Thanks for the Free Coffee Panera!

At the beginning of the semester I signed up for a free trial of Panera’s coffee subscription service and now I can’t imagine my life without it. Panera still offers the first three months for free and I personally would recommend signing up. I started out very skeptical but now feel eternally grateful. Ahead, I detail my love for Panera’s free coffee.

 

A History of loving free stuff

Saving money has always motivated me. For example, the summer before my senior year of high school, a yoga studio opened right outside my neighborhood and they offered the first month of unlimited classes for a very discounted rate. I have never dedicated myself to exercise more than I did that month. I attended yoga class every day. Honestly, I didn’t even like it. I felt awkward every class because everyone else had prior experience with yoga and I had no clue what I was doing. After the 30 days I literally never went back. Since then, I've tried to work on spending money mindfully on things I actually do enjoy.

On a happier and coffee-er note, I, along with every other student, loved when organizations would set up tables on campus with free Blue Donkey coffee back when Emory had in-person classes.

 

Why I signed up

Over the summer, I constantly saw ads for Panera's monthly coffee subscription service. The fast casual restaurant chain offers unlimited coffee for $8.99 a month with the first 3 months for free! At this point I loved iced coffee but only treated myself to it on occasion. I remember swiping up on the ad a couple times and starting to fill out the form but clicking out every time it asked for my credit card info. I do my best, but frequently fail to save money as a college student, so I try to avoid subscriptions. 

Flash forward half a year to January and I still see the ads all over my phone and computer. While over the summer I lived at home about a 15 minute drive from Panera, I now live in an apartment that’s walking distance to one. I decided to face my fear of subscriptions and sign up for 3 months of free coffee. I set a reminder on my phone to cancel before the free part ends.

 

Routine

I completely credit my morning routine to this subscription. The start of my day practically revolves around free coffee. I wake up, get dressed and ready, then walk to get coffee. Pre-pandemic, I loved going to Emory’s group fitness classes, but now that those happen online, I really just walk for exercise. The thought of coffee gives me just the push I need to get out the door.

I like listening to music or a podcast while walking. I just recently listened to one that I have to recommend! The podcast is called “Unlocking Us with Brene Brown'' and the episode is called “Glennon Doyle and Brene on Untamed”. The host, Brene, talks with the author, Glennon, about her new book. I read the book and loved it, but the podcast episode takes much less time and feels equally as emotional as the book.

When I get back to my room, I enjoy the ideal breakfast situation of coffee and overnight oats. I usually watch a tv show or something on YouTube. My recent favorite video is Margot Lee’s “the best two weeks of my life (saying bye to london) VLOG”. She captures the end of her 2019 study abroad trip and I really can’t say enough positive things about the video, I’ve probably watched it 9 times. After a delicious breakfast, I have the energy to attend my online classes.

 

Final Thoughts

I order an iced coffee with almond milk practically every single day. The process couldn't be easier. I order on the app and then pick it up from a shelf of online orders and head back to my apartment. As if I wasn’t already their biggest fan, Panera even gave me a free bagel on Valentines Day. I can thank Panera for my new coffee dependency. I literally feel exhausted without it. 

I never thought I would pay for the subscription but because I am basically addicted, I know I will have to find some way to get daily caffeine and I don’t know if I can beat $8.99 a month. I also feel hesitant to quit because at this point I’ve built my entire life around this coffee. Panera, you have gained a loyal customer.