There is no doubt that Starbucks coffee is one of the best, simply unmatched. It happens to be an ongoing trend for college-going students and workaholics alike.
The company is continuously growing and creating a wide array of new and creative drinks for its massive customer base to try. But what if your wallet can’t handle Starbucks all the time?
Most people visit their most desired Starbucks location, but there are times when you have to settle for something less costly. Fortunately, there are tons of other options available to people that can be compared to the standard of Starbucks if you wish to go a bit easy on the pockets but want a place that has your half-caf, triple-shot, sugar-free caramel mocha, quit looking.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ve rounded up a list of the 11 best affordable alternatives to Starbucks Coffee you can consider for your insane and unavoidable caffeine addiction, your mandatory brunch-time pick-me-ups, a break from the office, a casual meet-up with friends, or to fulfill your need for sugar.
About Starbucks Corporation
Quite evidently, close to 50 years ago, the company which began with just a single location has now grown phenomenally and touched the height of success. Starbucks Corporation was set up and commenced its operations in 1971 in Seattle. It is presently the largest and most renowned chain of coffee shops in the world.
Starbucks has set the base as a mainstream coffee chain serving a classic range of coffee, espresso drinks, tea, pastries, and a delectable frozen beverage called the Frappuccino since the beginning of the 2000s.
The company boasts more than 33,000 company-driven and certified stores worldwide, with an expectation of opening more stores than ever.
To date, Starbucks has been competing against other global chains like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts to stay at the top position as the “King of Coffee” for many years now. Starbucks offers a vast selection of premium quality whole bean and ground coffees, along with instant coffee.
Besides its great coffee, the brand is best known for its top-notch customer service and delightful range of the best-tasting coffees. As a result, all of this definitely comes at a high price, making Starbucks the kind of a coffee shop typically well-suited for the “elite class.”
11 Best Affordable Alternatives to Starbucks Coffee
There is no doubt that Starbucks has set the benchmark for what “specialty coffee” truly means. Consequently, this concept has led to the development and success of many other coffee shops.
The aim is to let people experience and savor the taste of flavorful coffee, caffeinated hot/cold beverages, and many other delicacies in a carefully curated cozy-café ambiance.
While we cannot promise that they might be able to offer you a classic 8-pump mocha-chip Frappuccino like Starbucks, there are plenty of other specialty beverages and hot items that can prove to be well-suited alternatives to your go-to Starbucks.
So, are you ready to branch out and give some of the other coffee shops ago? Then here are the 11 best affordable alternatives to Starbucks coffee that are definitely worth trying.
1. Costa Coffee
Costa Coffee is the UK’s largest and the world’s 2nd largest coffee house after Starbucks. It is undoubtedly the best alternative anybody can find for Starbucks.
Costa Coffee was created by the Costa brothers and founded in the United Kingdom in 1971. Since then, it has expanded itself with more than 3000 stores across 30+ countries.
In the United Kingdom alone, Costa Coffee runs over 2000 coffee houses. Just last year, it made another significant investment and aimed to keep expanding more than ever in the forthcoming years.
The company targets and reaches out to its customers via its distinctive and creative advertising slogan, “a coffee for every mile.” Using this, Costa Coffee aims to have and launch as many coffee shops as it possibly can.
Additionally, Costa Coffee has also started venturing off into newer product lines like canned coffee. It is not also available for consumers in a proposal for more caffeine and less sugar for its 3 most popular beverage lines: caramel, latte, and black American.
Coffee is possibly Starbucks ’ only direct competitor that exclusively deals with coffee and promotes its own products. As a result, it is a solid alternative to Starbucks and relatively affordable too.
Dunkin Donuts, situated in Massachusetts, is an incredibly famous donut and coffee house. It originated in 1950, and since then, it has expanded worldwide, operating more than 11,500 restaurants across more than 35 countries.
This long-founded chain has won the attention and affection of coffee lovers in its earliest stages in the 2000s with its impressive variety of iced and hot coffee beverages that go hand-in-hand together with its world-famous doughnuts. Dunkin’ Donuts offers excellent coffee, but it is particularly renowned for its delicious iced coffee.
One of Dunkin Donut’s must-tries is the Caramel iced coffee which compares reasonably well with Starbucks’s renowned Caramel Macchiato. Besides these delectable drinks, Dunkin’ Donuts also serves lattes, sandwiches, breakfast items, and doughnuts that serve as the ideal sides with a cup of steaming coffee.
