Buy whole beans and ground them at home. This is quite possibly the easiest switch to make and easily the most effective. Buying whole beans and grinding them at home right before (or the night before) you’re ready to brew them makes your coffee infinitely more fresh and flavorful. When you buy ground coffee at the store, who knows how long ago they were ground? If you can make a simple investment in a coffee grinder, or even a coffee pot that has a grinder built in, you’ll notice a major difference. This tip make even the more affordable grocery store brands taste decadent.
Splurge a little on the beans. If you can swing it with your budget, skip the Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts beans and spring for something a little better. It’ll still be 100% worth it and cheaper than grabbing that same cup of coffee at a café. For example, Stumptown costs $20 for just under a pound of beans, which comes out to about 14 cups of coffee, or $1.43 per cup. This is still cheaper than a cup from the bougie coffee shop down the street, tastes just as good if not better, and you don’t even have to change out of your pj’s to enjoy it.
Froth the milk. This is a must, especially if you’re using non-dairy milk. It makes coffee feel 10x more luxurious and purchasing a frother to have at home will save infinite amounts of money down the line when you don’t have to spend $5 just to get your latté or cappuccino fix. Skip the über cheap kind and go just one step up - the cheapest ones break quite often and you’ll end up spending more in the long term just replacing them.
Add cinnamon to the grounds. This is another tip requires very little effort but goes a very long way. Add a dash or two of cinnamon into your grounds before you brew your coffee and you’ll instantly give your cup a boost. Not only is cinnamon great for fighting inflammation and adding extra antioxidants to your plain coffee, but it also helps give it that ‘coffee-shop’ feel. It adds a hint of flavor without the chemicals and has a warm, cozy effect. For optimum results, definitely include the cinnamon in the grounds before brewing as opposed to just tossing some cinnamon in your already-brewed cup. That way you won’t have to deal with the residue when you get to the bottom.
Make a flavored simple syrup. It’s super easy to make those flavored syrups that coffee shops have, and then you can make fancy lattés at home. Simple syrup is literally just water and sugar, and then you can add different extracts like vanilla, almond or peppermint. You can find a great basic recipe here for a syrup, and then for flavored coffee creamers (if that’s your style), a tutorial can be found here. By having these syrups or creamers on hand, you can instantly customize your cup to your mood (or season). Those pre-made syrups or flavored coffee beans have a ton of chemicals and weird ingredients added in, so why not make an all-natural version yourself?
Jordan Drankoski is the one woman star of the foodie blog Dancing for Donuts. She's a regular guest writer on ToBox serving up inspiration and recipes for the mind and soul. She loves spending time in the kitchen creating new recipes, hiking, trying new restaurants and visiting new places.