• Monch Weller

[5] On Having High Class Coffee on a Limited Budget

Updated: May 23

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: I first wrote this piece around 2009 and posted this in my Multiply page back when I was a college sophomore. This piece's original title was "The Monching's Guide to Maximizing P200 at Starbucks" -- the title's first three words contributing to the blog's name. Aside from occasional revisions, I submitted this piece in some creative writing subjects I took. Fortunately, I managed to recover this essay before Multiply closed down in 2012.)

With a rather limited allowance as a student, I thought this piece out as a way to maximize my visit to signature coffee shops. Looking at this one 11 years on, I'm now in a position to enjoy any Starbucks specialty - but of course, there are more prudent things to do with your hard-earned money.)

High-class coffee shops are an ubiquitous sight nowadays, with Starbucks topping the list. However, let's face it: it's not the caffeine content that keeps you awake, but the price! Imagine shelling out more than P100 for an espresso served in a small cup! Enjoying a trip to Starbucks with a budget of P250 looks impossible; the hot coffees there cost about P150 to P160, more so for the frappes. The baked treats go well with the coffee, but you won't be able to buy them since you're short on cash.

Good thing I discovered how to maximize a limited budget for a single Starbucks trip! I used gift certificates worth P200 when I first tried this out. A few caveats, however. If you're not a fan of hot beverages, this might not be your cup of tea. Prices of items in Starbucks have increased since then due to inflation, so the amounts might not be accurate as of this typing. On a side note, this work any hot drink. I jest you not!

Order any drink -- hot chocolate, tea, or coffee -- in venti size. Starbucks provides cup liners so you can hold your beverage, but still - be careful when handling your drink. After which, head over to the condiment bar. The area has cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, and vanilla powders, alongside white and brown sugar, that you can add to your cup. Keep the sugar content low, however; you don't want to end up with diabetes.

When your venti cup contains three-quarters of your drink, return to the condiment bar and top it up with cold water. Stir it afterwards, and enjoy until only half remains.

At this point, approach the barista and ask for milk; skim or full cream will do. This will bring your beverage to full. Some Starbucks branches have milk in thermos pots that allow you to get as much as you want, but be careful not to abuse this privilege. Stir the beverage once more and enjoy this rich, milky batch for a little longer.

Finally, when only a quarter of your drink remains - add either water or milk (depending on your preference) until it reaches half. Stir to dissolve the sediments underneath, and enjoy this last one.

Summing it up, I would have had a total of two venti cups because of the refills despite only paying for one. I still have some money left over from ordering the venti drink, so I then order some of their food items. Starbucks now offers both sweet and savory accompaniments to your coffee so this isn't much of a problem. I ordered two regular donuts there when I first tried this out, which set me back around P90 (one donut costs P45.)

It was worth the experience, seeing that one can enjoy Starbucks (commonly reserved for the upper class) without shelling out a lot.

Until the next post.