Friday, March 18, 2016

Frugal Friday: DIY (Starbucks) Latte

We spend a lot of time here on the blog (and in real life) discussing YNAB and developing some frugal habits. In honor of Frugal Friday, I am going to make a confession: I was a Starbucks addict. I will admit that while I didn't buy every day, I did find myself purchasing far too often. Not only was I buying a coffee, but I was strong-armed into purchasing baked goods. My toddler can recognize a Starbucks and knows they have cake-pops, cookies and muffins!

Yes, that's me in my PJs, drinking my coffee

For years, I have been dying to make my own "Starbucks" drinks - with almost no success. They just didn't taste the same. This winter I finally figured out why - and I have perfected the DIY Starbucks latte. This has done wonders for my budget (and decreased the number of times per week I have to fight with my toddler - and that is always a win). A Grande French Vanilla Latte from Starbucks costs a whopping $4.15. I make my own for only $1.20 per latte. This does not take into account that I usually spend less than the national average on milk or that when purchased through a Starbucks in Target, you can use your red card and save 5%.

Espresso Shots

The first problem with the recipes I've tried in the past is that most of them are made with regular coffee. Lattes are made with espresso. This makes a huge difference when you're trying to figure the coffee to milk to syrup ratio. We have a Delonghi Espresso Maker. It is highly rated on Amazon and reasonably priced. The savings pay for it pretty quickly! Once you figure out How to Pull the Perfect Shot with your machine, the ratios are a little easier to get right. The right brand of espresso, and syrup also makes a difference.You can purchase Starbucks brand espresso, and the same syrups they use in store (except white mocha).

mmm Coffee

The Breakdown: $0.40 for Shots + $0.80 for Syrup + $0.36 for milk
  • Espresso: You can purchase a bag of Starbucks brand espresso beans (the same one in your lattes) for $12.95. A 16 oz bag makes approximately 64 shots of espresso at $0.20/shot. It takes 2 shots to make a grande drink.
  • Syrup: Online Starbucks retails the syrup for $12.95 a bottle, but I purchased mine in store for a hair under $10. Some internet sleuthing reveals a pump of syrup is approximately 1 tablespoon. The container of syrup states that a serving size is 2 tablespoons, and there are 33 servings per bottle; for a grand total of 66 tablespoons per bottle.  This boils down to $0.20/pump. It takes 4 pumps to make a grande drink.
  • Milk: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of a gallon of milk at the end of last year was $3.50. This breaks down to approximately $0.03/oz. A grande takes 12 oz of milk. 
The Ratios
  • Tall Latte (12oz) = 1 shot + 3 pumps syrup + ~8oz milk
  • Grande (16oz) = 2 shots + 4 pumps syrup +  ~12oz milk
  • Venti (20oz) = + 3 shots + 5 pumps syrup + ~14oz milk
  • (Milk ratios vary between hot and cold drinks due to foam)
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