11 Ways to Save Money At Starbucks

By Sanah Faroke,

When it comes to coffee, we don’t joke. It’s legit the reason we’re out of bed in the morning. Well, that and work. If you’re part of the 12.36 million households in America who visited a Starbucks at some point in 2018 (before work, probs), you might want to buckle up. Thanks to writer Sanah Faroke and, here are just a few ways to hack the Starbucks system to ensure you get an exceptionally good—and cheaper—cup. 

• Sign up for Starbucks Rewards

Chances are you’ve been gifted a Starbucks gift card at least once. Hold on to it! That card is a door that can lead you to a whole new world. If you register a gift card, you’ll rack up points (a.k.a stars) every time you make a Starbucks purchase with the Rewards program. That goes for food, drink, and merchandise purchases. When you get a certain number of stars, you’ll get free drinks or food.

• Keep an eye out for promos

Sign up for promo emails (don't worry, they’re not annoyingly spammy) or check the Starbucks app. There you’ll find Happy Hour specials (like 50 percent off), extra star rewards based on your purchase, and just good old BOGO offers. So, yes, you can have your cake (pop) and eat it too.

• Bring a reusable cup...and save 10 cents

Every time you bring a reusable cup from home, you’ll save 10 cents on your drink. If you don’t have a reusable one from Starbucks, that's cool too! Bring in whatever you have. If you bring a competitor’s paper cup, though, it’ll be replaced with a Starbucks paper cup...and you’ll still get 10 cents off.

• Get discounted refills

After you’re done with your drink, you can get a refill of brewed coffee or tea for just 50 cents, regardless of what your first drink was. The only thing is you have to stay inside the store to get a refill. Once you leave, you can’t take advantage of the deal.

• Ask for an iced tea with no water

I know this sounds strange, but hear me out. Starbucks' iced tea is made strong, but when it’s time to be served, it's watered down. If you ask for your iced tea with no water, you’re essentially getting more of the tea (and the caffeine that comes along with it).

• Make your own latte at the condiment bar

This is a wakeup call for me, considering my usual drink is an iced latte with sweetener! After much research, I’ve found that if you order a three shots of espresso (hot or iced), you can just add the free milk from the condiment bar to make your own version. There’s whole milk, half and half, and nonfat milk available. Look at you saving money on a drink you practically made yourself.

• Ask for a cup of water

Sure, Starbucks sells bottles of water, but why purchase one when you can get an iced cup of water for free? I rest my case.

• Head to a Starbucks on your birthday

Need another reason to sign up for the Starbucks Rewards program? When your birthday rolls around, you’ll get a birthday gift in the form of a free drink or food item. My favorite is the Birthday Cake Pop, for obvious reasons!

• Purchase a “Short” drink

Although this size is not on the menu you know so well, it exists. The Short is the smallest size at 8 ounces. It’s only available for hot drinks, but you can save a little money since Short is a smaller size. Duh!

• Hold the ice

To avoid not getting as much coffee or tea as humanly possible, ask the barista to hold the ice in your drink. You can also ask for the ice to be put on the side. That way, you can add in as much or as little ice as you want without the risk of watering down your drink.

• Make your coffee or tea at home

Guess what? It’s cheaper to purchase a pound of coffee at a Starbucks store and just brew the coffee it home. That way, you’ll keep a little extra cash in your pocket and won’t lose any of the Starbucks taste. Plus, you’ll be able to earn stars for your purchase. Win, win, win!


A Brit and an American Take on the US Tea Market

Henry Woodd and Amy Vrabel, have launched Brew Tea Co brand teas and accessories in the United States. They operate under Box & String LLC and do business as Brew Tea Company USA. Brew Tea Co works under the mantra “make tea awesome” and is a brand built on the idea that tea doesn’t have to be boring or weird. They are redefining what “good” tea can be - making it more inclusive, demystifying it and raising the bar. Brew Tea Co source and blend some of the best tea - only ever using rolled, whole leaves. All other ingredients are completely natural and free from artificial flavors.

