Want to buy the cheapest cup of coffee in the United States? Read below..

Coffee has been a trademark of the United States since, prior to the Revolutionary war in the 1700’s. It’s addictive substance, roasty taste and velvety texture has spawned chic coffee shops for, maybe, twenty or thirty years. Ever since Starbucks inception, it’s hard not to find a D.C yuppie, hipster, bro or DMV-metro sexual without their cup of joe at the crack of rush hour.

I can’t even bare a day sans my usual morning brew. On the contrary, a semi-recent jolt in coffee prices due to an increasing demand (globalization, poor growing conditions, intense demand from commodities markets) for these yummy coffee beans has spiked prices for  growers, retailers and to us consumers.

 One would think that this increasing spike would decrease coffee demand but, alas,  that’s not really the case.

Brands like Starbucks and Carribou coffee market their brand to  upper middle to rich class consumers–kinda obvious since coffee sizes range from grande (spanish) and venti ( Italian) and because barristas concoct blends like mocha frappaccinnos with extra foam plus coconut sprinkles.

After Starbucks and its’ competitors like Carribou started popping across the nation, other chains wanted to get in on the action. McDonalds, 7-eleven, Dunking Donuts, and a slew of other companies have exploded this coffee war. Because of this explosion, a threshold was open to middle and working class demographics to get into haute-coffee thanks to these aforementioned fast food chains.

Given the nasty downfall of this recession on millions of people — poverty rate has increased to 46 million, not including people on welfare– consumers ranging from working to even upper class want cheaper coffee in the mornings.

 Though coffee prices may have hit a permanent jolt, it doesn’t meant that demand isn’t transparent. It’s there but more consumers are frugal with their day-to-day purchases.

Now the big question to ask is where do you buy the cheapest cup of coffee in the United States? If you are a penny-pinching consumer and have been  wary about what kind of morning coffee to invest in then this is the right article for you.

On the other hand, if this recession has given you a surplus of cash for you to expend on frivolous commodities and you never buy anything less than a venti at Starbucks, than this article may not be the right read for you.

 If this is the case, please check out my past entries on ginger seals and The Golden Girls. I hope these entries gives you a good chuckle in the morning, after you take that long nice sip of that super foamy chai latte spiced with enough nutmeg for your pleasure.

Cheap Coffee Rank

1.) Panera– For $1.60 you can get a small cup of light roast, hazelnut, normal or dark roasted coffee. Though I stop by there sometimes–they make the best cinnamon crunch bagel–I don’t recommend buying coffee from here. It’s overpriced in comparison to its competition.

2.) Starbucks—  You would think that spending $1.50-1.60 on a tall pike roast is a great deal but really, you are short changing yourself.  If you like coffee that gives you a burnt aftertaste and sucks up to 50-60 cents from your daily budget, then by all means, just buy Starbucks brand coffee. Yet, if you want to save more than half a dollar and drink better tasting coffee, just drive away from Starbucks and go somewhere else.

3.) Caribou Coffee—  I am a huge fan of Caribou coffee. Nonetheless, a small cup of coffee ranges between $1.40-1.70 in the D.C/Maryland and Virginia area. This brand definites haute-cafe drinks since most drinks superbly blend chocolate, caramel and white chocolate coffee liquors into something only angels would drink up in heaven. As much as I love this brand, I don’t recommend it for severe penny-pinchers. In contrast, if you are a semi- cheap-skate and can splurge a few extra cents than this brand is a great morning investment.

4.)7-Elevan— BLAH! Seven-Eleven has nasty coffee. Though the price range for small is $1.30-$1.60 and is deemed frugal-worthy, it’s more water than coffee. The only perk with going there is that you can add different syrups: hazelnut, amaretto, irish cream, vanilla, etc; and try different blends: vanilla, bold, decaf, columbian, etc. I rather waste $1.50 on Starbucks then scale back and spend $1.30 on this murky blend of yuck.

5.) Dunkin Donuts— Jackpot!  For only 99 cents (yeah, tax may surge the price) you get a small cup of coffee to complement the hustle and bustle of your busy morning. One caveat with this though is that they serve their small coffee in tiny cups. Darn! I highly recommend this coffee since Dunkin Donuts uses high quality coffee beans, consistently brews different blends, and customizes your coffee: for free. Yet, if you can’t live with just drinking a few drops of  Dunkin Donuts coffee in the morning then you may need to traverse over to another brand.

