How Do You Like Your Coffee?
I just started drinking coffee. In my 30s. Out of the blue.
Ironically, I made it through college without developing a coffee habit, which is when it seems that most people pick up the habit if they haven’t already. And I made it through years in the corporate world where almost everyone made frequent runs to the break room for coffee. And I avoided it when Scott would make some at our house on the weekends.
But as of last month, I’m officially in the coffee drinker club! After holding out for so many years, I feel kind of like I’m just now entering some kind of exclusive social club.
Coffee and Money
I get accused of sucking the fun out of things, by analyzing all the price points on everything, and finding the cheapest way to do something. However, if I’m going to start a coffee habit, you better believe that I’m going to go in with all the financial research!
After all, it seems the number one personal finance tip is always to “eliminate your daily coffee run” as repeated in the Downsized TV Show discussion to save on money, so I’m going to start off knowing the financial commitment!
How to Save Money on Coffee
With any new habit, you have to take a look at the overall cost and the best way to approach it from a financial standpoint.
Look at price per pound. I’ve been working on a price log for coffee grounds. I can pick up Starbucks coffee at the grocery store with a double coupon for $7.32 per pound. However, if I get the Dunkin Donuts coffee at Costco, it’s $6.63 per pound. Obviously, there’s some room for improvement here.
Turn in a used bag. Once you’re done with the Starbucks coffee bag, you can turn it in for a free cup of coffee. I’m going to have to add that into my calculation as it will bring down the price per pound.
Rewards Programs. Amanda mentioned that there are rewards programs for both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. I’m following the step by step Starbucks reward program details to get started.
Selecting a brand. At this point, I’ve only had Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts at home, since that is what Scott drinks. But I’m open to trying other types of coffee, as I see there are many cheaper brands, but I do need some suggestions!
Starbucks Coffee Deal
Starbucks Natural Fusions 2-pack 11 oz packages are on sale at Amazon. You can use the coupon code FUSIONC5 to get $5 off through the end of the year. It will bring the coffee price down to $5.82 per pound.
These would make great stocking stuffers. Shhhh, don’t tell Scott, but we already got a shipment of these for our stockings!
And of course, coffee is listed as one of the great Christmas gifts for coworkers.
What Kind of Coffee Do You Drink?
After researching the price of coffee, I proudly started my new habit. I’ve mastered making the coffee at home each morning with milk and sweetener.
And my neighbor and I have been heading to Starbucks each Saturday morning before the kids get up to get a cup of coffee…. but all the choices are really mind boggling! Espresso, latte, cappuccino. Double this and grande that… I feel like I’m in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language!
So here I am, playing catchup in the world of coffee. That’s where you come in! Tell me how you like your coffee! As a coffee drinker newbie, I’d love to hear your suggestions on coffee brands, what you put in your coffee and everything in between!
What type of coffee should I buy? How do you like your coffee?
I’m a huge coffee drinker–mostly at home!
One thing I do think is important though is whether the coffee is fair trade. DD might be cheap, but I think supporting labor rights etc. is worth a little bit of extra cost. You can also get great fair trade coffee at Trader Joes that falls within the same price per pound margins you listed above!
I have bought coffee from http://coffeebeandirect.com/ for several years and have always been impressed. Buy the 5 lb bags for savings. I of course frequent Starbucks and Caribou for buying hot coffee, but for beans I always go online. I recommend trying the dark Celebes Kalossi first for $7.15 a lb. It is dark and rich, but low in acid, easy on the stomach. Buy it through Amazon for shipping savings.
Watch this video on how to order coffee at Starbucks:
The key to coffee is to realize that you don’t have to spend $4 a cup. Folgers or Giant store brand ground coffee are as good as Dunkin Donuts, and better than Starbucks (everything is better than Starbucks) and less than half the price, too.
If you like your coffee first thing in the morning, it’s worth investing in a coffee maker with a programmable timer. And a charcoal filter makes a real difference in the taste (depending on your local water quality)
I developed my coffee habit after coming to the US.
