Drinking homemade coffee instead of paying several dollars each day for a coffee house beverage is often the first thing on lists of ways to save money. But it’s not that easy! Unless you have an espresso machine and know how to use it, you probably can’t duplicate your favorite beverage. And unless you’re a better woman (or man) than I am, regular homemade coffee probably won’t satisfy your cravings. Can you really save money by drinking homemade coffee without feeling deprived? Here are some tips for making it work.
Saving Money With Homemade Coffee: Don’t Do Instant
It seems faster, but you won’t be satisfied with instant coffee, no matter what you put in it. Flavored instant coffees can provide a better experience, but they also contain interesting ingredients like corn syrup solids and partially hydrogenated coconut oil (one of the trans fats we’re now told to avoid). I’ve heard that the new Starbucks VIA instant coffee isn’t bad for instant, but you’d still be paying almost one dollar per cup of VIA, so you wouldn’t be saving as much money.
Saving Money With Homemade Coffee: Get the Right Coffee Maker
Think about what you need in a coffee maker. Is it important to you that the coffee be right there when you wake up? Get a programmable coffee maker, and set it up the night before. Will you only be making one or two cups at a time? Try a small coffee maker, like the Cuisinart 4-Cup Coffee Maker with Stainless Steel Carafe.
Saving Money With Homemade Coffee: Get the Right Flavor
Ground coffee is not all alike. If you want to be satisfied with your money-saving cup of homemade coffee, take the time to find the kind you really like. That might be Folgers or Yuban, or it might be something more exotic. If you like flavored coffee, you can get ground coffee in a variety of flavors like Hazelnut Cream and Vanilla Cappuccino. Use the small packages of ground coffee available in most grocery stores to sample different varieties.
Saving Money With Homemade Coffee: Don’t Skimp on Sugar and Cream
If you like your coffee black, you can skip this section. But if you like sweet, frou-frou coffee drinks at the coffee house, you’re going to miss the sugar if you cut it out suddenly. If you need two or three spoons of sugar in order to drink your coffee, go right ahead. It’s probably still less than you were getting from the coffee house! Also, I don’t recommend flavored creamers. Like the flavored instant coffees, they usually contain corn syrup (including the high-fructose kind) and partially hydrogenated oils. I just use regular non-fat milk; you may prefer half and half.
So what’s my favorite cup of coffee? I’ve settled on vanilla cappuccino-flavored ground coffee, with three spoons of sugar and enough milk to cool it to drinking temperature. Yes, it’s almost a coffee milkshake, but it gets me going in the morning.