The British tea company found its way to the heartland of America by way of a family visit. Woodd, a British expat, discovered Brew Tea Co while visiting London on a fortuitous grocery run to Waitrose. Its bold packaging among the sea of boring boxes caught his eye, so he thought to give it a try. From the first sip he was hooked, and no tea could measure up. Upon his return to the midwest, he offered his friend, Vrabel, a proper cup, and the rest is history. They made it their mission to bring the British tea stateside. Two friends and a cup of tea. It’s how all good stories start.

“We are thrilled to partner with Harry and Amy to expand our reach to another part of the world,” says Brew Tea Co co-founder, Phil Kirby. “Their success in other projects and exuberance for Brew Tea Co tea make them the perfect team to make tea awesome in the United States.” Woodd and Vrabel’s approach to business is clean and simple. They have found transparency with partners, vendors and tea drinkers makes for lasting relationships. The duo is targeting the millennial market and believes the speciality tea world needs a serious shake-up. They are all about two things: making tea awesome, and keeping it simple. Brew Tea Co USA offer a range of classic blends, sold as proper loose leaf and proper tea bags - all full of tasty rolled, whole leaves and fragrant herbs and spices. To satisfy the habitual drinker, every blend has a subscription option. Drinkers can also subscribe to a tea subscription through The Brewtime Club for their own enjoyment or to send as a gift. They are working with influencers, cafes, restaurants, distributors and grocery to find the perfect outlets for proper tea. Find Brew Tea Co at


Think You Know Almond Milk? Think Again.

The Almond Board of California is partnering with Julie Resnick – founder of the media company Feedfeed and the popular @thefeedfeed Instagram community – to share new ways to use almond milk in a variety of versatile recipes through photos and videos on Instagram. To participate, follow @thefeedfeed and @CaliforniaAlmonds, and share your almond milk recipe by tagging @thefeedfeed and @CaliforniaAlmonds with the hashtag #almondmilkallways.

Almond milk is used most often with smoothies, coffee and cereal, though it's versatility means it can be added to almost any recipe like sauces and soups, and puddings, frozen desserts and more. From savory to sweet foods and baked goods, almond milk provides guilt-free creamy texture and appealing flavor for almost any recipe. Julie will share a series of unique, custom almond milk recipes on Feedfeed's Instagram and website, encouraging the Feedfeed community to create and share their own almond milk recipes as well. One participant will be selected each month to receive a culinary-inspired prize and the chance to have their recipe featured on Feedfeed's Instagram channels.

"I see first-hand the creative recipe content that is shared each day across the Feedfeed community on #feedfeed, and I am so excited to see all of the ways that almond milk will be used over the next year by the Feedfeed Community in new recipes," said Resnick. "Almond milk is a versatile ingredient that so many people already have in their refrigerator, making it readily accessible and easy to cook with. The team at The Feedfeed has had a lot of fun formulating our own almond milk recipes based on what our community is most interested in, which we hope inspires our followers to incorporate it into dishes they already enjoy, like savory skillet casseroles, noodle bowls, and even cookies and pancakes."

Julie Resnick launched @thefeedfeed's Instagram community to provide cooking inspiration, recipes and help connect people she saw creating great content on Instagram and other social media networks. As Julie explained, "We wanted to provide a place that could be a source of inspiration for the average cook, searchable by ingredient, cooking style, or meal type; but which was also a living and breathing community, providing a lens into kitchens around the world, changing with the seasons, and hopefully inspiring people to cook more and to use more local and seasonal products."

Now, with one of the most highly engaged communities on Instagram, Feedfeed's global reach spans over two million followers across its eight  channels, with 1.4 million followers on the main account, @thefeedfeed. Feedfeed also offers sub-channels focused on vegan, gluten-free and chocolate-based recipes, inspiration for baking and cocktail recipes, and a channel dedicated to recipe videos. Additionally, #feedfeed is one of the most widely used hashtags for home cooking on Instagram, having been tagged over 11 million times with nearly 20k posts submitted daily by people around the world.