I tried Starbucks Natural Fusions (cinnamon and caramel) and didn’t like the aftertaste.
To restate Saskia’s point, fair trade coffee doesn’t have to be expensive – just check out Trader Joe’s!
Stay away from Starbucks; it is too expensive and tastes bad. Eight O’Clock is my favorite with milk or cream, no sugar (I fear the cavity creeps). There are always plenty of coupons available, occasional sales and they have a good website.
As some mentioned above, I also purchase Fair Trade coffee on principle. There are many places (even the grocery!) to find it affordably. One of my favorite brands, totally reasonably priced: http://deansbeans.com/
I also use a French press solely at home, so I can make individual cups rather than a whole pot that may or may not get used. French presses are affordable, come in different sizes, and are very easy to maintain. Plus, without a coffee maker, that’s one less appliance cluttering up the counter. 😉
I drink tea instead, just pennies a cup.
I drink Melitta coffee. The Melitta Coffee Warehouse opens once a year. It is the ultimate way to save on coffee! I stock up on coffee that retails for 7.99 lb., on sale for .99 lb. I’m sure other coffee brands must have warehouse sales too.
My suggestion? Stop now. It is a waste of money, and nothing is more annoying than people who “need” their coffee before they can even start their day.
“Morning People” are what’s annoying. And, they tend to be self-righteous about their happy-morning-ness too, which is even more intolerable.
Everybody’s different, it takes some people more to get crankin’ in the morning but they are possibly more productive during the day. Which is another reason why they’re slow to get going because once they DO: it’s full steam ahead.
Welcome to the club. I been drinking coffee since high school in the early 90s. Been around the block a bit here.
I am biased towards Dunkins. Starbucks is my last choice but I will not turn them down if there’s no other alternative.
Depending on what you are drinking coffee for, I suggest keeping the premium brands for guests, whole beans so you can ground them yourself.
For myself, since it is about being frugal without sacrificing taste, I too buy my Dunkins at Sam’s.
However, I also mix in other brands that cost far considerably less, pennies per cup, really. I am sure people will react in an uproar over this but for those people, get over it already.
I have tried Giant’s as mentioned earlier, it’s not bad. Try your favorite grocery store’s brand, it may actually be just as good as Dunkins or whatever premium you like. Mix them up a little (I usually mix it 2 to 1) and see if there’s any discernible difference.
If you really grow to love coffee, there is only one cost effective way to consume – home roasting.
You buy green (raw) coffee beens in bulk (25 lbs) as they last in this condition for two years. You then buy a home coffee roaster (I have a “fresh roast” hot air roaster, some people even use cheap popcorn poppers) and a burr grinder (I have a maestro solis) and you are set with the freshest coffee.
I like fat-free lattes but mix in all other types of coffee.
I’m very fortunate in that I have a great local green been provider so I don’t pay for shipping. My last 25lbs cost 79 dollars, but I see prices are up to 95 dollars.
Fresh coffee can be a great source of anti-oxidants, and the roast/ground/brew your own is very cost effective after the startup investment, which can be a couple hundred dollars (I’m guessing that’s a month of starbucks?….:)
A few things:
I haven’t looked into it myself but in one of my posts someone commented that buying coffee at Starbucks is cheaper than buying the Starbucks brand at the grocery store. Coupons might change this but worth checking.
I recently joined Starbucks Rewards myself – I’m working towards my Gold card 🙂 With that program you also get a free cup when you buy whole beans, so if you have a grinder at home that could be a way to get 2 free cups per bag – one when you buy and one when you return the bag.
I started drinking coffee after college. I often had plain coffee at the office and a hazelnut latte if I was at Starbucks or a similar place. At $4+ and 400+ calories each, that caught up to me in more ways than one! I now stick to plain coffee except for maybe 1 – 2x per month, or when I’m on a work trip and the latte serves as my (reimbursable) breakfast.
So much to think about! I had no idea there were so many details for coffee drinkers to consider…
Thanks everyone for all of your opinions, suggestions, and links! I’ll be checking them all out.