I’ve always been told that I should kick my coffee addiction, because I could save a ton of money. For me, that advice never worked. Coffee makes me nice, productive, and happy. Without it, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t hold down a job or make friends, because I’d be grouchy all the time!
Sound like you? Don’t worry! There’s still hope for coffee addicts and aficionados like us to stick to our budget without compromising caffeine, flavor, and quality. Here are 5 ways for you to enjoy quality coffee on the cheap!
Try Aeropress to Save Money
I hate cleaning up coffee grinds (they clog your sink, too) at the bottom of a French press, so I now stick to the Aeropress, which compresses the coffee grinds for an easy cleanup. For $30, it’s one of the best espresso makers on the market. The Aeropress looks a lot like an oversized plastic syringe and may seem a little out of place in your kitchen, but it will probably become your favorite kitchen appliance. It’s made of thick durable plastic, so unlike your glass French press, it won’t break easily and you can travel with it. With a 2-minute brew time, you save time and money on your daily cup of coffee. Like a French press, you can experiment with your coffee-to-water ratio, coffee particle size (grind), water temperature, and water-coffee contact time.
While the product doesn’t replace the hipster ambiance of your usual coffee bar, it definitely provides a great (and cheaper) alternative to your daily $3 doppio. The Aeropress process has gained a lot of attention in the past few years and has quite the following among high-end baristas and roasters inspired to use the method to create innovative recipes for the perfect cup of coffee. Get some ideas from the winners at the World Aeropress Championship (yes, it’s a real thing)!
Coffee Ice Cubes for Hot Summer Days
Pouring leftover cold coffee down the drain is almost like pouring money down the drain. Put leftover coffee into an ice tray and pop it into the freezer, and you’ve got tomorrow’s coffee ice cubes. Don’t let the summer heat and regular ice cubes water down your homemade brew. You can also drop a couple cubes into a cup of coffee that’s just too hot or into your travel mug before you rush out the door. They’ll cool down the temperature without diluting flavor.
Buy Beans in Bulk
Coffee beans aren’t that cheap, so if you’re going to be picking up a bag of beans from Intelligentsia, Stumptown, or Blue Bottle on a weekly basis, you might not be saving that much money in the end by home brewing. Have friends who are also coffee addicts? Costco probably offers the best deal on coffee beans in bulk. Share the savings by splitting the cost of a Costco-sized bag of coffee beans, and you’ll get the most beans for your buck. Coffee beans generally should be used up to two weeks from their roast date, so be sure to check the packaging to see how long your beans will last. Also, keep in mind that quality coffee beans are important, but a high price doesn’t always reflect high quality.
Invest in a Good Travel Mug
You’re wasting money if your coffee spills all over your car during your morning commute or if you don’t drink the coffee, because it’s already cold by the time you get to work. It’s tempting to buy a travel mug because it’s cute or because it’s only $10, but it’ll be worth it in the long run to invest in a quality travel mug with a spill-free lid and insulated canister.
One of the best travel mugs on the market is Zojirushi’s stainless steel mug ($30 to $50) that uses vacuum insulation technology to keep your coffee hot for hours. It’s pretty unbelievable how long it can keep your coffee hot. I’ve kept coffee hot in a Zojirushi mug with the lid on for over 10 hours. The design is sleek, the lid locks, and it’s easy to clean. For a more affordable option, try Contigo’s stainless steel travel mug ($20 to $25). You won’t have to compromise on style, because they come in a variety of bright and fun colors.
Discounted Gift Cards
It’s easy to save on your quick coffee runs by buying discounted gift cards to your favorite popular coffee chains. Search CardCash, Raise, or GiftCardGranny to find gift cards to Starbucks, Peet’s, Dunkin Donuts, Panera, or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. They are often being sold for up to 20% off. If you live right by a Dunkin Donuts or if there’s a Starbucks in the lobby of your office building, why not buy a discounted gift card ahead of time? It’ll help you save some cash when you need that afternoon pick-me-up.