Do you need a strong cup of joe before heading to the gym for an early morning workout? If so, be glad your automatic drip coffee maker gets its power from an outlet and not from you. Us humans can generate a few watts worth of energy ourselves when we put in the time and effort, but as you’ll see, exercising to power your coffee maker is not the best part of waking up.
How Many Watts Does a Coffee Maker Draw?
Don’t let your coffee maker’s size fool you — it takes a healthy dose of electricity to turn cold water into piping hot coffee in ten minutes. Like any appliance that produces heat, the amount it adds to your electric bill may amount to more than just pocket change.
Most full-size coffee makers range between 750 and 1,200 watts, and most of that energy goes toward generating heat. Internal warming plates heat water during the brewing process, and on most models, another warming plate sits beneath the carafe. This plate automatically shuts off after a period of time, usually two hours.
For our example, we’ll use the Department of Energy’s Appliance Energy Calculator default of 1,000 watts for a typical coffee maker. We’ll also take a look at the difference between shutting off the coffee maker immediately after brewing and leaving the warming plate on for the full two hours.
How Many Calories Does It Take to Brew Coffee?
If only it was as simple as pedaling your stationary bike until the carafe is full. The exercise-powered coffee maker technology of tomorrow has yet to arrive, but we can still compare our calorie-burning manpower to electrical energy.
It takes 4.1868 watt-seconds of energy to metabolize one calorie, with a watt-second being equivalent to the amount of energy it takes to sustain one watt of electricity for one second. From this, we can see how many calories we’d have to burn to power a 1,000-watt coffee maker for one second:
1,000 watts ÷ 4.1868 watt-seconds = 238.8 calories
How Much Spinning Will It Take to Make a Pot of Coffee?
Surely you can put off that first cup of coffee until after your spin class is over. According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, spin class generates a decent 8.5 METs. A MET, or metabolic equivalent, is a unit of measurement used in calorie calculations.
To figure out our rate of calorie burn for spin class, we’ll also need to know the weight of our participants. We’ll use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s average weights of 88.76 kg for men and 76.43 kg for women.
First, we’ll calculate how many calories each participant will burn in each hour of spin class:
8.5 METs x 88.76 kg = 754.46 calories per hour for men
8.5 METs x 76.43 kg = 649.655 calories per hour for women
Now we can see how many calories it would take to brew a pot of coffee and keep it warm for the full two hours, as well as how many calories you’d need to just brew the pot — about 10 minutes.
There are 7,200 seconds in two hours, so at the coffee maker’s rate of 238.8 calories:
7,200 seconds x 238.8 calories = 1,719,360 calories per two hours
If we limit that to just the 600 seconds or so it takes to brew a pot:
600 seconds x 238.8 calories = 143,280 calories per pot
So, for the men’s spin class that burns 754.46 calories per hour, it would take 94 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes and 40 seconds of spinning to keep the pot warm for two hours. To just brew the pot? A mere 7 days, 21 hours, 54 minutes and 38 seconds.
In the women’s class, the two-hour cycle would cost you 110 days, 6 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds, while the brewing alone would take 9 days, 4 hours, 32 minutes and 52 seconds.
So, while the warming plate is a convenient feature when you’re powering your coffee maker the easy way, you’ll save yourself about three months’ worth of spinning by investing in a good thermos before class.
Check out how much exercise it takes to power other household items!