Beating the coffee crunch #2: more bang for your buck

9 October 2008

Yesterday we told you about a great deal going down at Starbucks right now. One of our readers, Jonathan, responded by sharing his top five tips for sucking down even more caffeine.

I’ve spent countless hours and thousands of dollars at several different Starbucks establishments in the States over the past year. I drink a lot of coffee. My focus here is to get the most bang (caffeine) for your buck. Here are a few tips vis-a-vis saving money on your favorite espresso drinks.

1. Seek out the establishments with sizable seating and reading accommodations as opposed to smaller and/or busier ones. These locations generally serve more ‘regulars’ than ‘transients.’ This is important because the baristas are actually encouraged to engage their customers via greetings and conversations. If they consider you to be a ‘regular’ then there is the possibility that they will treat you better (more on this below).

2. Befriend the baristas at your regular Starbucks. Be friendly… not creepy. Respond to their attempts to engage you in greetings and conversation. Be polite, be memorable, and learn their names (believe it or not, it’s their job to learn yours)!

3. Get refills. Do not throw your cup away. As I understand it, the general rule is that if you bring your espresso drink cup back up to the counter they’ll knock off about 20 cents from your next drink. If you have already done tip #’s 1 and 2 then you may get lucky and your barista will charge you for a regular coffee (i.e. Americano) refill which is about 50 cents total! And if you are really lucky your barista will do it for free. This is a big deal as the drinks normally cost between 3-5 dollars each! Also, if you say “refill” an inexperienced barista will sometimes hit the refill button and charge you for a regular coffee refill (i.e. 50 cents).

4. Consider ordering a ‘tall.’ At least in the States, Starbucks has recently outfitted most of their establishments with new machines that pull shots of espresso in two’s. A tall normally has one shot. A grande normally has two shots. A venti, three. There’s a little less than a dollar difference between each size. If the place is quiet there is a good chance the barista will ask you if you want a second shot of espresso free of charge because they just have to throw it away otherwise. Simply say ‘yes’ and you have yourself just as much espresso in your drink as you would have had had you bought a larger size.

5. Get a Starbucks card. There are a bunch of savings involved with their card as well. If you drink enough coffee it’s a good idea to buy it with their rewards card.

What do you think?

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