Saving Money By Being Sustainable

Saving Money By Being Sustainable
Learn To Make Your Espresso Drinks At Home

There’s nothing quite like a rich, creamy latte to get you started in the morning.  That is, if you are anything like the millions of espresso-holics that flock to the local coffee stand every morning (or, really, any other time of day).

Since the espresso fad began, people have been spending more and more of their discretionary income on it, and with good reason.  There’s a wide variety in the type and flavors of the coffees you can get.  You can get a regular drip, you can get Americano, Latte, Café Au Lait, Cappuccino, Iced Latte, and those delicious blended coffee drinks.  There’s a drink for every style of person and every preference.

Problem #1 – Sustainability

There is another aspect to this we really need to consider.  There’s lots of “buzz” out right now about being sustainable to help the planet.  The truth is, many people have seen this coming for a long time.  Regardless of whether you believe in global warming, global cooling, or even a global dinosaur resurgence, the fact is that we, as in the humans on this planet, have been consuming our resources at an unsustainable rate.  We are using them faster than they replenish (and some don’t even replenish at all).  That means eventually we will run out.  It is going to happen.  So what are we going to do about it?

There’s been a movement in the last few years that has really caught a lot of strength to “Go Green” and to be more sustainable.  Many people have purchased hybrid vehicles, are recycling more, and many companies have been making products that are more environmentally friendly (Sun Chips compostable bag, anyone?  Teehee).  It seems that this movement has really caught a lot of wind and everyone is trying to do their part.  In spite of this effort, though, problems continue to surface.  There is an area of floating plastic garbage the size of Texas in the Atlantic Ocean, and they are saying that there may be one in the Pacific as well.  These problems are going to continue to mount if we do not do anything to stop them and reduce our waste.

The coffee industry also has its own problems.  Transportation, unfair treatment of coffee growers, the chemicals used to grow it, gas used to transport it, and then of course the cups you use to drink it with.  Did you know that the average 5-day-per-day coffee habit can create almost seven pounds of plastic waste per year in disposable cups alone?  Seven pounds!  Not only that, but did you know that it takes about 200 liters of water to produce the coffee, milk, sugar, and plastic for the cup for one latte?

Problem #2 – The Economy

Sometimes it feels like our economy is the big elephant in the room.  We all know about it, but we don’t really know what to do about it.  Everyone blames everyone else, and no one is at fault.  So let’s, perhaps, take a different approach.  The truth is, we are all in this together, and we are going to have to help each other get out of it.  Not only that, but we will all need to do the little things that we can in order to get the economy back on track.

Many people are addressing this by reducing their spending in discretionary areas.  Coffee is generally considered one of those.  It is certainly one of the favorite luxuries for many people, but a $5/day coffee can add up to be quite a bit over a period of a year.  In truth, for a 5-day-a-week habit, that adds up to about $1300 per year.  You could buy a car for that!

It may seem easy to just say “Yes I’ll quit getting my lattes” but the truth is, there are some things that are just good for morale.  Fancy coffee drinks seem to just be a little indulgence, kind of like having your hair done or a massage or pedicure.  True, you can try and do those things yourself, but it just feels nicer to have someone else do that for you.

The Solutions

Before you start thinking you should cut out coffee completely, let’s stop for a moment.  If everyone were to stop drinking coffee, that would cut off the incomes of millions of farmers, production workers, and companies.  Remember that part about “helping each other” in recovering the economy?  That means we can’t just stop spending money.  But we do have to balance the spending with realizing our limitations and understanding what got us into this mess in the first place.  So let’s look at a few solutions to these problems.

Consider, if you will, buying a reusable coffee cup.  Technology has really become advanced to the point that even buying the reusable cups will improve your drinking experience.  To clarify – there are high quality reusable cups out there that will keep your iced and blended lattes colder longer, and travel mugs that will keep your hot lattes hotter longer.  It’s a win-win situation.  Add to that the fact that many coffee shops (including Starbucks, for one) give a discount to for using a reusable cup, that’s just the icing on the cake.  You can use your reusable cup for many years, will save lots of plastic waste when you do go get your lattes from the local stand, and will give you a great cup to use when you are making your own at home.

This brings us to the second portion of the solutions – learning to make your own lattes.  Miss Bailey, the founder of Humerus Wares, is an ex-barista with a wealth of knowledge and insider secrets on how to make an incredible cup of coffee.  She has published a great tutorial on how to make iced lattes and blended coffee drinks at home.  The numbers speak for themselves – using her recipes that she published above, you can make your own iced latte for $.98.  That’s like getting your standard drink with an 80% discount!  Iced and blended lattes are simple to make and you usually don’t need any fancy equipment that you don’t already have in your kitchen.  Miss Bailey is also currently reviewing and testing home espresso machines to write a tutorial for those who prefer hot lattes and cappuccinos – stay tuned!

There are some other things you can also do to be more sustainable and to encourage economic recovery.  Buy local – buying coffee from local roasters means it has travelled fewer miles to get to you, plus your dollars go to support local businesses which will hasten the economic recovery.  When you are at the grocery store, look for milk that has been produced nearby, or even just in-state.  Also consider buying organic and/or fair trade coffee.  Organic coffee is produced without the chemicals of regular coffee, and buying fair trade means you are supporting coffee farmers who are being paid a fair wage for their work.  You may pay a higher price per pound, but even if you do so you will still see a significant savings by making your own vs. buying every morning.  And when you do go in to get your latte from a coffee stand, please support a coffee stand that uses locally roasted coffee and/or locally produced milk.


We all need to do our part with bringing our civilization to a more sustainable level so that we can protect our planet for our children’s children.  The ironic thing is that with our economy being a bit low at the moment, now is a perfect time to take a look at our lifestyles and pare them down a bit.  This will not only save us money in this trying time, but also will help us do our part for a more “green” planet.

Here at Humerus Wares we are dedicated to that ideal.  We do like to have fun and be “humerus” but we take pride in the fact that we are providing a high quality product that will assist our customers in bringing that coffee shop experience into their own kitchen.  We offer clear BPA-free double-wall acrylic to-go cold cups with a screw-on lid and an acrylic straw that look just like the clear disposable iced latte cups.  We also offer a white BPA-free plastic double-wall hot cup with a black screw-on lid that looks just like the disposable paper hot cup you get from your espresso stand.  Both of our cups are sturdier, long-lasting, and insulate much better than the disposable cups.  Our customers save hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars each year by purchasing our cups and making their own coffee.  We purposefully chose cups that look like the disposable cups so that our customers will still get the “feel” of having a coffeehouse drink in their hand, but it still cost them less than a dollar to make it.  Our reusable cups look so much like the disposable cups, one of our customers reported that her husband had almost thrown hers away!

Whether you decide to invest in a high quality cup like ours, or even use cups that you currently have in your kitchen, we encourage you to take action today.  Begin bringing a reusable mug to that latte stand, or even better, go through the tutorials and learn how to make your own.  You won’t be disappointed, and if you have any hiccups or problems along the way, just email Miss Bailey at and she will do her best to help you out.  Don’t forget to check us out at for more articles, photos, recipes, and more!

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