Coffee and Me – 2012 Year in Review

Another year and a whole lot of awesome coffee consumed.  This post marks the second year in my efforts to keep track of all the aspects of coffee in my life that looked at how many cups I’ve had, the ways I’ve had it prepared, where I’ve had it, and the amount I’ve spent to feed my addiction passion.

In my last year’s Coffee and Me 2011 Year in Review, I put a heavy emphasis on how much I’d cut spending.  It got a fair amount of retweets, so much so that it caught the attention of the cool folks at Quantified Self and Ramit Sethi, the awesome guy behind the personal finance book and blog “I Will Teach You To Be Rich“.  While he tweeted my post out, I interpreted it as if he and his friend semi-trolled me :)

However, Ramit had rebuffed his tweet with a DM and gave me more context behind his tweet.
Ramit Sethi Twitter explanation

Ramit’s tweet and Direct Message made me step back and re-assess my conclusion, where I thought to myself “Did I painstakingly go through all of that writing and tracking to come to the grand conclusion that I needed to save $1 a day? What the shit??“.  I think it was the case of not seeing the forest for the trees and focusing on one minute detail of saving money.  In hindsight, if I was to re-write my grand insight last year, it should have been more like “I’ll try to enjoy more awesome coffee and learn more about manual brewing methods” – which I have – and saved $191 and at the same time while having the best year of coffee in my life.

In any case, thanks for sharing my post Ramit!  I hope you enjoy this year’s review ;)

Exploring great coffee around the world

This past year I’ve delved further into manual brew methods like Chemex in addition to my staple coffee gadget go-to – the Aeropress. It’s been really fun learning about proper Chemex technique from my coffee friends, Chris Chekan of Te Aro Coffee and Matthew Taylor of Manual Labour Coffee (formerly Mercury Espresso Bar).

The ritual of “slow coffee” that I like to call it has given me a greater appreciation for the art and craft of making awesome coffee.

Some of the awesome coffees that I’ve had were Detour’s, Te Aro’s Brazil sourced coffees and Blue Bottle’s Three Africans blend.  I don’t have any detailed notes on how they tasted, but I’ll just say they were really awesome.

Notably absent are Phil’z Coffee, Social Coffee & Tea Company’s Honey Pacamara, Crema Coffee’s Ethiopia Sidama (roasted by Detour) and Detour Coffee Roasters’ Finca Del Nuvos because I forgot to take a picture of the bags :(

My New Coffee Gear in 2012

Monarch Methods Kettle

2012’s additions to my coffee gear were awesome little additions to my growing lab of coffee toys. My most lavish purchase was a beautifully handmade copper kettle wrapped in leather made by Chris Chekan of Monarch Methods.  The control it affords while doing pourovers, chemex or any other manual brew method is unparalleled.

Amount spent on Monarch Methods “Mk-IV” kettle – $60

Keep Cup

I also bought a Keep Cup – it’s a great looking cup that is “barista grade” – meaning that it fits under any espresso machine.  I’ve been complimented many a time on my awesome cup and I’ve saved a good chunk of change with “bringing your own cup” discounts while cutting down on wasteful disposable cups simultaneously.  Triple threat win!

Amount spent on Keep Cup – $15.76

Kaffeologie Aeropress Filter

Finally, after running out of paper filters that came with my Aeropress, coincidentally, the folks over at Kaffeologie put their reusable Aeropress filter on Kickstarter, which I immediately picked up.  They were one of the shining examples of transparency, realistic production projections and constantly keeping their backers in the loop.  Great job guys! I love my Aeropress filter!

Cost of Kaffeologie Aeropress filter$15.22

TOTAL COST OF COFFEE GADGETS FOR 2012 – $90.98

And now onto the juicy data…

2012’s Coffee by the Numbers

 

Total Coffee Consumed for 2012

The amount of coffee cups I had in 2012 was 432 cups.  While that number may seem high, compared to last year, I had 446 cups.

Unsurprisingly, over half of my coffee were made by my Aeropress – it simply is the easiest, best and most cost-effective way of making amazingly consistent coffee at a fraction of the price of visiting your local coffee shop.  A distant second was Chemex, which definitely takes a lot more effort to make – but still a worthwhile endeavour if you’re really into exploring different manual brew methods.  It makes a really clean cup without any coffee sediment that you would find in other methods like French Press.

The Americano, my staple coffee beverage in 2011, dropped to 4th in the list, simply because the Aeropress coffees I was making was on par with that of the Americano.  If I was feeling lazy or simply felt like getting an Americano, I’d order it.  Finally, cappuccinos have become my “go to drink” when I head to cafes now, simply because I can’t make them at home (or until I pick up an espresso machine myself like the ZPM Espresso Machine).

