Keurig is Dirty Water, Starbucks Hurts My Wallet: How to Save $1,600 on Your Coffee Obsession

Coffee is the lifeblood of society. It jump starts our mornings and erases our post-lunch drowsiness. Coffee is not just a drink, it is a culture, a work of art. If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you can sniff out a bad brew before it even touches your lips.

Sometimes the $6 cappuccino is just too good to pass up…

So don’t worry, I am not suggesting that you just drink whatever free coffee is available to you and get on with your morning. That would be ludicrous. I mean we wouldn’t drink toilet water over Fiji Water just because its free right?

Given that coffee is so closely linked with productivity,why do so many large companies provide their employees with the famous Green Mountain Breakfast Blend Keurig Cups? Yes those wonderful K-cups that taste like dirty water and make your eyelids feel ALL the gravity.

Green Mountain coffee K-cup
This gives me nightmares…

Starbucks to the Rescue?

So the office coffee sucks and you pass 1,000 Starbucks on your morning commute anyway. Problem solved right? Well if Starbucks was for the boys/girls and sold their coffee for 30 cents a pop then yes, I’d say gulp it down. Unfortunately, Starbucks wants to keep their lights on and make a profit.

Lets look at the coffee consumption of an average New Yorker:

  • Cups of coffee per workday: 2.5
  • Cups of coffee per non-working day: 1
  • Working days: 240
  • Non-working days (weekends, holidays, paid-leave): 125
  • Cost per cup (medium brewed coffee): $2.50

This equates to roughly $1,800 per year! And these assumptions are pretty conservative. We all know “that guy” who is slamming multiple $5 cold brews a day…

Starbucks cold brew
It’s another “Nitro Cold Brew with a Double Espresso Shot” type of afternoon

So the office coffee is trash and coffee shops are expensive. But I still need my fix..

Enter in the French Press. I have no idea why it is called a French Press, because technically it was invented by an Italian, but let’s put those details aside. All you need to know is that a French Press is the dollar-menu McDouble of the coffee world. Its quick, easy, cheap and it tastes damn gooooood.

The French Press uses ground coffee beans and hot water. That’s it. I am not going to give you a full step-by-by tutorial here because YouTube will certainly serve you better. But basically, you put the ground coffee beans and hot water into the French Press, wait 3-4 min and voila! You have a good strong cup of coffee. Total cost per cup: 30 cents.

French press and coffee cup
Your New Best Friend

How do I harness the power of the French Press?

*The annual cost of each option below is calculated assuming 2.5 cups of coffee on workings days and 1 cup of coffee on non-working days.

Option #1: The Office French Press (Morning: French Press, Afternoon: French Press)

Store a French Press and bag of ground coffee beans in your desk or office pantry. This is the preferred option as it doesn’t add any time to your morning routine and gives you unlimited access to quality coffee.Assuming the same coffee drinking habits above, your annual coffee cost plummets to ~$220.

Option #2: The Lunchtime Starbucks (Morning: French Press, Afternoon: Starbucks)

For whatever reason, some people may not be able to store items in their office. If this describes your situation, don’t worry, hope is not lost. Money can still be saved. However, you will have to add 7 minutes to your morning routine:

  • Microwave water: 2 min
  • Steep coffee in French Press: 4 min
  • Pour into thermos and rinse out French Press: 1 min

For the post lunch coffee fix, you will either have to live with the free office sludge or shell out a bit of cash…

…Starbucks it is. This consumption pattern will set you back ~$880 per year.

Option #3: The Caffeine Savage (Morning: French Press, Afternoon: Caffeine pill)

What if you don’t want to give into the Starbucks trap? Well this is where you have to be a bit of a savage…

…instead of that afternoon coffee break, pop a caffeine pill instead. Caffeine pills are available in most health stores like GNC. Read the label carefully! The caffeine dosage per pill varies greatly depending on the brand. Again, read the label carefully!  An average cup of coffee contains about 100mg of caffeine, so you want to find a brand which contains 100mg of pure caffeine in each pill.  

Caffeine pills are extremely cheap, which makes this a very efficient method from both a cost and time perspective. This consumption pattern will run you ~$140 per year.

Option #4: The Office Coffee Trooper (Morning: Office Coffee, Afternoon: Office Coffee)

Maybe your office provides good strong coffee. Maybe you actually like the taste of dirty water Keurig/Flavia coffee. Whatever the case,if you can get away with drinking the free office coffee then you’re in line for some big savings. Since you will be only paying for coffee on non-working days, and you will be utilizing that fancy new French Press, your annual coffee bill will shrink to a paltry sum of ~$40.


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