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Learning to save by making coffee at home!

Like many people living in the NYC area, when the pandemic first hit in March, I hunkered down. In the first month or so, I only left my apartment to go for walks to get some much needed fresh air or to visit with family outdoors in a socially distant way. Groceries, takeout food, home supplies, and pretty much anything I needed came directly to my door through Instacart, Amazon, Whole Foods, Mercato, local restaurants, UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc. And, during this time, I was forced to make all of my coffee at home.

Starting in late May, I started to venture out a bit more (safely of course) and began resuming my pre-pandemic ritual of starting most days with a medium/grande Starbucks or Dunkin coffee via their drive-thrus. Before the pandemic hit, I would venture outside of my NYC office just about everyday for a $5+ Starbucks coffee (Starbucks was the closest option to my office). Then, on the weekends I would also then wait in the long drive thru lines for my weekend coffee fix. I considered my lattes to be my daily treat.

Through the various phases of lockdown, I began to really evaluate my spending habits on a lot of different fronts. I realized that my coffee habit was beginning to add up. I was spending at least $35 per week on Starbucks or Dunkin’ lattes (not including tips), which translated to $140+ a month and a whopping $1820+ a year. And obviously some weeks were even more $ when factoring in buying coffees for co-workers, friends and family.

My remedy for reducing my coffee spending came from an unexpected, fabulous gift. For my recent birthday, I received a french press as a gift from a friend. (It was a simple, single cup french press that you can buy on Amazon. This is the one that I have.) You can purchase a good quality french press for under $35, which coincidentally which was what I was spending for my Starbucks and Dunkin’ coffees every week.

In the past, I wasn’t a big fan of home brewed coffee. I owned a couple of Keurig machines that always broke after a few years and produced “meh,” lackluster tasting coffee. When my last Keurig machine broke a few years ago, I didn’t even bother replacing it. I was definitely a bit skeptical about using a french press, but I am finding that I actually prefer the taste of my homemade french press lattes to most coffees made by Starbucks and Dunkin’ baristas. Over time, I have experimented with ingredients and ground coffees to come up with the perfect lattes. Now, instead of waiting in coffee drive thru lines for 30 minutes, I now just walk to my kitchen. And I am able to make a killer latte in about 5 minutes from start to finish.

I think the key to an elevated cup of coffee is to finding high quality, organic (if possible) ground coffee. A lot of the supermarket ground coffees are not the best quality or are high in mold (which unfortunately is common with most commercial coffees). Check out this article for more information about mold in coffee. While I love the Bulletproof ground coffees, my new favorite is Four Sigmatic. which combines high quality ground coffee with immune-boosting and balancing medicinal mushrooms. The taste is amazing! While the higher quality is definitely more expensive, a bag usually lasts me about a month. (I use one small scoop for each latte that I make as I don’t prefer my coffee to be super strong.)

Here are the ingredients for one of my favorite french press lattes:

  1. Add a half cup of oat milk or oat milk vanilla flavored milk to a coffee cup. (I usually use the Oatly brand which I always have in my fridge; however, but feel free to use any brand or type of milk preferred.)
  2. Add a half teaspoon of organic maple syrup to the oat milk or preferred milk in the cup. (I use Whole Foods 365 brand, which lasts me about 2 months.)
  3. Add a scoop of collagen powder vanilla or chocolate to the coffee cup. (I use whatever is on sale, typically Ancient Nutrition, Bulletproof, Vital Proteins, Great Lakes, etc.)
  4. Mix the ingredients together with a spoon.
  5. Pour in the hot french press coffee, stir and enjoy!

These days, I now treat myself to a drive thru coffee maybe once a week. By making my own coffee most of the time and using the add-in ingredients that I already have at home, I am poised to save about $1,000 per year.

Click here for some other cool coffee-based ideas

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