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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Coffee Detox.

Having been at university for six months now, what I've learnt (amongst other things) is that budgeting is really hard. And that I'm no good at it at all. I tend to be very blasé with my spending for the first few weeks after my loan comes in and then blindly panic for the rest of the term. You know something needs to change when it gets to the point where you're too scared to check your bank balance. So when I was reflecting on ways I could save some money here and there, the one thing that jumped to mind was the one I wanted to change the least. My coffee addiction.
To be honest, it's probably a good thing I don't have the disposable income to indulge my habit anymore. Being dependent on caffeine isn't the greatest. It works wonders for waking you up first thing in the morning but that mid-morning crash is lethal... and normally results in me hunting down the nearest café like a madwoman. But there's just something about it, when I have a coffee in hand I feel ready to tackle the day!
When I was at my worst, probably around the time of my Old English exam and I took to revising in my local Starbucks, I would be having a least two of their overpriced coffees a day mixed with my array of tea at home. That's easily around £7 a day, which doesn't sound like much but certainly adds up when you think about. Trying to calculate how much I spend on my coffee habit a year is enough to inspire tears!
To ween myself off the sugary stuff, because Caramel Macchiatos are my go-to coffee of choice, I picked up some substitutes during my last Sainsbury's dash. Because I worked as a Barista in Starbucks for two years when I was studying for A-Levels, I've become a bit of a coffee snob. Okay, a fully-fledged coffee snob. If you ever see me in a Costa then you know that I'm having a bad day. As a result, I normally turn my nose up to instant coffee. After all, it's made with robusta beans which tend to have a very bitter, low quality taste. Espressos made in an authentic coffee stores use Arabica beans are fuller in taste and so much nicer. When you've been indoctrinated to the same extent as me, it's very hard not to notice the difference!
So when I was trailing the coffee and tea aisle, Nescafé's espresso brew which is made with 100% Arabica beans jumped out at me for obvious reasons. I also recognised this brand of syrup from frequent trips to Café Nero with my Mum and indulged in the foolproof Vanilla flavour. I thought having a shot of syrup in my brewed coffee would make me feel like I was having the real thing! So far, so good. It's been a week and I've only bought one 'Tall Skinny Caramel Macchiato'  - and that was in a particularly sleepy interval between lectures. I even Instagrammed it, whoops. It's all about those baby-steps, maybe next term I'll be strong enough to be spend my university days caffeine-sober.
In the meantime, the Nescafé espresso blend is a great substitute. It's smooth and creamy in consistency and almost tricks me into thinking that I've had my Starbucks fix. Who knows, maybe one day it'll be a permanent replacement. It's still early days. I'm getting there and becoming a more frugal student in the process. It's a win-win.

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