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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

So, you Love Starbucks & other fancy cafes and bistros?

Starbucks...most of us just can't live without their coffees and lattes...well, but some of us can! I am not a coffee drinker, so I do not like coffee regardless of who makes it or where it comes from...but I AM a tea drinker...to the point of obsession! I collect tea like hands collect germs! LOL I LOVE tea, and my super favorite tea is CHAI! For those of you who don't know what chai is, it is an Indian tea (from India). The word "chai" means...simply...tea! Chai consists of cinnamon, cardamom, black tea, honey, and a bunch of other tasty things. The best way for me to enjoy chai is in the form of an iced chai tea latte! Ok, so Starbucks was the first place to introduce me to this tea in iced form, many years ago! I was hooked instantly! I thought the only place I could this tea was Starbucks, so every chance I got, I made a trip to Starbucks to get a Venti sized Iced Chai Tea Latte with whip and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Grand total each trip= a little less than $4. When you stop and think about it, that is A LOT for just one drink! When you calculate a nearly daily drive to Starbucks (the gas costs) plus the cost of one nearly every day at $4 x about 5-7 days a week, that is nearly $40-$50 a week just for a drink!!! Not to mention all the calories!
Well, one day, I started looking up chai tea lattes online to see if I could learn how to make them, and when I did a Google search of Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Latte recipe, the only thing that kept coming up was "Tazo Chai Tea concentrate". I had always been a big time user of the chai tea latte packs made by Oregon Trail, but I never knew Tazo made Chai tea also. I struck gold! I found out the secret to Starbucks chai tea lattes! It is nothing more than Tazo Chai Tea concentrate! So, on my next shopping trip to Wal-Mart, I looked in the tea aisle and low and behold, they had it! I couldn't believe my eyes...one box of chai tea concentrate was only $3.84! So, you mean to tell me, I can buy this box of concentrate for less than one cup of Starbucks iced chai tea latte! NO way! All I had to do was add milk, whip and cinnamon, and I was able to make my OWN Starbucks drinks right at home!
So, let's compare prices here:
1 box of concentrate= $3.84
**Each box makes approx. 4-5 20 oz glasses**
1 container of lactose-free milk (since that is all I can drink)= $3.50
1 container of spray whip cream= $2.00
1 container of cinnamon powder= $2.00
Grand total= about $12 or less...and that is for 4-5 Venti sized glasses at home!
So, if I bought 5 Venti sized glasses at Starbucks that would total about $20-something.
Therefore, making my own at home, which only takes MAYBE 5 mins. total, I'm saving about $8 or so on just the ingredients, and not to mention the amount of gas I'm saving by doing it at home.
I once asked a friend who swore she couldn't live without Starbucks, "Why not just make it at home? You can buy the chai tea at Wal-Mart, and you can buy almost every coffee Starbucks offers, at Wal-Mart or Target for usually less than $5 or $6 a bag?" Her response..."Well, it's so much more convenient to just buy it from them." Ok, it takes the average person about 5 or 10 mins. to brew coffee at home, and it takes me no more than 5 mins. to make the chai tea latte at home, so how is that more convenient? When you go to Starbucks, you are usually stuck waiting in line LONGER than that! The average wait time I've waited in a Starbucks was about 10-15 mins., and that includes line time and then the time it takes them to make my item. So, not only are you saving TIME making your own....but you are also saving MONEY!
Lesson learned....
Convenience NEVER saves money!