Cutting Corners and Making My Own Caffeine Drinks

Coffee and tea

Here’s a revelation for you folks reading this: I pay for my own food. In my last three plus years of doing the professional food writing gig, I’ve spoken to a few dozen people who do the same thing as I do and discovered that whatever they eat out for work, it comes out of their own pocket. Shocker, right?

In doing filing taxes this year, my total food costs in relation to my job was approximately one month of pay. Don’t even get me started on tips — a item that is also tax deductible — I like to tip well and often. No need to make someone else suffer.

This has nothing to do with a “boo hoo is me” theme. It’s quite the opposite. I’m not going hungry and thankfully have a spouse who is able to pick up part of the mortgage. And while I would like to eventually upgrade both our cars or just get my radiator replaced so I can drive without fear of breaking down, we live modestly in our townhome with our sole dog child.

On the other hand, we try to cut corners whenever possible. Vacations usually revolve around business (again, so we can write it off) and I don’t eat at extravagant restaurants unless I can write about it. The biggest money drain is drinks— specifically coffee. There’s no denying I love my cold brew but it adds up quick. But I’ve found few ways to still get my caffeine fix without handing over a few dollars for every serving.

My favorite is Vietnamese coffee — a super-charge caffeine jolt that moves me from “nap time” to “you better get your ass moving so you can churn out stories” mode. Usually priced around $4-5, it’s waaaaay cheaper to buy a filter and make it at home.

Buy some Cafe Du Mode (usually around $4) and condensed milk and you’re set for more than a dozen servings. Now that’s a fantastic deal!

Matcha Green Tea

Another favorite is green tea matcha. In doing last year’s taxes, I spent nearly $200 on coffee at 85º Bakery on their salted mountain green tea. Yikes! If you spend a little time at Trader Joe’s, look for their Matcha Green Tea Latte. It runs about $3 per a container and makes about 8 servings. Meant to be hot, the tea can easily be transformed into a refreshing iced beverage.

That’s my rant. Now who wants to meet me for coffee?

2 thoughts on “Cutting Corners and Making My Own Caffeine Drinks

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    1. I put 2 Tablespoons of coffee in the filter (3 if I really need some energy) and fill it hot water to the top. Condensed milk is to your taste. I’m about a one Tablespoon girl but I go heavy for my husband since he likes his drinks sweet. The rest is filled with ice!

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