A medium-sized coffee from Dunkin costs 16 cents cheaper than the one you can buy at Starbucks. Even though this amount might seem insignificant at the moment, it can really add up to much more if you consider making a switch from Starbucks to Dunkin’.
McCafé is basically a subsidiary of Mcdonald’s that was established in Melbourne, Australia, in 1993. This brand offers an extensive selection of high-end espresso-based drinks across the United States and the rest of the world.
McCafé is speedily giving tough competition to Starbucks because it is backed by the ever-increasing stores globally of one of the largest worldwide brands. This coffee house doesn’t only specialize in coffee. Still, individuals can delve into an impressive range of food and other drinks too.
McCafé is a true reflection of espresso coffees and a superb alternative to Starbucks because of its affordability. In 2015, McCafé ranked among the top 4 coffee sellers with more than $1.4 billion in revenue from approximately 4,500 outlets.
The lattes at McDonald’s McCafe are more or less half the price of a brewed coffee at Starbucks, and it is almost as good in taste but a tad lighter.
With time, McCafé has also significantly enhanced the taste and consistency of its coffee range and wraps up a pretty good range of espresso beverages for coffee lovers.
4. Gloria Jeans
Originating in 1979 in Chicago, Gloria Jeans has franchises in more than hundreds of locations in the US and other areas of the world. The coffee house takes great pride in offering the most impressive selection of frozen chiller drinks and several other classic coffee and espresso drinks.
Gloria Jeans’ coffees can also be purchased with K-cups. They are available in grocery stores and can be bought online too. Besides its great iced and espresso beverages, there is an assortment of savory and dessert items on its menu that you can order with your coffee.
Not only that, Gloria Jeans is best known for its incredibly cozy and warm ambiance, which basically leaves anyone who comes here to sit for hours as they sip on their coffee or drinks, enjoy their food, and just relax.
Altogether, Gloria Jeans is one of the best affordable alternatives to Starbucks Coffee you can look for in your hometown. Its pricing has truly given it a significant advantage compared to Starbucks and many other coffee stores as it is incredibly affordable and costs cheaper.
Tim Horton’s is yet another exceptionally renowned and one of the largest multinationals based in Canada that mainly operates in the fast-food sector but is incredibly popular for its delectable donuts and coffee.
This Canadian restaurant chain/coffee house was established in 1964 and quickly expanded across the entire country, gradually reaching the US. Presently, Tim Horton’s operates over 4,800 restaurants in 13 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, the US, and other countries in the world.
Tim Horton’s menu features an impressive range of premium-quality coffee, cold and hot beverages, espresso shots, cappuccinos, lattes, fruit smoothies, and unique tea blends. It also offers an array of tempting donuts, fresh food, sandwiches, paninis, soups, and wraps, all of which go really well with coffee.
The entire coffee range you can find at Tim Horton’s is way more affordable and less costly than Starbucks, with equally great taste. The smallest cup of Tim Horton’s Caffe Latte costs around $2.49, for which Starbucks charges you close to $3.00. So yeah, Tim Horton’s is definitely an excellent go-to restaurant cum coffee house alternative to Starbucks.
Originated in 1996, Café Coffee Day was founded quite sometime later than these other coffee shops. It is known as one of the largest producers and exporters of Arabica beans in Asia. Café Coffee Day rapidly expanded its operations to become the largest and most reputable coffee house chain in India.
It also quickly made its way into other worldwide markets in Europe, Africa, and Asia. This brand is leading in India and targets many customers, particularly students and youngsters, who don’t have the kind of money needed to spend on fancy beverages.
Café Coffee Day has positioned itself relatively well with its low and affordable prices, so it is incredibly easy on the wallets of coffee lovers and people who want to enjoy good coffee. This makes it an excellent alternative to Starbucks in terms of prices.
Café Coffee Day’s business is also centered on company-owned outlets. It serves beverages like cold coffee, milkshakes, smoothies, and infusions, along with an extensive selection of many food items and drinks. Additionally, you can also consider purchasing Café Coffee Day’s self-produced coffee as an alternative to Starbucks.
Caribou Coffee, a Germany-based company, has also spread outs its operations to more than 10 countries, including the United States of America. Compared to Starbucks, Caribou Coffee is a smaller specialty coffee chain that also presents itself as an alternative to Starbucks Coffee.
Initially, Caribou Coffee was based on a concept of a 5 days week schedule that focused on catering only to office staff. However, gradually it extended its menu and services for everybody.
Located in several Southeastern states, including Midwest and Colorado, Caribou Coffee offers several classic coffee offerings like blended Caribou chillers and tea lattes.
