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How much can you save by making your coffee at home instead of buying from a chain?

I found it surprisingly easy – and far cheaper than Starbucks and Caribou.
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A recent study has shown that the average American spends $1,100 a year on coffee.

That works out at $3 a day and much of that will be spent in chains like Starbucks and Caribou.

The question is, do we need to be spending that much?

Yes, I know there's something nice about getting coffee from a coffee chain or gourmet independent shop, but if you're looking for ways to trim your budget, this is a place to start.

I looked into how much effort would be required to make Starbucks and Caribou-quality coffee at home – and I was pleasantly surprised to find it's not difficult.

As you can see in the videos below, you don't need fancy espresso machines or milk steamers to prepare a proper latte or a mocha frappe.

I made mine using a $20 filter coffee machine, a cheap mason jar and a $15 blender – and in both cases they took around 5 minutes to make.

Overall you'd save a bundle by making your morning joe at home instead of buying from a coffee shop, and you might even save some time not having to wait in line.


I made a latte using this recipe from The Kitchn

All you need is milk, strong coffee and some cocoa powder for sprinkles, which cost me $11 at Cub Foods – $5 for the coffee, $3 for the milk and $3 for the powder.

The coffee will probably last you a month if you make one cup a day. The cocoa powder will last longer, and the gallon of milk two weeks.

So figure that over the course of a month, that would set you back $14 plus tax,after buying an extra gallon of milk.

For one coffee every weekday (22 weekdays in a month), that works out at about $0.63 per cup.

A small latte from Caribou will set you back $3.19, so if you get one of those every weekday for a month, it'd cost you $67.98 plus tax.

Blended iced mocha

I made a blended iced mocha using this recipe from Pastry Affair.

You need a couple more things than a latte: Milk, chocolate syrup, espresso powder, ice and whipped cream. At Cub Foods, those ingredients came to $12.07.

Figure the whipped cream ($2) needs replacing after 2 weeks, same with the chocolate syrup ($2.69) and milk ($2.99), and you're looking at a cost of $19.75 over the course of a month.

That works out at an average cost per cup of $0.90.

A tall Mocha Frappe at Starbucks currently sells for $3.75, according to Fastfood Menu Prices (though it varies by location), so one of those a weekday would set you back $82.50.

The Tip Jar is consumer writer Adam Uren's advice column on how to spend, save, and live with confidence. Read past columns here.

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