 63 cups of coffee per bag at 25 cents per cup. I also purchased 100, #2 coffee filters at Market Basket for $1.39, which breaks down to a little over a penny each or .013 to be exact.

Then I needed a tool to grind the coffee beans, so I went to Kohl’s to pick up a Cuisinart grinder I saw on sale. The price started at $30.00, but after the sale price and my negotiations with the cashier (I really do this!), I got the Cuisinart grinder for an additional 30% off the sale price.

Both Mr. FE and I have discovered in our pursuit to be frugal over the years, that all you need to do is ask for extra discounts. The majority of the time, we get them!

Next Came What I Was Waiting For

To make the coffee, I heated up 8 oz. of water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for 2 minutes, 45 seconds. This is time it took for the water to arrive at a perfect 195-205 degree temperature, which is often recommended for the best coffee extraction. Then I set the cone on top of my mug and inserted the filter. After adding 3 tablespoons of freshly ground coffee, I poured the hot water into the cone and waited less than a minute for it to finish dripping. Β Soon came the moment I was waiting for. I took my first sip, and then I smiled. At about 26 cents per cup, it was the perfect frugal brew!

Do you use coffee pods? If not, what is your favorite brewing method?Β 

Disclaimer: This post is based on personal opinion only. Our Frugal Escapades is not affiliated with any of the products mentioned in this post.


31 thoughts on “Coffee Pod Armageddon And The Perfect Frugal Brew

  1. Like you, I recently discovered the pour-over method, and I LOVE IT! I use the Kalita Wave. Seriously, I’ve never had a better cup of coffee and now it’s almost a let down when I get coffee outside my house because I know I can make a better cup at home! You should check out if there are any local roasters in your area. From my experience, you can’t beat the freshness or the taste of locally roasted beans. Plus, you’re supporting a local small business. How cool! My city’s population is only about 65,000, and we have 3 local roasters that I know of.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t heard of the Kalita Wave, but I’ll have to check it out! Great suggestion on using local roasters! I do believe we have more than a few around us, and I think one in particular grows their own beans as well. Thanks for the tip Ernie!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I just left a comment on your blog post congratulating you for making it on Rockstar Finance! Please let me know if you got it because a lot of the comments I have been leaving on blogs have been considered to be spam and are not getting posted for some reason. I’ve already contacted WordPress support on this, but I want to make sure that you knew I tried to leave a comment!


      1. Well look at that…your comment was in my spam box! I’m glad you mentioned something to me! I wonder why that is? Hopefully WP has some insight into what might be triggering the spam flag.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I thought I was going crazy leaving all of these comments and not getting responses! I was starting to develop of complex! Lol!

        WordPress thinks they might have fixed it. I will revisit your blog and leave another comment to test out how good they are! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    3. The whole time I was reading this post, I had a feeling Ernie would be right at the top of the comment section! πŸ™‚ This guy is definitely right that “locally” roasted beans are the best; I use quotations because I now order mine from his hometown so, while not technically local for me, it still gets to me within a couple days of roasting and is insanely better than store bought stuff.

      As far as what we currently use to brew, we’ve had a base model Keurig for the past four years and have NEVER bought the pods that go with it. It came with some samples and I agree with you on the dishwater taste…they were disgusting! We bought a reusable/washable filter from Walmart for about $10 and it has worked nicely all these years. Ernie has enlightened me to the idea of pour-over coffee but I haven’t yet bridged over. Seeing the cost of the Melitta system on Amazon, I might have to do so sooner, rather than later, though! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s awesome how Ernie was able to hook you up to some high quality, locally roasted beans! πŸ™‚ I think we have a few local roasters in our area, so I’m excited about the suggestion and look forward to a better cup of coffee! We also like the idea of supporting local businesses, so it’s a win, win situation.

        I did try a reusable cup with our Keurig, but found the brew to be a little weak tasting. After trying both methods, I’m hooked on the Pour-Over method because, in my opinion, it tastes superior to anything else I’ve tried thus far. I also like the fact that I can just throw the Mellitta cup in the dishwasher making it so much easier to maintain. You may want to try it someday, I think you’ll enjoy the result! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m very thankful Ernie did that and you definitely won’t be disappointed with the improved quality. I agree with the weakness from the Keurig. The water simply runs through the grounds too quickly. Ernie had told me about the Kalita Wave he uses but I’ve been putting it off because of the price, so I will definitely look more into the Melitta…thank you! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The Frugalwoods are awesome!

        We actually may be heading towards a Walmart later this week (we live about two hours from the closest one! :|) and, according to, they have them in stock so I might finally have to pick one up. I agree with the inexpensive part…$11 is well worth the potential improvement in my love of coffee.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We use a cold press coffee maker it sits in the fridge and you can hear it up if you want (less bitter coffee this way)

    I think it was around 30 bucks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love making cold press coffee, but I never knew their was a maker for it. I would take grinds and let them soak in water for 8 hours, then I would strain out the grinds using some filters I line a colander with. Your way sounds a lot easier! I will have to look into finding one where I drink a lot of ice coffee in the summer!


      1. That is how I started doing it, they make a relatively cheap system on Amazon ($30) that works well and doesn’t require filters

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My mom has been using a Melita pour-over for at least the last 40 years — no wonder my love of coffee started at an early age, it’s a great cup of joe! I’m baffled by the Pods too, and really peeved at the huge amount of waste they create, not to mention the expense. But they really are everywhere. Glad my new office doesn’t use them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see why you developed a love of coffee where you’re mom knew the best way to make it! The Pour-Over method really does produce the richest brew! Maybe one day (if they haven’t already) they will create biodegradable coffee pods!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s a company that makes little pouches instead of pods, and they’re biodegradable. It’s a different system though, and I’m not sure they’re available for home use? I like the gold filter cups you add your own grounds to, if you have to use a Keurig. Why buy pods when you don’t have to.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a love hate relationship with coffee pods. We have a Starbucks machine that makes great espresso – from pods of course. Along with a milk frother, I am now happily addicted to home made lattes. πŸ˜€πŸ˜¦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was looking at the coffee makers, I did take a look at the Verismo from Starbucks, but I figured it wasn’t worth buying for a household with only one coffee drinker. I do miss my lattes though! πŸ™‚


      1. We are water drinkers also. Mr.FE won’t drink coffee, but I’m hooked on it. I have tried giving up coffee in the past, but I always go back because I NEED to have a cup in order to function! πŸ™‚


  5. I own two grinders, because a relative keeps getting me them for Christmas. I just keep one in my storage area and wait. I love strong coffee. I currently use a 4 pot maker with my freshly ground beans, and get joy from there. I would love a cheap pour-over setup, but don’t want to add anything to my shared kitchen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At least you have a backup grinder if something were to happen to the first one. A coffee maker is probably an easier way to go, and if it makes good coffee, I wouldn’t change anything up either, especially in a shared kitchen.


  6. We don’t use the pods but my in-laws do. So every Christmas I am forced to drink the dishwater as you so aptly put it. I throw a little coffee mate in it so it tastes more like watered down creamer.

    Liked by 1 person

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