Every week, I do a little mini-forum in the Ringgit Oh Ringgit FB page. Recently, I asked what people do to save money on coffee.
The answers blew me away – you people really love your coffee huh? Some of the answers were so creative and informative, I had to compile them here! Here’s what Malaysians do to save money on that cup of joe, divided into two sections, free and reduced-cost.
Enjoy free-flow coffee from work
Quite a few respondents are lucky enough to have free flow coffee at their workplace. It ranges from instant coffee, to those Nescafe machines, to nice espressos.
Genius tip: One person brings a thermos to work to bring home free coffee!
Get coffee as gifts
This answer from Suyin cracks me up lol
Suyin: Tell as many contacts as possible that you love coffee, and get them as gifts when people come in for visits, meetings, and programmes. Recently my colleague from Washington DC came (to Malaysia) and guess who got a nice bag of Ethiopian coffee from California!
Swipe from hotels
You already paid for those coffee packets in the hotel rooms you booked, so why not?
Get friend to belanja
(I do not endorse this method lol)
Reuse ground coffee from cafes
EDIT: Please consume at own risk!
Mohd Yusri Sanusi: Go to Starbucks and ask for used ground coffee. They will hand it out to you for free. Brew it again over and over – it will save you some money.
Content with cheaper options
Many of you save money on coffee by:
- Drinking instant coffee and 2-in-1 / 3-in-1 coffee mixes
- Diluting/stretching it out with water/milk/Milo/tea/etc
- Buying from fast food and convenience store options like McDonald’s and Family Mart
- Buying from the mamak (see one of the creative replies below!)
Vincent Muthu: Buy one kopi o kao kosong (about RM2 for one takeaway bungkus) from the mamak, split it to 3 cups, keep it in the fridge and ration it through the day. I would dilute it with water then add sugar and / or creamer. If I want it hot, I’d microwave it. If I don’t finish these 3 cups in one day, I drink them the next day as kopi ais.
Make use of deals
Some deals you are using:
- Bank card-related deals
- Seasonal or promotional buy-one-free-one offers
- E-wallet discounts (I know Boost and GrabRewards got – See reviews of ewallets here)
Regularly look out for coffee deals? What did I miss? Let us know in the comments!
Investing in a home coffee setup
Alright, time to take it up a notch. This is for those of you who take your coffee a bit more… seriously.
Love the responses here – coffee enthusiasts really can be quite technical with the beans and the filter and the grinding style, and have invested in equipment and tools to make nicer coffees at home.
Here are some of the replies:
Hwa Shi-Hsia: The freshly roasted beans from local coffee shops are quite reasonably priced. I just use the cup thingy from a normal blender to grind my beans.
Coffee aficionados say you must use a burr grinder but they’re so expensive and I think for 99.9% of us, we can’t tell the difference between different grinders. But there is a noticeable difference between recently-roasted and freshly-ground coffee versus old ground coffee, so for me that’s as canggih as I want to get.
To extract the coffee, I use my old Aeropress which looks ugly but have lasted for so many years already. I bought it in Singapore some years ago for a quite ridiculous price. Tip: Ask people to bring back from the US – only $25.
Khor Hui Min: I have a simple coffee machine at home (got it as a present) and a French press. I buy coffee beans and grind them – the dark roast from Ikea is nice (about RM16/pack). I also buy ground coffee from Kluang Station (around RM8 for 200g).
Peachcaffeine: I have an Aeropress, bought for AUD45 while travelling in Melbourne. I get roasted beans and hand grind it whenever I want to drink coffee. This way, the coffee bean can be kept longer (than ground coffee), and it’s a good arm workout lol.
I buy a bag of roasted beans for RM50/250g and it costs me around RM2.50 per cup (using the Aeropress’ scoop), which would normally cost >RM10 at a cafe. I also use a metal filter instead of paper filters. It’s more sustainable and cost-effective too.
Navin Anand: For proper coffee, brew it yourself. Starbucks and other brands are grossly overpriced. My initial coffee setup cost is about RM500 for the grinder, dripper and filters, plus an hour a day on coffee education. My equipment:
- Grinder: Delonghi KG89
- Dripper: Hario V60
- Filter: Unbleached Hario filters
I got the Delonghi grinder during a sale at Harvey Norman. Cost me about RM290 instead of RM400. I get the rest of the supplies including the beans from Bean Shipper. The KG89 or any burr type grinder is preferable. Delonghi has two types of grinders: one is a blade and the other is a burr type.
Burr is preferred as it gives a more consistent ground size which affects the brew quality. Burrs grind the beans while blades simply chop them up. There is one inherent flaw in the KG89. The plastic materials used are not static resistant. Finer coffee particles tend to get charged and stick to the container but it’s not a big issue.
For consistency of brew, you’ll need a scale and a gooseneck kettle as well but it’s not absolutely necessary.
For kopitiam-style coffee, I particularly love Kopi 434 from Muar. It is quite steep but worth every cent if you love coffee. It’s a whole new world to explore.
Chinita Linda: I got a basic Phillips compact coffee maker from the used goods group on Facebook for only RM50 (it was new and unused as it was a lucky draw prize). The unbleached coffee filters come from Daiso – RM5.57 for a pack of around 80.
For ground coffee, I get them from Tesco premium, IKEA, Muar 434 or even local shops in kampung that roast and grind their own blend for kopitiams. There are a few in Malacca’s Old Quarters.
David Wang: Buy a drip coffee machine. These cost about RM100 at the electrical department in Aeon or Parkson, are super simple to operate and brew a great pot every time, no barista skills required. Put in a coffee filter, the ground coffee, fill up the water and turn the machine. You’ll have a delicious pot of coffee in 5 minutes.
For ground coffee, you could buy Lavazza, Illy or even Starbucks coffee beans, but I’ve found that the RM15 ground coffee from Tesco and IKEA are really tasty too.
Tip: coffee is usually sold in half pound bags (227 g). Don’t buy more than you can consume – larger batches might go stale before you can finish it.
Dhurkesh: I usually buy my coffee beans from BeanShipper. You can request them to grind the beans to your preferred choice (french press, espresso, etc). If you’re buying whole beans, there’s a free coffee grinder service in IKEA.
I like BeanShipper’s coffee subscription service – they send you small amounts of different blends every month. Pricing is also cheaper than buying it from a cafe.
Samuel Jin: I buy roasted beans, hand grind and use pour over a filter to get best-value fresh coffee. I usually ask my friends who go abroad to buy for me. I have tried beans from Bangkok, Hanoi, Bali and even East Malaysia. I prefer medium roast beans for the flavour, and it goes well with hand-pour brewing method. For the equipment, I got Hario ones.
Katherine D’Cruz: I am a coffee addict. This is my coffee machine, the model is called Breville BES870 Barista Express Espresso Coffee Machine Coffee Maker. We bought it for RM2999 in 2016.
It has saved me so much money! I would spend RM40 per day on average for 3-4 cups of coffee outside, or RM150-200 per week, but since making coffee and working from home, my average spending is about RM142 per month, including the cost of milk. Much cheaper than RM600-800 per month previously!
I buy my coffee beans online from Lazada for RM90/kg.
What else do you do to save money on coffee?
My personal coffee approach is simple – instant coffee at home, fancy coffee only as a treat (with or without discount).
What else do you do to save money on coffee? If you’re a coffee enthusiast, what’s your setup like, and how much did you pay for it? Where can we get affordably-priced coffee beans/grounds, tools and equipment? Share with us in the comments!
P/s – don’t be that joker who says things like, ‘save money, don’t drink coffee’ please