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Cheap Ways to Enjoy Gourmet Coffee Drinks from Home

I have spent an embarrassing fortune on gourmet coffee drinks.

Now I’m not completely beating myself up over this.

There are a few reasons why:

  • Splurging on gourmet coffee drinks is my #1 vice. I don’t get manicures and pedicures and I don’t often buy clothes. We eat out occasionally, but for the most part, my luxury is a 16 oz. iced vanilla latte.
  • We have an incredible independent coffeeshop within walking distance. I LOVE my local coffeeshop. I love the drinks (in fact, coffee drinks from other places don’t taste as good to me.) The people are friendly and are part of our community. And I love walking to the coffeeshop with my girls. It’s a pastime.
  • I consider it rent for workspace. As a freelancer, I often need a place to work outside of the home, and a $5 drink feels like the price you pay for a table and chair for a few hours (plus a yummy beverage). I justify the cost for a readily available workspace with free wifi.

BUT, with all that considered, my luxury was turning into a daily habit, and an expensive one at that. So I needed a way to make coffee drinks at home for a fraction of the cost.

Over the past couple of years, I have experimented with making espresso coffee drinks at home to varying degrees of success. I’ve used three types of stovetop espresso makers, two espresso machines and two cold brew methods.

Below I’ll show you the process that I settled on and now use every day. With that said, I haven’t been able to replicate my favorite coffee drink from the local shop. I haven’t even really tried.

They use French press coffee solely, and coffee beans from a local roaster in the neighborhood. That roaster developed an espresso blend specific to the cafe. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, the cafe also makes their own ice cream. So, we’ll never completely give up going, but I have been able to cut back and make coffee drinks from home most days of the week.

Cold Brew Method for Making Gourmet Coffee Drinks from Home

I bought Toddy T2N Cold Brew System ($30.99) last July.

It makes coffee concentrate that you can dilute with water or milk and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The brewer is made of BPA-free plastic, comes with a glass decanter and the cloth filters are washable. You can also brew tea with it. The instructions are easy to follow. There’s no plastic taste.

I don’t grind my own coffee beans, but I am willing to eventually try that to see if it improves the taste.

Use coarsely or regularly ground espresso. The best tasting espresso I have found is Lavazza ($21.35 for 4 cans — which is about a month and a half of coffee drinks), which I order from Amazon. The only issue with this, is that the Toddy brew system uses 12 oz of coffee, and each can of Lavazza is 8 oz. So I just eyeball half of the second 8 oz. can to bring it to 12 oz.

I use Brita filtered water ($20.99 for a pitcher) in the cold brew container. I let it sit on the kitchen counter for up to 24 hours, then fill the glass decanter and pop it in the fridge.

To make the coffee drinks:

Iced Latte
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/4 cup cold brew coffee concentrate
  • 8 oz milk
  • sweetener to taste (optional)
  • whipped topping (optional)

If I want it sweet, I might add a squeeze of Hershey’s Caramel syrup, or a pump of Torani vanilla syrup. I also make simple syrup from time to time (1 cup sugar & 1 cup water boiled and cooled).

Frozen White Chocolate Mocha

On Thursdays, two of my dearest friends come over for “coffee Thursday.” This drink has been the favorite lately. In a blender, I combine:

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/4 cup cold brew coffee concentrate
  • 8 oz milk
  • 3 tbsp Ghirardelli Chocolate Sweet Ground White Chocolate
  • whipped topping (optional)

After blended, I pour Hershey’s milk chocolate syrup on the sides of the cup, then pour in the blended beverage, then top with whipped topping and drizzle caramel and chocolate syrup on top.

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