6.) Burger King—Eh! You get a decent amount of coffee for 99 cents but it’s not freshly brewed. It also sometimes tastes like metal. I mean, if you are a fan of Seattles Best coffee than visit Burger King. If not, scroll down a bit farther to read up on the best morning coffee investment you can get…

7.) McDonalds—BEST MORNING COFFEE DEAL! For only 99 cents, you get a decent cup of coffee that tastes finely roasted, smooth and strong enough to jolt you into having a productive day at work. McDonalds has definitely spearheaded the coffee wars and has been usurping its competition, including Starbucks, with having the best tasting coffee around. There have been coffee tastings decked across the country and more consumers have preferred McDonalds coffee for its taste, size and quantity. Www.Sherryndaniel.com chooses McDonalds coffee as being the best deal you can get.

Do you disagree with this post? Or, do you know of a better place to buy a good cup of joe? Please comment below and tell me why you feel that way 🙂


  1. I definitely agree with buying Dunkin Donuts coffee! BUT…I’ve sort of built an alliance with Starbucks. If you put money on one of their gift cards, you get free refills. Refills come with either the hot/iced coffee or hot/iced tea. 🙂

    1. Ooooo!! Refills sounds good!! It’s so easy to build an alliance with Starbucks since you can get free refills, any kind of syrup you want ( free of charge) and free breve on your coffee ( once you become a gold card member). I’m glad your pointing this out :)!!

  2. The cheapest (and still awesome) cup of coffee is in your kitchen, IMO.

    One Cuisinart coffee maker with water filter for optimum taste: $120 (divide this over a 9-month payback period, $13.00/month)
    One reusable filter: $5.00
    Creamer/syrup: $12.00/month
    Travel Mug: $10.00-20.00
    Huge tub of Maxwell House or Folgers coffee (yields about 90 12-oz. cups): $10.00, or 11¢ per “cup”
    1-lb bag gourmet coffee (yields about 30 12-oz cups): $8.00, or 27¢ per “cup”

    In my house, we average 90 12-oz cups per month. With MH or Folgers coffee, and leaving out the one-time, small costs of the reusable filter and travel mug, we pay:

    $13 (coffee maker) $12 (creamer) $10 (coffee) = $35
    $35 / 90 “cups” = 39¢ per “cup”
    In future months, since I’m now considering the coffee maker cost to be fully recovered, my costs will be $10 coffee and $12 creamer, or 24¢ per “cup”.

    With gourmet coffee:
    $13 (coffee maker) $12 (creamer) $24 (3 1-lb bags coffee) = $49
    $49 / 90 = 54¢ per “cup”
    In future months (cost of coffee maker recovered), the cost is $24 coffee and $12 creamer, or 40¢ per “cup”.

    Comparing my highest costs (with cost of coffee maker included) with those of Dunkin Donuts, I’m saving $40/month ($486/year) if I use gourmet coffee, and $54/month ($648/year) with Maxwell House, Folgers, or a similarly-priced brand.

    Obviously, your mileage may vary – but most circumstantial changes will not significantly increase the cost per cup. And think of all the paper (cups) and plastic (lids) you would save, if you’re not already using your own travel mug (and if you’re not, please start, even if you don’t brew your own coffee – that’s at least 30 cups a month (if you buy a cup daily) or 360 cups a year that won’t end up in a landfill)!

    I’ll step off my soapbox now – just want to make sure that all frugal coffee options are covered! 🙂

    1. That;s a great viewpoint Steff! I hope you send this article to all of your friends and family so they can also comment their on views as well :)!! Please come back again, we look forward to more of your insightful views 🙂

  3. There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  4. Agree that McDonalds has a good deal on coffee, especially if you are there eating or working.
    My other favorite is QuikTrip convenience store (they are mainly in the Midwest). They have practically a wall of specialized Cappuccino makers that do a whole array of specialty flavors.
    I make a blend of about five of my favorites, and it’s absolutely delicious. Better than anything I’ve had for three times the price at Starbucks.
    24 oz for $1.59; if you bring in your own cup or an old one of theirs from the day before: $1.19

  5. I brew my own expresso each morning and have tried each of the establishments you mentioned in your article. McDonald’s comes in #1 for value but just under 7-Eleven in taste. I thought maybe it was just my area but no I’ve been trying a cup everywhere I go and still pretty nasty tasting. Just saying.

    1. I don’t know where the “just saying” trend came in? Was it 2012 or 2013? It’s getting convoluted and trite due to its overuse, but I am not trying to offend. Thanks for addressing your own feelings about coffee.Taste is subjective. Lol, just saying 🙂

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