The Starbucks hacks you need to make it through the semester

Because that 10-page James Madison paper ain’t gonna write itself

We’re getting closer to the end of the semester, which means it’s time again for the average Spartan to start consuming unhealthily large quantities of coffee at alarming rates. Starbucks might appear to be the best choice initially for a cup or three, given how many of them we have on campus, but who actually enjoys paying $5 for a subpar energy boost?

Here are some hacks that will help you save a bit more money for this weekend’s festivities, while still delivering that crucial kick of caffeine you need.

Save your booze money – avoid the Wells Hall Starbucks

Hard, I know. While the Starbucks in Wells Hall and the Business College are amazingly convenient, they’re also franchises, which means they’re going to be more expensive. You’re better off going to one of the standalone Starbucks location on Grand River. Cheaper, AND more room to study. Win-win.

Same Americano, less money

Americano’s are a great, no-frills way to get a good burst of caffeine, but it can be a little too pricey considering what it is (literally espresso and hot water).

Here’s how to fix that: order hot water with two shots of espresso, the equivalent of a grande Americano. Ask to leave room so you can add the milk yourself. Voilà.

Hot drinks are the speediest 

No matter the season, iced coffee and cold brews always seems to be on trend. So – if you can bear to when it gets warmer outside – order something hot. There’s a good chance it’ll be ready faster while all the iced drinks are being worked on.

Refills for the win

It’s time to make Starbucks your go-to study place. Not only can you surround yourself with the aroma of delicious brews, but staying at one location can actually make your caffeine intake cheaper – how? Refills!

When you stay at one location and bring your cup back up for a refill, it’s only 50 cents to get another drink. Keep in mind that this will only work for a hot or iced coffee or tea.

Tea hacks

In order to make their tea palatable to all consumers, Starbucks waters down their tea to make it not as strong. This method isn’t ideal for all of the hard core tea drinkers out there, however.

Solution: if you order an iced tea without the extra water, you can customize the strength to your liking. When you order a grande or venti sized tea, you can also mix tea bags to create your own combination and custom flavor.

Smaller size, same caffeine content

This may be news to some, but there is actually a size smaller than a tall: a short, aka the smallest coffee offered at Starbucks. If you need a no-fuss caffeine boost but aren’t down for straight espresso, order a short. It’s cheaper, and you get the same amount of espresso as you would in a tall.

Sip before you commit 

Lastly, if you love coffee so much that you have trouble deciding what to drink: ask for a sample. If a store is slow, a barista will have no problem letting you try some coffee so you can best choose your drink of the day.

With these hacks, we may just be able to survive through the rest of the semester a.) awake and b.) not totally broke. Cheers!

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