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Coffee

How about some statistics regarding the United States’ favorite beverage and the energy needed to keep our cups full?

Behind water and tea, coffee is the most-consumed beverage around the world and with 66% of all Americans drinking coffee daily, we enjoy 3.3 billion pounds per year. The National Coffee Association reports 517 million cups are consumed daily with the average U.S. coffee drinker having 3.1 cups. That earns us second place behind only Finland, whose coffee drinkers average four cups daily.

In May of 2021, PR Newswire reported a study that found U.S. coffee drinkers obtained 81% of their coffee servings at home. That averages to nearly 420 million cups per year with the average cup size being nine ounces. Forty-five percent of this coffee is made using drip coffee makers, 27% with single-serve machines, 9% with cold brew makers and 8% with espresso machines. Considering the average coffee machine uses 150 to 300 watts of electricity to create a cup, that equates to nearly 95 million kilowatt-hours or enough electricity to power about 8,800 American households for a year.

According to ENERGY STAR® over half of households use the warming plate for more than 30 minutes, with nearly a quarter of households using it for more than hour to maintain heated carafes of brewed coffee. In addition, some drip coffee maker owners have selected a unit that continuously maintains an internal reservoir tank of hot water to speed the brewing process when coffee is desired. Both issues provide an opportunity for saving energy. How much?

In reality, not a lot. At Nebraska’s average residential electricity cost of $0.1111 per kilowatt-hour, this only equates to one-quarter to one-third of a penny per hour. But for those who leave their machine on continuously, annual savings of 189 to 257 kilowatt-hours can range from $21 to $29.

Need to add some sweetener to these energy savings before cutting the power to the coffee maker after brewing?

  • Burnt coffee – as it sits on the plate warmer, evaporation occurs. With time, the flavor becomes bitter.
  • Burnt pot – after most of the water content evaporates, coffee eventually burns to the bottom. Scrubbing with salt, baking soda and lemon juice usually removes this mess, but the extended exposure to excessive heat may warp the bottom of the pot.
  • Microwave reheating – rewarming a cup in the microwave uses less energy than an hour of warmer plate or hot water reservoir use.
  • Potential fire hazard – The Consumer Product Safety Commission says about 50 consumers report fires caused by coffee makers per year.

Your local electric utility in partnership wants to help you make your best cup possible. In addition to information on other ways to efficiently use the energy you consume, they offer a variety of EnergyWiseSM incentives to help with the cost of energy-saving improvements. To find out more, contact your local electric utility.

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