Updated: Jul 24, 2020
At some point in the last decade, holding a paper cup with the Green Mermaid on it became a status symbol of sorts...it says to the world, “I have sophisticated taste” and “I can afford the luxury of $5+ lattes.” ...but can you afford it? Really? As a former barista and lover of living fit and being frugal AF, I have some helpful insight on the matter...
In the world of endless student debt and skyrocketing rents, a small item like a Grande Vanilla Latte may seem like a nice little reminder every now and then that though you are technically broke, you’re not so broke that you can’t afford a sweet treat and extra boost of energy. But not only does the cost of that indulgence add up, but so do the calories. One day after another, one latte after another, and you can find yourself tacking on 3500 extra calories...that’s 1lb of body weight...in ONLY 2 weeks! In that 14 days, you can also say goodbye to the $70 you just dropped for your daily fix (averaging a grande vanilla latte at $5) So let’s consider adding two key kitchen appliances to your home that will save you money AND calories, so you can spend your saved cash on a vacation in the tropics instead of bigger stretchy pants. Item 1: Espresso Machine
If you are a lover of the latte, an aficionado of the espresso, or just a full blown caffeine addict, this could be your saving grace. The Nespresso Inissia (the exact one I have, for the sake of this example) runs about $120 on Amazon.com. If we assume you’re spending $35/week on barista-crafted drinks, then this little guy pays for itself in a month. As for the pods, they run roughly $1 or less per pod, and can be purchased online, as well as at some Macys and Bloomingdales retail locations. This means you’re spending around $30 on espresso for the month instead of the $140 to wait in line for some barista to hopefully not screw it up. Environmental Bonus: You can ask for a prepaid shipping bag from Nespresso to place your used pods in to mail back to the company for recycling! Take THAT Keurig! Just a coffee drinker, no espresso? Then opt for a good quality French Press. Of all the brewing methods, this one is my favorite. Since there’s no paper filter, you still have all the flavor from the oils in the bean when you brew it. Also, It is easily packable for travel (which I did on my trip to Barbados in January) and you can explore all of the different roasting companies popping up all over the world, one bag of beans at a time. This little fella can also double as a cold-brew iced coffee maker if you just throw the ground beans and water in the fridge overnight, then plunge in the A.M. Splurge Purchase: A good burr coffee grinder assures you the freshest possible roast, and will make you sound extra cool when the cashier asks if you need the beans ground, but you get to nonchalantly wave your hand and say, “no, I have my own grinder.” I bought mine in 2007 and its still running great. A quality one will stick around for awhile. Environmental Bonus: Save the nitrogen-rich used coffee grounds to mix into your garden soil for healthy plants, or toss grinds right into your composter, if you’re into that sort of thing. Item 2: Milk Frother
I didn’t realize I needed this until I got one for Christmas a few years ago. Furthermore, nothing makes you look like a badass coffee pro than being able to whip up a Mocha or Cappuccino for your friends the morning after they crash on your couch. Again, this milk frother is the one I own, so it’s the one I’ll recommend. But they all do the job, so by all means shop around. You can usually make it just slightly foamy for a latte or cappuccino-level foamy with two different pieces, but all are easily cleanable and come with the unit. How they’ll help you lose weight
Fun fact: One serving of milk is 8 ounces. A tall (small) latte is 12. Grande is 16, venti 20, trente 30. No one needs that much dairy in one serving! And due to the natural sugars (lactose) in milk, even an unsweetened (no vanilla, mocha etc.) latte holds 190 calories...including 7g fat and 17g sugars. It adds up! But when you start to make your own drinks, you will be in control of how much milk and sugar is added to your beverage, and you can slowly decrease the amount of sugar that it needs. Heck, you can even buy a bottle of the vanilla (and most other) syrup from Starbucks for around $10, so go for it, but just use less than they do! Intereseted in cutting the amount of sugar in your diet? Click here to sign up for my Half the Sugar/Twice the Awesome 3 Day E-Course Many people think they’re “addicted” to the caffeine, but really, if you’ve been buying the super sweet drinks, and you can’t imagine being able to suffer a plain latte, then my friend it’s the sugar you’re addicted to. You might as well take a shot of espresso and eat two fruit roll ups instead of that vanilla latte. Weaning yourself off of the sugar, while still enjoying the flavor and perks of espresso drinks, will help you maintain a healthy daily calorie intake...leading to a leaner waistline and a fatter wallet.
Want me to help customize a replacement program for your coffee addiction? Sign up here for a free 20 minute health strategy session!