2014 Resolution: Breaking the Starbucks habit in Hoboken

We’ve already done this in 2013, but for those of you looking to save boatloads of cash – you should consider breaking the Starbucks habit (if you have one).

For us – it was the tasty espresso shots we’d load up on multiple times per day. To the point where we calculated that we were easily spending $7,000 per year at Starbucks (and not including the occasional food purchases either). Wouldn’t that money be better used elsewhere?

See a few ways we found to significantly knock down that excessive expenditure without depriving ourselves of the daily caffeine we rely on.

Jura Ena Micro 1 Automatic Espresso Machine

Jura Ena Micro 1 Espresso Machine ReviewOur first decision was to try and “replace” the Starbucks drinks we loved with an almost exact replica. But when we realized how large and expensive the super heavy-duty espresso machines that Starbucks uses, that wouldn’t be practical or economical. Maybe if we had a 20,000 sq. ft. mansion with hired help, but not in our living quarters, no way!

Or research drove us to the Jura Ena Micro 1 Automatic Espresso Machine. It’s compact enough for almost any kitchen, and it’s a “one step” process that eliminates the need to grind and measure your espresso. It makes an amazing cup of espresso and works incredibly well for just $799. One of those circumstances where the reviews were pretty much spot-on (thankfully).

We use it on slower days when we have more time (like on weekends), however – if you drink as much espresso as we do, you’ll find yourself loading and cleaning the unit more often that you’d want, which detracts from it’s overall appeal. But for sporadic use it’s 100% a winner.

With that said – it doesn’t get used daily, or for every coffee drink.

So what were our alternatives?

Folgers Classic Instant Coffee

Folgers Instant CoffeeFolgers you ask? That certainly must be insane, right? How could that ever take the place of “real” coffee at a coffee shop?

Well – for one – you can make 180 12oz cups of coffee for under $12.00 (that is less than $0.07 per cup). If the cost alone isn’t enough to win you over – believe it or not – after a while, you cannot tell the difference, and the taste and jolt is sufficient enough to be your daily vice without complaint. Actually quite satisfactory.

There are other instant coffees worth trying to determine which brand you prefer, such as Nescafe Classic (which some find better) or Douwe Egberts from England (which many say is clearly the best – we ordered a jar and will be tasting next week).

I would not recommend the Starbucks VIA coffees, as they’re are profoundly more expensive, and I feel there are some suspicious ingredients in them, as I never felt right after drinking them.

Instant On Hot Water Dispenser

Waste King Coronado Hot Water DispenserWhether you choose to permanently switch over to instant coffees – or not – an Instant On Hot Water Dispenser is one of the most useful kitchen “aids” you will ever find. For tea, coffee, instant soups, or anything else that needs hot water – these things are a dream – and downright inexpensive!

We recently added a Waste King Coronado Hot Water Dispenser ($150) to our “arsenal” of killer kitchen necessities – and it gets used multiple times daily.

You get near-boiling temperature water in an instant. No waiting, no mess, no cleanup.

If you’re handy, you can install yourself – or call one of the many local contractors who can probably install for just a few hundred dollars.

Compare that to the amount of money you’d save annually by breaking the Starbucks habit, you’d consider that a giant return on investment.

Or we could just stop drinking coffee and caffeine altogether – but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

What kind of coffee drinker are you?