Cafe-Quality Coffee at Home: Save Time, Money, & Macros

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a tad bit of a coffee problem. I love it. I’ve always relied on making it at home, but living in Boston, I began to realize how much money the average millennial spent on coffee drinks at cafes, especially Starbucks. Starbucks recently raised its’ prices, so a venti iced latte with an extra shot of espresso, for example, is almost $7. Even a plain large iced coffee with nothing added is over $3. Multiply those numbers by 2, 3, times per week, even more for some, and that’s a LOT of money.

Coffee drinks can not only take a toll on your checking account, but on your nutrition. The average American consumes too much added sugar, and I was somewhat surprised to find that one of the top sources of this added sugar is coffee beverages. Unless made with a flavored roast, all flavored and sweetened coffee drinks are made with syrups. Coffee by itself has virtually no calories, so when you get a coffee drink that has upwards of 200-300 calories, all of those are coming from some kind of dairy, and mostly syrups and powders. Coffee itself isn’t bad for you, and recent research even suggests that it’s beneficial to health, but it’s what’s added that makes all the difference. A nonfat PSL with no whipped cream has a whopping 50 grams of added sugar…that’s 12.5 tsp…

I love my made-at-home coffee; I can make it exactly how I want it, control exactly what goes in, save time, drink more of it (this may or may not be good lol), and save quite a bit of money. I like to think of myself as a bit of an expert, so here are my tips on making the best coffee at home.

The Coffee:

  • Find a roast at the grocery store that you love – experiment. If you’re a diehard Starbucks drinker, buy the Starbucks roasts. If you love Dunkin Donuts, buy their roasts. Trader Joe’s has some really great ones as well. There are so many out there, light roasts, medium, dark, Colombian, Breakfast…have some fun testing them out.

  • If you’re looking to up the caffeine, lighter roasts have more caffeine than darker roasts.

  • Buy the larger bags – you will pay less per oz.

Hot vs. Iced

  • Every morning I like to drink hot brewed coffee. Whatever I don’t drink that morning, I add to my designated iced coffee pitcher in the fridge. I like to drink the iced coffee later in the afternoon if I am starting to hit a wall, drink it for my pre-workout, and use it in my latte protein shakes.

  • Invest $3 to buy a pair of plastic ice molds, and make yourself some iced coffee cubes. Never again will you drink watered down iced coffee. You’ll thank me later.

  • For extra strong iced coffee, make your own cold brew.


  • You have all the control here: non-fat milk, whole milk, half & half, heavy cream – you have the control. Never again will you get your coffee with too much or too little dairy.

  • Most coffee shops now offer non-dairy creamers, but they almost always use ones with added sugars. Again it’s all about control – cut down on the added sugar and grab no sugar added almond, soy, coconut, or cashew milk.


  • Coffee shops most often use syrups that are very high in sugar- like that PSL example above, a MEDIUM coffee has 50g of added sugar. If you sweeten your coffee, actually measure out the sugar; in our house, we keep a ¼ tsp measure in the sugar bowl.

  • There are also so many other sweetener options, and you can customize them to fit in with your nutritional goals: honey, agave, maple syrup, etc. There are so many different kinds of sweeteners on the market. Can’t give up your caramel swirl? Buy some caramel topping at the grocery store and mix it in with your coffee – at least you have complete control as to how much is going in.


  • I love the flavor of coffee on it’s own, but sometimes it’s fun to mix things up. Instead of using artificially flavored syrups, use common spices and ingredients to further customize your coffee:

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

  • Ginger

  • Pumpkin Spice

  • Vanilla extract

  • Almond extract

  • Coconut extract

  • Caramel

  • Chili

  • Cocoa powder

  • Fresh herbs

The options are endless. Take a look at your favorite drinks and flavors, and get creative to re-create those same flavors at home. I promise, it’s not difficult! Even better, real spices have their own health benefits.

Finally, get yourself a good travel mug that you will like using! I have two great insulated ones; one for hot and one for iced, that I use constantly. What are your favorite ways to make coffee at home? Share below!

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