Give a Little Spice to Your Morning Joe

Imagine this: You walk into your favorite coffee establishment and hand over your hard-earned cash. How much is it costing you for that coveted caffeinated drink? $3? $4? Even $5?

Though coffee is a daily essential for most college students, expensive drinks often put tension on a budget that’s already being stretched too thin. Luckily, there are many ways to overcome the sticker shock so many of us have become accustomed to without sacrificing big coffee shop taste.

At the Coffee Shop

Skip the lattes and macchiatos as an everyday drink and switch to a brewed coffee instead. For half the price and a fraction of the calories, choosing a freshly brewed cup of joe will save you in the long run. To ensure flavor is not lost, try these tips:

  • Choose a different brew each day — this one simple change can keep your taste buds busy for weeks.
  • Add a pump of flavor syrup — some shops offer this for free or as little as 50 cents.
  • Swap out the cream and sugar – add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla powder or chocolate powder for an extra punch.
  • Switch up your daily creamer — half-and-half, whole milk, skim milk and soy can all mix up the flavor of your favorite drink.

At Home

If you’re a home brewer, or if you you just want to ditch the expensive coffee habit, here are some tips for making a mean mug of coffee for a fraction of the cost:

  • Add spices to coffee grounds before brewing — pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom are all great additions to a typical plain coffee roast.
  • Add ice cream — Ben & Jerry’s isn’t just good during a Netflix marathon, it also makes a fantastic substitution for creamer in your morning coffee.
  • Syrups and sauces — chocolate syrup and caramel sauce aren’t just for your ice cream sundae – a teaspoon mixed in with coffee adds instant flavor. More of a baker? A few drops of vanilla, almond, mint or rum extract works just as good, too.
  • Make your own mocha – mixing in cocoa adds a chocolatey goodness similar to that of a mocha without the high cost.
  • For those 21 and older, add a shot of liqueur — Bailey’s and RumChata make great creamers while any hazelnut, almond or raspberry liqueur adds a sweet kick.

Try any one of these tips the next time you reach for your coffee cup. While the separation from your favorite coffee shop drink might be tough, don’t fret too much – it’ll be there waiting for you the next time you need a special treat.