David Bach likes to refer to the latte factor — that daily indulgence you can’t resist. For many people, it’s a cup of premium coffee from Starbucks (or a local coffee stand). These people love their coffee, and they’re willing to pay for it. Bach notes that many people think they cannot afford to make investments, but they routinely spend $5/day on a latte (or on comic books or on lunch). That $5/day is roughly $2000/year, which is a nice start on an IRA.

What better way to defeat the latte factor than by learning to brew your own coffee? Here are some ideas to help you drink good coffee for less.

  • Switch from a fancy coffee drink to something simple. Starbucks sells regular coffee, too, and for less than half the price you’re paying for your latte.
  • Better yet: brew your own. If you’re not up for cheap brewed coffee, learn to make your own fancy stuff.
  • Keep your coffee maker clean for best flavor.
  • Roast your own beans. Mary Hunt buys quality green beans online for $4/pound. She roasts them in a popcorn popper! It takes little time to prepare a week’s worth of roasted beans.
  • If you buy or roast your beans in bulk, freeze the extra until you’re ready to grind them. (They’ll keep much longer than in the refrigerator.)
  • Grind your beans when you’re ready to use them. You’ll get more flavor this way.
  • Allow your beans to come to room temperature before grinding and brewing them.
  • Buy a re-usable filter. Though expensive, it will pay for itself in the long run. And the coffee will be better.
  • I have a couple of friends who swear they get the best coffee by grinding fresh beans in a coffee grinder, adding them to a French press, and then pouring in boiling water.

By learning to make your own premium coffee, you’ll develop a skill to impress friends and family while saving money at the same time!

(“You can’t tell people to switch from a latte to regular coffee,” my wife told me when she read this. “That’s like asking them to switch from chocolate cake to bread. The key is to just have chocolate cake less often.”)

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