The company also features lighter beverages with a low-calorie count for weight-conscious people, along with traditional favorites such as the Americano.
Moreover, Caribou Coffee also offers coffee beans for sale by the pound or in the form of K-Cups, which you can easily purchase from the grocery store.
Among 16 locations in the Wisconsin localities of Madison and Milwaukee lies Colectivo, a state-specific station famous for its food and caffeinated beverages. Colectivo Coffee offers a vast breakfast and lunch menu, which surprisingly exceeds the list of ready-made options Starbucks is famous for.
Although the menu at Colectivo Coffee is simple, the station offers an impressive selection of tasty flavored syrups, which are added to beverages like Italian Soda and even lattes.
Don’t forget to try their delectable espresso shake, which comprises thick scoops of vanilla bean ice cream blended with a few espresso shots. It is indeed a cheaper and more exciting alternative for Starbucks Coffee fans, especially for people who want a taste of something different.
If the drive-thru side of Starbucks is something that intrigues you and you are interested in trying something new, then the Human Bean is indeed one of the best choices to consider for this particular convenience. The company is known to serve an entire range of iced and hot espresso drinks, smoothies, coffees, and so much more.
The Human Bean offers all the specialty items you love and enjoy having at a great price, along with the convenience of drive-thru-only services. Order an iced or hot eggnog latte to fulfill all your cravings with this seasonal treat.
The Human Bean is situated in several locations across Colorado, North Carolina, and the Western US. Without a doubt, we recommend you to check out this tiny coffee house, and you can see for yourself why it’s amongst the list of best alternatives to Starbucks.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is another American coffee chain established in 1963 and has gradually expanded its one-of-a-kind brewed coffee to various parts of the world. In 2019, Coffee Bean will have more than 1000 company-owned outlets and franchises in over 31 countries worldwide.
Besides serving its most famous tea and coffee drinks, the store is also renowned for being one of the US’s oldest retailers of tea and coffee.
You can even look for their products in your nearest grocery store or get them online. Just sign up for their subscription services to get the most desired coffee blends in K-Cup forms and have them directly mailed to your doorstep.
When it comes to coffee, everybody has their own preferences. While some people like the dominating taste of dark roasted coffee beans, other people prefer the acidity and brightness of blonde roast beans. Here are a couple of brands considered great and affordable alternatives to Starbucks, with brilliant taste.
Peet’s coffee is another California-based coffee company that specializes in coffee roasting. The founder of this company used to supply coffee beans to the popular Starbucks back in the early days.
Peet’s coffee was known to be one of the first-ever roasters in the market to launch dark roasters, which the majority of the coffee drinkers and enthusiasts love to drink today. The company has more than 100 storefronts situated primarily within the West coast’s states.
Suppose you’re not nearby but wish to try their dark, rich brews or their exquisite range of flavored teas and coffees. In that case, you can simply check out the retailers at several grocery stores and hotels around the country. You can easily get bags of coffee beans or K-Cups at several locations.
Others that you also can try
Folgers offers pre-grounded coffee, and it definitely makes it to the list, not only because it is widely available but also because it is effortless to brew.
Its coffee products have entered 1.3 million new homes just from June to September last year. The sale of packaged coffee also rose by 14% in September alone.
Folgers is much more affordable and less costly than Starbucks coffee and products. In fact, you can save a horde of money in the long term than you can with Starbucks. Folgers’ pre-ground coffee has been used by households for decades now. It certainly has developed a special place in the consumers’ hearts.
14. Maxwell House
Ranked 2nd in the list of dark roasts in the Huffington Post, Maxwell House presently leads the market of dry coffee goods, along with Folgers. Starbucks itself also operates within its market sector. However, it doesn’t directly compete with Maxwell House as it is an online-based brand.
Maxwell House coffee has a stable taste and is relatively affordable to Starbucks. A can weighing one ounce costs 27 cents, while an 11 ounce costs approximately $6.29, which is much cheaper than Starbucks.
If you are a hard-core Starbucks fan, you must be well aware that it will cost you 10 times more to buy the pre-made coffee in the Starbucks store than to purchase this particular brand of coffee and brew it at home.
Although it sounds almost hypocritical to bring up Starbucks’ own products as its alternatives, it is definitely worth considering as they are relatively more affordable, and there’s no compromise on your taste.
Likewise, the bottled Starbucks drink also costs slightly cheaper than regular beverages, mainly if you purchase them in packs from the store. Lastly, they are more portable than the standard coffee cups.
We sure do hope you try out these alternatives for the infamous Starbucks and find something of your liking that doesn’t cost you as much and is also great in taste.