Tasty, cheaper alternative to Starbucks

August 16, 2011

Starbucks has an interesting business model. It’s managed to convince millions of people that the burnt taste of their coffee’s burnt is palatable and that coffee-lovers should pay $5 and up–MORE, even— for an oversized specialty coffee drink made with it.

Twenty years ago a stockbroker said to me “who’s going to pay $3 for coffee?” Now he knows.

With financial markets all atizzy, we’re probably not going to want to be handing Starbucks a fiver every day or two. Or, maybe we are just too addicted to the ‘bux, I don’t know. Every time I think the flailing economy’s going to hit Starbucks, I’m wrong.

What I do know is that it’s way too easy to load up my Starbucks card and spend it. And count me among the millions who do the same.

Is it the convenience of being able to grab a coffee on the go? Or the sweet flavor of the specialty drinks?

If you’re interested in saving money AND having a fix of flavored coffee, I have some good alternatives.

Coffeemate’s line of Natural Bliss creamers. Great name, no? Now, their regular liquid creamer is awful: it tastes like a liquid form of that awful powder they’ve sold for years. But this Natural Bliss stuff is pretty damn good. Probably because it’s made only with milk, cream and that evil but tasty substance: sugar.

Recognizing that women rule the consumer world, Coffeemate had a tasting booth at the BlogHer conference. I fell in love with Sweet Cream flavor. Oh it is gooood stuff. Although Vanilla’s also great.

Not to be outdone, Bailey’s also let us taste their creamer line. Besides the standard line-up of coffee flavors, Baileys also offers a non-alcoholic Irish Creme flavor. Oh, and Creme Brulee is a notably different option.

So if you don’t want to hand over your kids’ college fund to Starbucks, these are great (and lower calorie) hot or cold alternative to Starbucks flavored coffee drinks.

I love to pour left over coffee over ice, throw in a slug of Natural Bliss, stir it up with a straw and gloat that I haven’t just handed Starbucks five bucks.

No, I wasn’t asked to write this, or paid to. But Coffeemate DID give me an entire bottle of their creamer, which we’re putting to good use. And a coupon for another. Trust me, I’ll be off to the grocery with it soon.

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