During the summer time, my go to drink is Coffee Pop offered by Mercury Espresso Bar and Manual Labour Coffee. It’s the most refreshing coffee drink you can have on a hot summer day.

All other coffees were ordered just because I wanted to have some sort of variety.

For a period of time, I was restricting myself to about 1 cup a day, so that have may played a factor in the lower coffee consumption compared to last year.  However, there were two upticks in my consumption in the middle and near the end of the year seen in the stacked line graph below.

Coffee Consumption 2012 Stack line graph

For your viewing pleasure, a pie chart to give a better perspective of how I had my coffee throughout the year.

Total Cups of Coffee Pie Chart 2012

Interesting factoids

Average Time Between Cups 2012

On average, I would have a cup of coffee every 18 hours 31 minutes and 59 seconds.  This would be about 1.18 cups of coffee a day.

Average Cups of Coffee Per Day 2012

Latte Art

During this time, I’ve captured plenty of moments in terms of the cute and fun latte art that the awesome baristas at Te Aro, Mercury, Crema and R Squared have created for me.

Coffee shops I’ve visited in 2012

It’s no surprise that I’ve visited Te Aro Coffee and Mercury Espresso Bar the most, since I live a block away from either coffee shop, where they have garnered 43% and 26% share (or 70% combined) of my 142 visits respectively to coffee shops in 2012.  Crema Coffee Danforth came in a distant third with 8 visits, due to working on the weekends there to change it up a bit from Mercury and Te Aro.

Coffee Spot Visits in Toronto 2012

Above isn’t the full list of all the frequency of coffee shops I’ve visited.  To see the full list click here

Mint.com Coffee Spending 2012 Pie chart

Mint.com Coffee Spending 2012 bar chart

Interestingly enough, the amount I spent at Te Aro ($298.95) was exactly 43% of my total coffee shop expenditures* for the year ($683.27), whereas Mercury Espresso Bar took up about 22% of my budget.  Combined, Te Aro and Mercury took up 65% of my overall coffee shop expenditures.

As you can see, there’s one obvious trend in where you live and work has a very strong correlation of where you’re most likely to frequent as well as make your coffee related purchases.  In outlier instances, those coffee shops who received less visits were on the way or deliberately planned for some specific purpose such as meetings or personal work.

*My coffee shop expenditure excluded any coffee equipment/gear/supplies related expenses, but included coffee bean purchases.

Mint.com Coffee Spending 2012 Summary

 

Reflections and outlook for 2013

Perhaps this upcoming year, an idea would be to keep track of who I enjoy coffee with to add another dimension to this data.  Another idea would be to attach more granular data with respect to what coffees I’ve made and who roasted the beans for the coffee I made.

As for further exploring coffee for 2013, my previous workplace was based out in North York, which limited my travels.  I’ll definitely be spending more time outside of Leslieville and physically be at other coffee shops other than Te Aro or Mercury (sorry guys ; ) and using the Indie Coffee Passport to further explore the growing indie coffee scene here in Toronto.

In terms of learning, I will make an effort to learn more of the science behind coffee.  No concrete plan yet, but something that I’ll be looking out for in the blogosphere.

Finally, there’s also a good chance I’ll be visiting Brazil for Startup Weekend’s Startup Organizer Summit in Rio de Janeiro, so I’ll be able to explore the local coffee scene there.  Would appreciate any tips on where to go in Rio if you know the city :)

Onwards and upwards to a tasty (and caffeinated) 2013!

IF YOU’RE INTERESTED – CHECK OUT MY 2011 COFFEE YEAR IN REVIEW

 Random Coffee Memories Throughout 2012

 

  • http://jonlim.ca/ Jon Lim

    Awesome post dude. I can’t appreciate the lengths you go to for good coffee, but I love the numbers and analysis behind it all.

  • Droz

    What’s your Aeropress recipe/technique/ritual/secret-handshake? I’m torn between a few different methods at the moment…

    • http://www.quantifire.net/blog Will

      Hey Droz,

      Here’s my “technique” – after handgrinding the coffee, I simply use my kettle to pour water over the grinds in a circular motion similar to that of pouring for a chemex.  Let the grinds soak for a bit to “bloom”, waiting for a 30 seconds or so, and then pouring in a circular motion again until it reaches the “4” level and letting the coffee steep until it hits about Level 1, then I use the plunger.

      Voila – you have your awesome cup of coffee.

      Hope that helps.

      P.S. I have it black, straight up without any sugar to appreciate the full flavour of the coffee.