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A while back, Mark Frauenfelder posted a demonstration of how quick and easy it was to make a cup of coffee using his Aeropress. I'm sure it makes a great cup of coffee, but watching him prepare, measure, pour, heat, stir, press, pour, and clean up made me wonder what the real cost of a cup of Aeropress-ed coffee was, in terms of the billable time one might spend preparing a cup. Turns out, it's fairly expensive — about four minutes, assuming that you're using pre-ground coffee. If you bill your time out at $50 an hour, that works out to around $1700 a year making coffee instead of generating income.

On the other hand, if there existed a machine that automated the entire cycle from whole bean to finished cup, then you'd push a single button, write a few lines of CSS in the fifty seconds it took to make your cup, and keep going.

Here, then, is a movie of just such a beast in action: the Jura Capresso "Impressa F9". Note that the up-front capital cost is considerably higher than that of the Aeropress, and the machine can't travel with you, but the Capresso basically pays for itself in saved billable hours in the first year (and in much less time if you are able to bill at a higher rate or if you prepare more than two cups of coffee a day).

The catchy soundtrack is "Pornventory", written, composed, and performed by the Interröbang Cartel. (Some of you may be familiar with the Cartel's work from the BBEdit 8 about box.)


The problem with micro-analyzing daily tasks at the minute-by-minute level, is you're liable to try putting a price on some pretty priceless tasks.

Was the shower you took today really worth $8? How about all of those potty breaks? Might as well save them up and buy a nice stereo system.

Thankfully, the time we pass is only worth the hourly rate while we're open for business. And we're not open 24 hours a day. Family and friends rejoice! :)

Shucks ... should have added this before saving: "That said, the value of any gizmo that saves you those frustrating minutes of anticipation is worth every penny!"

...or maybe you just don't want to spend the time making that cup of coffee. Time to give up coffee? Or what about the time you could spend in line waiting for a coffee?

And if I was making anywhere near $50 a billable hour, I wouldn't be charging my clients the time I was making coffee. :) But then, I very rarely drink coffee.

In the end, it is difficult to truly total up a few lost or gained minutes, unless you see some instant results of your efforts. If I get a few things ready at night and it saves me 3 minutes, so I get out the door 3 minutes earlier, I will almost be guaranteed that I will get to work 3 minutes earlier since my 1.5 hour commute is fairly consistent. Now, if you can do something useful with "lost time", such as listening to audio books while you travel to work, that can make the time even more useful, rather than just 'losing' several hours of time each day.

The Jura machines are awesome and the proper foundation of any business. A perfect cup of coffee or espresso from fresh ground beans in less than a minute. I've always found the Jura interface bewildering, and the capacitive display buttons on the F9 do nothing to help this (An '@'? Really? I want to drink this not email it), but if you drink a cup a day (or several) the procedure won't take long to imprint.

I did the same ROI based on my wife Carolyn's stopping during her daily commute and buying startbucks.

We have a Jura Capresso S9 now.

The 10min off her commute plus the Starbucks savings makes it an easy win.

Also, we buy Stumptown's Hairbender. It rules.