Bang for Your Buck Coffee Orders


Caffeine is a somewhat crucial part of many of our diets, and can be a savior from moody mornings.  As college students and summertime working professionals we tend to just stop anywhere for coffee on our way to work, rarely taking the time to analyze whether or not your Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte is really worth $4.40. I don’t know about you, but if I’m gonna spend that much, I want to at least know I’m getting the best value around. So: I selected a range of options, and compared and contrasted each café based on the quality, price, range and customizability. It is then up to you to decide which criteria you value most. Ready? Go.

Starbucks. Let’s tackle the big guns first. Starbucks ranks first in terms of quality, range and customizability, and last in terms of price. They offer a wide range of good quality products including Tazo Teas and coffee which is produced by strict guidelines (Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices), which ensures quality for both the consumer and the planet. They also allow us to choose our milk type (whole, non-fat, soy), whip or no whip, iced or hot, sweetness (pumps or classic), etc.

Tazo Teas ($1.85)
Iced Coffee with milk ($2.35-3.30)
Lattes ($3.70-4.70)
Frappuccinos ($3.95-5.10)

McDonald’s. The new McCafé outposts have unexpectedly tasty coffee. They score high for their cheap pricing, and average in terms of quality, range and customizability. Their coffee is quite good and they offer Higgins and Burke teas. Be aware that their flavored drinks tend to be over-sweetened. Nonetheless, they offer a variety of flavored lattes, mochas and cappuccinos which come iced or hot with whole or non-fat milk. In comparison to Starbucks, McCafé is considerably cheaper–but there is definitely less variation, and quality suffers a bit. However, if you fancy chicken Mcnuggets, chicken snack wrap or even a yogurt parfait along with your morning beverage, McCafémay be your one-stop shop.

Lattes, Cappuccinos, and Mochas: (S:$2.29; M:$2.79; L: $3.19)

Dunkin’ Donuts. DD is is up next–the grandfather of coffee on-the-go.  Dunkin’ gets top marks for their affordability, and mid-high in terms of range. However, with respect to quality, they rank low. Their coffee tastes sub-par and their flavoring is overly synthetic. Hot tea tastes like hot water and their hot chocolate tastes like it’s from a ski-cabin machine. Furthermore, their specialty coffees such as the Dunkaccino (hot chocolate and cappuccino) and Vanilla Chai cannot be ordered non-fat and taste unnaturally sweet, especially in the morning. However, if a classic coffee and donut combo is what you so desire, Dunkin’ Donuts is the place to be. On a side note, Dunkin’ Donuts’ bagel and cream cheese trumps Starbucks’ any day. My favorite is their cinnamon raisin bagel with plain cream cheese.

Coffee (iced or hot) – $1.29-1.89
Latte and cappuccino -$2.19-2.69
Dunkacinno $1.34-1.67

Local. For the environmentally friendly among us who prefer eating at and supporting local businesses, there are numerous small coffee shops popping up near college campuses across the country. Brown University is home to Blue State Coffee, which unquestionably wins in terms of quality of their coffee and tea. You can order loose leaf tea, freshly ground coffee and even freshly baked slices of raisin walnut toast with butter. Their grilled cheese sandwiches are fantastic, especially on olive bread, and their prices are reasonable (slightly less than Starbucks). The problem is these local coffee shops tend to be less conveniently located.

Armed with the knowledge of who offers the highest quality of your preferred drink for the most reasonable price, the decision is yours.

Originally posted on Monday, June 13th, 2011

12 Responses to “Bang for Your Buck Coffee Orders”

  1. Nicolette Flemming

    June 14th, 2011

    Couldn’t agree more…The price is right at McDonald’s but their flavoured drinks are overly sweetened. It’s like drinking cotton candy.

    I like the quality of Starbucks…their Tazo AWAKE tea is the best traditional black tea you can get…other than what they brew up across the pond.

  2. Lisa Lucas

    June 14th, 2011

    Breakfast at Blue State Coffee is perfect…raisin walnut toast with loose leaf English Breakfast tea is my favorite.

  3. Back to the coffee shop | lorakathleen

    June 22nd, 2011

    [...] (Image via smallkitchencollege) [...]

  4. educationinformationonline.com » Blog Archive » Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Hangover Cures From Around The World

    July 6th, 2011

    [...] get hangovers. After a night of wine and good food, the Italians and Spaniards wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee or espresso. It’s a wonder they aren’t dangerously [...]

  5. Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Hangover Cures From Around The World | eduJunction

    July 6th, 2011

    [...] get hangovers. After a night of wine and good food, the Italians and Spaniards wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee or espresso. It’s a wonder they aren’t dangerously [...]

  6. COFFEE | Cars Parts & Accessories

    July 27th, 2011

    [...] coffee college.biggirlssmallkitchen.com [...]

  7. Hautelinks: Week of 7/28/11 – College Fashion

    July 28th, 2011

    [...] Two Brits Explore Wal-Mart for the First Time. If you want to save money on your coffee habit, order one of these drinks at your favorite chain.AKPC_IDS += "56758,"; TweetPosted on on July 28, 2011 / Filed Under: Hot [...]

  8. Clarissa

    July 28th, 2011

    At starbucks Americans and Double Shots on ice are also pretty cheap and easy to customize and basically everything we love about starbucks.
    with these your looking at anywhere from 2-5 shots of espresso depending on the size of the drink, the double shots include flavor too so they’re worth the cost

  9. Small Kitchen College: Top 11 Must-Have Items For a First Kitchen | eduJunction

    August 31st, 2011

    [...] Measuring Cups and Spoons. T.S. Eliot famously wrote to measure your life out with coffee spoons. And when it comes to baking, the type of measuring utensil matters. For those late-night [...]

  10. Back to the coffee shop - lora | kathleen

    July 16th, 2012

    [...] via smallkitchencollege) If you enjoyed this post, consider reading:? August Financial [...]

  11. Test : Onyx Cookware

    November 24th, 2012

    [...] Measuring Cups and Spoons. T.S. Eliot famously wrote to measure your life out with coffee spoons. And when it comes to baking, the type of measuring utensil matters. For those late-night [...]

  12. Today is a Good Day ~~ Ten Things of Thankful #40 | To Breathe is to Write

    March 22nd, 2014

    [...] 3. Coffee – Oh my, coffee is to me like a brown elixir of heaven.  Really. It smells divine and tastes even better. It gets me going in the morning and winds me down at night. If anyone ever makes a perfume that smells like the finest coffee, I will buy it, wear it and fall in love with myself. Ha-ha! source [...]

Leave a Reply