Almond milk is a low-carbohydrate and low-sugar option, with unsweetened varieties offering as few as 30 calories and zero grams of sugar. With no saturated fat or cholesterol, almond milk is a fit for many diets and dietary restrictions and can be swapped for dairy in recipes for those seeking an alternative.

The Almond Board's partnership with Julie Resnick and @thefeedfeed follows a successful almond milk crowdsourced recipe campaign hosted by California almonds. To view the most popular, winning recipes with almond milk, along with other almond milk recipes for inspiration, visit


Brewing the Best Tea

Tea Association of the USA, the recognized independent authority on tea, shared valuable information for making that perfect cup of tea.  New to tea?  You’ll find this information quite valuable for making sure you get the perfect cup.  This will also serve as a great refresher to tea lovers at all levels.  No matter what kind of tea you like, the most perfect cup of tea is the cup that is shared with a friend.  Make the most of your holidays and make some time for tea with friends.

For Soothing Hot Tea:
The Four Golden Rules for a delicious cup of hot tea: (1) use a teapot, (2) bring fresh, cold tap water to a full boil (Note: If your water is heavily chlorinated or contains other objectionable odors, filter before boiling for best tasting tea); (3) use one teaspoon or one tea bag per cup; (4) pour boiling water over tea and brew by the clock 3 to 5 minutes and serve!

For the best flavor, preheat the teapot with a little hot water prior to use and cover your teapot with a cozy to retain heat during the brewing process.

For Refreshing Iced Tea:
For small quantities, proceed as for hot tea and pour over ice. For large quantities, prepare concentrate as follows:

Bring one quart of cold water to a roiling boil. Remove from heat and add 8-10 teabags per quart of brewed tea as desired. Steep 3-5 minutes and pour over remaining cold water or ice cubes. To serve, pour into tall glasses filled with ice, garnish or sweeten as desired.

Special Guidelines for Green Tea:
When water comes to a boil, remove from the source of heat and allow to sit for ten minutes. Pour this hot water over the Green Tea and allow to brew for approximately one minute and serve. (Note: The brewing times may be shortened or lengthened according to your taste)

Special Guidelines for ‘Big’ Oolongs & white Teas:
The best thing to say when dealing with any tea is – the larger and more delicate looking the leaf, the lower the water temperature. Usually, you will want to use between 180-190 degree water for big oolongs and white teas. Black teas need much hotter water for proper extraction. Boiling water will scorch a bold leaf like white tea.

Time is a little different since oolongs will need to steep a bit longer than white tea – oolongs 5-7 minutes, white tea 3-4 minutes. Of course, all of this may be modified according to your own personal taste. These instructions are only to be used as a starting point.

Everyone should adjust time, temperature and amount of tea up and down until they find their perfect pot.  For more information about the Tea Association of the USA, click here.


Farm-to-Table Coffee Company Launches Online with Beans from Vietnam

Earlier this month, Nguyen Coffee Supply launched a first-of-its-kind, lifestyle-driven e-commerce platform celebrating the diversity and range of the Vietnamese coffee experience. Nguyen Coffee Supply prides itself as the first-ever independent Vietnamese-American-owned importer, supplier, and roaster sourcing green coffee beans from Vietnam, which are roasted fresh in Brooklyn, New York.  

According to Nguyen Coffee Supply representative, Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of robusta coffee beans and second-largest producer of coffee overall. The Boston-born daughter of Vietnamese boat people refugees, award-winning filmmaker, activist, and entrepreneur Sahra Nguyen leveraged family connections to cut out the middleman and source organic green beans first-hand from a fourth-generation coffee farmer, Thien Ton, who owns a 12-hectare farm in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat, a highly-regarded coffee-growing region.

