PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Many people like a cup of coffee to get them going in the morning. Others seem to use coffee as fuel throughout the day. Coffee drinking can turn into an expensive habit-even if you have a coffee maker that lets you brew coffee-shop quality coffee at home.

A product called Café Cup, and others like it, claim to help save you money, and help to save the environment.

But, Does It Really Do That? KDKA’s Jennifer Antkowiak recruited Mary Porco, of Forest Hills, to find out.

Mary’s a busy wife and mom of two. She also babysits a little girl at home after her children go to school. How does coffee fit into Mary’s day?

“In the morning, it’s a must,” Mary said. “Throughout the day, it’s important but not as important. In the morning, it’s a must.”

Mary’s husband Frank is a coffee drinker, too. She said he drinks about four cups a day, and she drinks one or two.

We figured out that with what Mary pays for pre-packaged coffee cups for her Kuerig coffee maker, the family spends about $2,100 a year on coffee. Mary was surprised.

“It’s definitely [going to] make me re-think how much coffee we consume,” she said.

Cafe Cups are little metal mesh baskets that are made to fit any coffee machines. They are easy to use-just flip up the lid, use the scoop to add ground coffee to the cup, close it back up, put it in your coffee maker like you would the pre-made cups, and press the button to brew.

The Café Cup infomercial points out the expense of pre-packaged coffees, estimating store bought coffee cups cost almost 70 cents a cup, but café cup coffee costs about 5 cents a cup.

The commercial also highlights the re-useable nature of café cups. You can rinse them clean, or pop them in the dishwasher. The commercial asks you to compare that with all the little plastic coffee cup pods people throw away. Mary said she has thought about the waste issue, and likes the idea of not having to throw so much away.

Sounds good, but if the Café Cup doesn’t deliver great-tasting coffee the other benefits might not be enough to use on a regular basis, right?

Mary added a scoop of loose ground coffee to the Café Cup basket, closed the lid, put it in her coffee maker, and brewed a cup of coffee.

After a sip she said, “It’s okay. I would say the only thing different is, it’s not as strong. But that could be something that you could work out through trial and error. It’s not as strong as if I would’ve used one of those, and I like stronger coffee.

Knowing taste is important, Jen and Mary tried again with a different blend of coffee. Mary said it still wasn’t as strong as she would’ve liked, but it tasted okay.

Jen and Mary checked and no coffee grounds leaked into the cup from the Café Cup. It also rinsed out just fine. But, back to the taste issue, maybe the Café Cup brew is a little weaker because the Café Cup doesn’t hold as much coffee as the pre-packaged pods?

Jen cut through a coffee pod to find out. She poured the coffee grounds from there into the Café Cup, and it didn’t all fit very well. She couldn’t close the lid to the Café Cup. The pre-packaged coffee pod definitely contained more coffee grounds than Jen could fit in the Café Cup, which probably accounts for the stronger taste.

Still, because of the big savings potential, the re-useable quality, and offering the ability to brew hot tea, cider, or hot chocolate instead of coffee all the time, Mary liked Café Cups, and was willing to give them a try with some other coffee blends to see if she could find a stronger one, that she would like better.

So, save money, and the environment with Café Cups – Does It Really Do That?

Thumbs up from Mary-she said, “Yes! I think it does.”

Café Cups are available online and in stores. We paid $10.99 for a set that included four coups and two scoops.

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