Your Guide to Coffee on a Budget

There I was, in my accounting class, when my professor pulled up a slide that read:

“Want an extra HALF MILLION at retirement? Money compounds (it makes interest on interest)–Save $2,000 per year ($5 * 365 = $1,825)–Earn 6% rate of return–Save for 45 years -- Have $425,000.” 

woman counting money near notebook on desk Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

We were talking about how much money you can save from not buying coffee out. I was ready for this to be a regular rant about not buying coffee out, but this is the first time that I’ve seen the regular yearly amount with interest added. 

While I don’t buy coffee out regularly, when I do I usually get a 7 dollar drink. After adding oat milk and flavor syrups, coffee tends to get expensive! This has encouraged me to figure out how to make actually good coffee at home. 

The supplies you will need are a french press or pour-over, a kitchen scale, coffee beans, a grinder, your milk of choice, a jar with a lid and flavor syrups. I make my own flavor syrups by making a simple syrup and adding mint, lavender, or vanilla extract. I also have made a brown sugar syrup, which is my current favorite, by substituting brown sugar for white sugar in simple syrup. You can also buy syrups from Starbucks or the grocery store, but I’ve found it’s much cheaper to just make your own. 

Start off by making your coffee according to the brewing method you’re using. With french presses, you’re generally supposed to use a 1:15 to 1:18 coffee to water ratio with the beans ground very coarse, but my french press is very small so I have begun to use a 1 ounce to 1 cup ratio with much smaller ground beans for a more espresso inspired coffee. Regardless of how you brew, make your coffee and while it is brewing add your milk of choice and syrup into a jar and warm it in the microwave. 

Then take the warmed milk and add cinnamon or cocoa if desired, and shake the milk so that it froths. If you decide to use oat milk, I recommend one that is marketed as a barista mix so that it froths well. 

Latte in mug Photo by Christiana Rivers from Unsplash

Add the milk to the coffee and with the last bit of milk, shake it up extra to create a foam on top. Lastly, top with cinnamon, cocoa, or caramel if you want and enjoy!

Recommended flavor combos to try:

  • Oat milk, brown sugar syrup and cinnamon (my take on the brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso from Starbucks)

  • Oat milk and lavender syrup

  • Half and half and vanilla syrup (my take on sweet cream)

  • Milk of choice, vanilla and mint syrup (holiday yum!)

  • Milk of choice, almond or hazelnut syrup and cinnamon

  • Milk of choice, cocoa powder and vanilla syrup