Offering both a 100% single-origin arabica ($20) and arabica-robusta hybrid ($19) in its introductory release, Nguyen Coffee Supply dispels the widely-peddled myth that all coffee beans produced in Vietnam are inferior in quality, and expands the application of Vietnamese beans beyond cà phê sữa, the favorite milk-coffee beverage enjoyed across Vietnam. Of course, those who prefer the strong, bold, nutty profile of that style will also be pleased with Nguyen Coffee Supply’s robusta offerings.

“When people think of ‘Vietnamese coffee,’ they only think of the specificdrink—but there are so many different ways to enjoy the diversity of coffee beans grown in Vietnam,” says founder Sahra Nguyen. “That’s why I wanted to showcase both a Vietnamese-grown arabica bean that can be used in espresso and pour-overs, and the robusta bean, which is darker and stronger, perfect for the everyday drip or traditional Vietnamese cà phê. I believe there’s so much to discover and love about the robusta bean.”

Nguyen sees Nguyen Coffee Supply’s mission as a natural extension of the Third Wave Coffee ethos: introducing fresh-roasted single-origin beans sourced through a fair and transparent process with the drinker in mind. The company’s mission mirrors the Third Wave movement taking place within Vietnam itself, with popular coffee shops like Saigon’s Workshop Café trading traditional “Vietnamese coffee” for a more comprehensive approach to Vietnamese coffee that includes the multitude of styles possible with Vietnam-sourced beans.

“I visit family in Vietnam often, so I grew up with a strong connection to Vietnamese culture, food, and coffee,” says Nguyen. “I’m excited to connect our worlds through this new venture, paying homage to my heritage and last name.”

With Vietnam—one of the world’s poorest countries just ten years ago—expected to boast Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing GDP by 2020, Nguyen hopes to champion Vietnamese farmers, long the backbone of the country’s economy.

In addition to spotlighting the natural bounty of Vietnam, Nguyen Coffee Supply is proud to announce its commitment to healthy communities, both from a social and environmental standpoint. The company will donate a portion of proceeds bi-annually to select organizations advancing Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American causes. The company will also collaborate regularly with artists and craftsmen around the world, representing a global Vietnamese diaspora, to launch special-release merchandise and collectible items.

“My goal with Nguyen Coffee Supply is to champion representation and diversity in the coffee industry, from the people making it to the people drinking it,” says Nguyen. “The brand slogan, For the People’s Grind, reflects our mission to inspire and fuel the universal grind by making specialty coffee that is approachable and accessible to everyone.”


Six Holiday Gifts For Anyone On Your List

All year, the Coffee & Tea Newsletter’s editorial team receives recommendations for products that our readers might love; so there’s no better time, than now, to showcase a few of them for you to consider as holiday purchases. These small but worthy items are great for anyone on your list, especially if he/she loves coffee or tea or both!

For the Iced Beverage Enthusiast
More consumers are preferring their beverages “iced” or “cold” year-round in recent years due to the rise in cold brew and nitro coffee options plus the more ready-to-drink products on shelves. For the gift recipient that loves a cold one, JavaSok should be at the top of your list. The product is similar to a koozie in that it is made of insulating neoprene, but the fabric is shaped into a cup to accommodate a variety of plastic beverage cup sizes from all your favorite places (Starbucks, Dunkin’, etc.). What makes the JavaSok great though? It keeps your hands dry and your drink cold. No longer do you need to worry about wet handshakes, puddles on your table, or drips in your car caused by sweating cups. Plus, the product is machine washable!

There are three sizes to choose from to accommodate a 16-ounce to 32-ounce cup, and many color options. All JavaSoks are $9.99. Currently, there are limited edition JavaSoks for the holiday season and you can save when you stock up with 5 or more!

