Coffee prices got you down? Where to find a cheap cup of joe in South Florida

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We know it’s become expensive, but there’s no stopping us: We must have our daily joe.

It’s part of the morning ritual. Get dressed, load the car, head to Starbucks. But now there’s an additional rite: Cringe at the price.

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Starbucks has raised its prices at least three times since October, blaming inflation, supply-chain issues and labor costs. Further increases are possible in the coming year, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said during an earnings call earlier this year.

Starbucks lattes, frappuccinos and Skinny Peppermint Mochas are mostly in the $4 to $5 range. When you add in special items such as syrups (80 cents) and oat milk (70 cents), our daily addiction transforms from pleasure to torment.

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There are alternatives if you’re willing to forego some perks, such as drive-through windows, designer labels and extra-large cups. And if you modify your cravings for sweetness and frothiness, there are many coffee opportunities in South Florida for $3 or less.

You won’t bask in the status of carrying around a Starbucks to-go container, but you will get your caffeine fix and allow your wallet to thicken once again.

They’re not the most glamorous places to get coffee, but South Florida’s gas stations have consistently low prices.

Cumberland Farms stations have had 99-cent coffee for the past 14 years (Who knew?). This applies to hot and cold brews. Other stations are a bit higher but still a good deal: At locations in Broward and Palm Beach counties, I found a cup for $1.70 at Shell, $1.98 at Wawa and $2.13 at Mobil.

ThePennyHoarder.com, a personal finance website, rated gas station coffees in Central Florida in 2020 and ranked Wawa No. 1, saying its coffees are “flavorful and fresh and accompanied by a veritable smorgasbord of cream and flavor options.” Exxon and Mobil rated at the bottom. Needless to say, taste is subjective, and franchise owners at different locations may offer different brews.

Starbucks’ cheapest offering is its Tall Freshly Brewed Coffee for $1.85 (Does anyone actually order a plain hot coffee at Starbucks?). Dunkin’ charges $1.99, 7-Eleven $2.02 and McDonald’s $2.19 for the smallest cup.

Supermarkets are a good place to find inexpensive, freshly brewed coffee. Some have cafes for sitting and sipping, or you can carry it with you as you shop. Publix charges $1.49 for freshly brewed, while Bravo Supermarket, which has stores throughout Broward County and two in Palm Beach County’s Lake Worth, offers a medium latte for $2.50.

Here are two small spots with super-low prices: Top Market & Deli, a modest convenience store at 162 NW 51st St. in Boca Raton ($1.50), and Expresso Coffee Co., a small drive-up shack at 1900 S. Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale ($1.75).

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And there are many possibilities at $3 and lower; some even offer comfy couches. Here are a few:

Olympia Flame Diner, 80 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach;OlympiaFlameDiner.com — $3

Bagel Twins, 5130 Linton Blvd., Delray Beach; BagelTwinsDelray.com — $2.75

Chez Cafe, 1631 S. Cypress Road, Pompano Beach; ChezCafe.coffee — $2.89

Filomena’s Bean Coffee, 13610 W. State Road 84, Davie; FilomenasBeanCoffee.com — $2.20

Myra Harbor Cafe, 1396 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale; GreekHarborCafe.com — $2.85

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Angelo Elia The Bakery Bar, 2104 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; AngeloEliaBakery.com — $2.50

Panna, multiple South Florida locations; MyPanna.com — $2.99 for a latte

Las Colinas, 2724 N. Andrews Ave., Wilton Manors; LasColinasLatinFood.com — three sizes of café con leche are $3 or less

Joe’s Diner, 1913 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale; EatAtJoesDinerFTL.com — $2.45

For a small, quick hit of caffeine, learn to drink a strong Cuban coffee. There are plentiful options in South Florida, all inexpensive.

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Mama’s Latin Cafe, 1015 W. State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale; AllMenus.com/fl/Fort-Lauderdale/363542-Mamas-Latin-Cafe — cafecito (a sweetened espresso shot also known as café cubano) is 75 cents; all coffee drinks, including lattes, are $3.25 or les.

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El Cubano Sandwich Shop, two locations in Coral Springs, at 12440 W. Atlantic Blvd. and 3439 NW 99th Way; ElCubanoSandwichShop.com — a cortadito (an espresso shot with milk) is $2; coladas (foamy espressos) are also $2.

The Cuban Cafe, 3350 NW Boca Raton Blvd., Boca Raton; CubanCafe.com — $1.75 for decaf, $2 for regular and $2.50 for Cuban coffee

Of course, you can make your coffee at home, and an assortment of new machines make it easy. You can buy a Cuisinart coffee maker for less than $100, or a Nespresso machine for less than $200.

The price of supplying your home habit is also going up, though. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statisticsreports coffee prices have increased 20% just in the past year. A pound, which makes 26 small cups, now averages about $8, but I found wild fluctuations during a recent trip to Target: 12 ounces of Seattle’s Best Coffee (organic and fair trade) for $6.29, Folger’s 100% Colombian (24.2 ounces) for $10.59, and Dunkin’ medium Colombian roast (11 ounces) for $15.29.

As for me, I like iced coffee, so I buy Starbucks’ Unsweetened Medium Roast (a 48-ounce bottle) at Target, which had them on sale recently for $5 (down from $5.49). I mix it with a very rich oat milk, Oatly Full Fat Oatmilk ($4.99 for a half-gallon). Unlike many, I don’t crave a sweet coffee, but I do like it creamy.

Yvonne Valdez, El Sentinel senior content editor, contributed to this story.

 

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