The Frugal Holiday Barista
One of the things I like most about shopping at warehouse stores like Sam’s Club is that I can get upscale products for less. I also love the element of surprise. You never know what treasures you’ll find lurking on the store shelves! This time of year, Sam’s is a great place to hit for holiday entertaining, and loads of fun for frugal foodies like myself (take a look at my album of Sam’s Club holiday offerings).
Since my kids were very little, my friends and I have enjoyed getting together at each others’ homes instead of going out to expensive coffee places. The advantages are twofold. First off, it’s a lot less costly than trendy coffeehouses. Secondly, the kids have ample space to play and moms don’t have to worry about them bothering customers and tearing the coffee shop apart!
Buy in Bulk to Save
When I was at Sam’s Club last week, I picked up a bag of the Starbucks Holiday Blend Coffee. Not only is bagged Starbucks a lot less expensive than buying it at the coffee shop, buying it in bulk saves even more. I got an entire 28-oz. bag of coffee for just $18.98 (compared to around $10 for a 12-oz. bag at other stores). Even if you like your coffee really strong, this should produce at least 50-75 cups (if not more). At Starbucks coffee shops, $18 will only get you a few of their Venti specialties. I love a Starbucks treat once in a while, but buying your own bagged coffee is a great way to have the coffee shop experience at home for less. These holiday bags are great to buy early in the holiday season, as you’ll have no trouble using it up!
Getting the Best Tasting Coffee at Home
If you’re buying coffee in bulk, you’ll want to make sure you keep it fresh. Once it’s opened, it starts to lose flavor. Make sure you store it in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Avoid putting it in the refrigerator or freezer since those places add moisture and can alter the taste. There are other ways to make the most of at-home coffee making for optimal flavor. Among them:
Our Mommysavers Forum Members shared their tips on how to make the best coffee at home.
- Keep your coffee maker clean. Every couple weeks, run a cycles with vinegar to get the insides cleaned out. Then, run a few cycles with hot water to remove any trace of the vinegar.
- Use “good” water. If you use filtered water for drinking, use that to make your coffee as well.
- Buy decent quality coffee. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive brand, but when you open up the container it should smell heavenly.
- Make your coffee on the strong side. If it’s too strong you can always add a tiny bit of creamer, but if it’s too weak you can’t do anything to make it taste better.
Fun At-Home Coffee Additions
Another element of the coffeehouse atmosphere is the mix-ins. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a wide variety of options for your guests too add to their coffee. Many of these things you may already.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg or other spices (grind it yourself for fun)
- Whipped cream (kiddos and moms alike LOVE the aerosol kind)
- Flavored syrups
- Chocolate shavings
Delicious (Frugal) Pairings
I picked up these cute mini cinnamon rolls to serve with the coffee. Savvy Sam’s Club shoppers know that they can take these treats OUT of their packaging and dress them up on a special serving tray for a homemade feel (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone). Plus, the cinnamon stick is a pretty addition, don’t you think? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a party and asked for a recipe for something, only to find out the hostess got it at Sam’s Club!
When you’re entertaining, it’s good to think about how the things you serve go together. Do their flavors complement each other? The cinnamon rolls were a good pairing with the Starbucks Holiday Blend. It’s a Sumatran coffee with notes of ginger, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and cloves. The cinnamon rolls really bring out the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg flavors in the coffee. The coffee itself was flavorful without being overpowering. Even at a bargain price, it lived up to my Starbucks quality standards. Ah, the sweet smells of the holidays!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric. All opinions are my own.