Although I drink more than 15 cups of coffee a day (and yes, you read that number correctly), I begrudge spending lots of money on it. That’s why I buy a cheap brand of coffee then doctor it so it tastes like a premium brand. Even with a ground coffee that just costs a couple of dollars, you can still make espressos, lattes and cups of brew coffee that taste as good, if not better, than Starbucks. Here’s how.
Water is the Key – The first tip for making cheap coffee taste like a premium brand is to be obsessive about the water you use. Never use tap water, which can be flat and full of sediment. instead, spend a few dollars and buy a cheap water filter (even the ones with charcoal filters in a plastic jug are fine). Then make sure you always use filtered coffee for your coffee machine. The machine will last longer (no clogging of the plastic bits from water sediment) and your cheap coffee will already taste more like a premium brand.
Add a Pinch of Cinnamon – In every pot of coffee I brew or espresso or latte I make, I always add a pinch (or two) of cinnamon powder to the ground coffee before brewing. Even with just a tiny pinch, the cinnamon brings out the flavor of the coffee and makes it seem more robust. Plus at only a dollar or so for a small jar, it’ll last you forever.
Double the Amount of Coffee – If I buy a premium brand coffee, I always seem to use less of it as the taste is so strong. Likewise with cheap coffee, if you double the amount you use, you get a stronger flavor so already it begins to taste like a more premium blend. And, even with the double amount, you’ll still be paying less than half the price of a premium brand. Guaranteed.
Cut Your Cheap Coffee With a Premium Brand – Another way to make your cheap coffee taste delicious is to cut it with a premium brand. By that I mean, when you brew the coffee use 3/4 cheap coffee and 1/4 premium brand. Your premium brand will go four times as far and you’ll still save a ton of money buying the cheap stuff.
Flavored Creamers – Flavored creamers are a wonderful way of making cheap coffee taste like an expensive brand. One of my favorite flavored creamers has a Bailey’s Irish Creme taste, perfect for after dinner. But, I don’t do what the creamer container recommends and use it as a replacement for milk. I add milk or half and half, then top it up with just a little flavored creamer. Enough to give the coffee a hint of flavor, without completely swamping its natural taste. The flavored creamer lasts longer that way too.
Add Vanilla – I love the taste and the smell of vanilla and, mixed with cheap coffee, it’s amazing. After you’ve added the ground coffee to the coffee filter or pressed the coffee into an espresso maker add 1-2 drops of vanilla extract. You’ll find the coffee brews with just the right amount of vanilla flavoring and seems so rich and satisfying compared to a cup of plain, dull coffee.
Christmas Mint Coffee – You know how Starbucks does those amazing Christmas coffees – egg nog, mint etc? Well, I’m not willing to spend $5 for a Christmas coffee so I devised my own.
Mix together 2 teaspoons of sugar and 3 teaspoons of sweetened or unsweetened cocoa mix in a cup, depending on your taste. Set your cheap coffee to brew and, once it’s brewed, pour the brewed coffee over the sugar and cocoa mix and add two drops of mint flavoring. Stir, then top with a little whole milk, half and half or whipped cream. Absolutely delicious and only about 25 cents a cup.