For the Tree-Hugging Friend On-the-Go
Made in Los Angeles, Tea Drops are helping you enjoy loose leaf tea without the fuss - making tea more accessible to those in a rush. Each tea drop is an organic, pressed tea that dissolves in your cup without a tea bag. Forget worrying to take your tea bag out or find a garbage to dispose of it! Tea drops have 20% less waste than a tea bag and have packaging that is recyclable and compostable making it an eco-friendly option. Plus, the founders of Tea Drops have a mission to build community and connection through tea so with your purchase know that Tea Drops is donating clean water to someone in need. Tea Drops sells gift sets from $12-$45, individual tea packages beginning at $10 or single serves beginning at $2; and 25% off your first order!

For the One Who Likes the Finer Things
Philadelphia-based artist, Naomi Shanzer, is selling digital prints of her beautifully hand-drawn teacups on her Etsy online store, TeacupsandCreatures. Shanzer takes inspiration from a variety of sources such as famed artists, musical instruments, nature, and the body (see here) among other things. Each 8”x8” print is $28. We recommend this for any home wall or office desk but consider including a frame. Your gift recipient will be appreciate it!

For the Tea Cocktail Fan
Tea Hee Hee has launched a new, limited edition holiday blend this year that makes you wonder what was really in Grandma’s cup the fatal night she encountered the reindeer. Grandpa told the kids it was eggnog but in a recent interview the truth came out that it was “Grandma’s Spice” mixed into a cocktail. The Tea Hee Hee chai spice blend, Grandma’s Spice,  is a full bodied tea that is carefully crafted with different herbs and spices to give you a warm and tasty treat during the holiday season. With a black tea base that is then spiced with ingredients such as ginger and cardamom and then ever so slightly sweetened with nutmeg and cinnamon, Grandma’s Spice pairs perfectly with distilled spirits like Jack Daniel’s Fire and Disaronno Amaretto.

One $15.99 tea tin of Grandma’s Spice brews approximately 50-75 cups of tea. In memory of Grandma though, Tea Hee Hee is offering her beloved’ tea for 20% off plus free shipping with the code RIPGMA.

For the Coffee Lover
Fire Dept. Coffee (FDC) is the perfect gift for the one who claims “coffee is their blood type.” With an original, dark or donut shop roast, they have a roast for everyone. The Limited Edition Christmas Blend just hit shelves with rich flavors of dark chocolate-covered cherries and hints of vanilla and spice. For the more adventurous coffee drinker, FDC has a spirit-infused line of coffee that a signature infusion process adds flavors of bourbon, irish whiskey, rum and tequila to their fresh roasts. Rest assured that while you feel bad about indulging, you can feel good knowing that a portion of your portion is donated to charity. A typical 14-ounce bag is priced at $11.99 but if you spend more than $50 and are shipping to the U.S., shipping is free!

For the Record Keeper
33 Books Co. is a one-man publishing operation based in Portland, Oregon, producing journals to help you better appreciate your coffee and tea. Owner, Dave Selden, has designed the 5”x3.5” pocket-sized journals to let people quickly take down the important details of their favorite consumables. In the 33 Cups of Coffee journal, the flavor wheel can be used to quickly recall a coffee’s unique flavor long after consumption. There is also a teeny, tiny amount of real coffee added to the ink in each new edition. Meanwhile, in the 33 Cups of Tea journal there is a similar flavor wheel but it includes 20-spokes since tea has by far the most broad flavor spectrum of any of the books 33 Books produces. Of course, there is also a teeny, tiny amount of real tea added to the ink too!

All 33 Books are made with 100% recycled papers sourced in the Pacific Northwest. The interior pages are 100% post-consumer recycled content and 15% recycled content. Further, the booklets are printed using US-grown soy-based inks in sunny Portland, Oregon. Each journal costs $5 making it the perfect stocking stuffer!

Disclaimer: The Coffee & Tea Newsletter received press releases on some of the items including in this list to properly cover the product but the decision to include them was completely the editorial team.


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