Frugal Tip: Black Tea vs Coffee -- we save around $600 per year this way.

I know this won’t apply to many here, because I know people won’t want to give up coffee – I was the same.

But I recently learned that you can get 100 bags of black tea from Walmart for $2.12 – Great Value Brand. That’s 2 cents per 12 oz mug of tea.

For coffee we were buying the cheapest instant coffee we could find: Great Value instant coffee. Right now I see it for $4.92 for 12 oz. According to the package it contains 70 teaspoons of coffee. We put 2 level teaspoons of coffee in each 12 oz mug. $4.92 / 35 two teaspoon servings is 14 cents per mug.

I don’t know about you but we couldn’t drink coffee without heavy cream. We put 2 tbsp of heavy cream in each mug. Heavy cream is now $5 per quart (used to be $3 per quart 18 months ago). There are 64 tablespoons in 1 quart of heavy cream. $5.00 / 32 = 16 cents per mug. (In contrast, we don’t desire to put heavy cream in the tea at all… tastes good without it.)

14 cents (coffee) + 16 cents (heavy cream) = 30 cents per mug of coffee, or FIFTEEN times more expensive than black tea.

Now I know black tea has about half as much caffeine in it as coffee, but that’s okay because we were trying to cut back a little. But you could drink 2 mugs of black tea for 4 cents compared 30 cents for the coffee.

This isn’t including the cost of the liquid stevia, but we put the same amount in the black tea as we did the coffee, so this doesn’t change anything. [But I can tolerate less sweetener in black tea compared to coffee, so I might personally start cutting this in half. We spend $34 for 2 x 8 oz bottles of liquid stevia from Amazon – best price we could find. Right now I am drinking my black tea without any stevia for a week to condition myself to not having sweetener; that way in a week when I start using 7 drops of stevia it tastes really sweet compared to nothing. Once you start using 14 drops I guess you build a tolerance to the sweetness or something. Stevia is pretty expensive; at the current rate of consumption (14 drops per mug) we’ll spend $335 per year on it for our tea since we drink a few mugs of it per day.]

Excluding any sweetener: black tea per person, at 3 mugs per day is only $21 per year… vs $315 per year for coffee/heavy cream. For us, since we are two, that means $42 per year instead of $630. A savings of around $600 per year by switching.

Just thought I’d share in case anyone is interested… we enjoy black tea anyways.

This is how we make our black tea:

  1. put tea bag in room temp mug, along with the liquid stevia
  2. boil water in a whistling tea kettle
  3. pour the water in the mug
  4. wait 45 seconds, dunk the bag a few times and discard the bag – most of the tea is extracted at this point and longer brews just make it bitter.
  5. no need to stir stevia since we put it in first before pouring the water in

Hot black tea with liquid stevia, it tastes like I am drinking honey – has that flavor profile to my taste buds; so delicious.

Note: we were paying $5 for 100 bags of black tea from our local Asian market, but have found the $2.12 GV black tea to taste identical.


I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was pregnant with my second kid, who is not yet two. I have been considering giving it up again (and I know my stomach would be happier) but I really like having something hot and delicious in the morning to sip. You miiiiiight have just given me the shove I need to give it up.


I have been considering switching from my morning coffee to a ‘dirty chai’ blend from PC which is half the price. I have 3 or 4 more boxes of coffee, but after that I’m probably switching to a morning tea. Probably not at the same volume purchasing, more at the $3/20 bags level (I’ll also see about buying bigger boxes). But that is still better than $7/18 servings of coffee.


We’re avid tea drinkers. One of the perks of using tea is that you can reuse tea leaves. Reusing coffee grounds just doesn’t work. :nauseated_face:


Life is too short for instant coffee.


I just switched from coffee back to tea because I got weirdly bored with coffee, but unfortunately I’m more persnickety about my tea than I am about my coffee. I’m finding for me, this tea habit costs me more than coffee habit :joy: I don’t use sweetener though, and usually drink my tea and coffee black.


Believe it or not, I do this in my espresso maker sometimes when I want a weaker pull of a second shot…


Fancy! :smile:

Well to us Starbucks tasted about as good as instant coffee, so we went with instant :slight_smile: But now tea instead. I like the tea better :slight_smile:


We used to drink Twinings black tea then switched to PG Tips. Then the black tea from Asian market for $5 for 100 bags. Now the GV for $2.12 for 100 bags. Tastes about the same honestly. All four.

Yea, I go way fancier than all of those. I get this (frugalness be damned)

Needs a longer steep than you do for more flavor though, usually 3-5 minutes.

This is one of those areas I have accepted my lifestyle inflation in. I got the same cheap russian black tea for all 10 days I was on the trans-siberian railway, and it’s one of my biggest regrets. Should’ve upgraded the tea when that was all there was to do all day. Became friends with a couple who brought nicer tea :joy:


I think I see the problem. (Unashamed coffee snob here.)


Oh being an Australian coffee snob PDM. :joy:


Haha there is a reason all your baristas are Australians.


I didn’t used to drink coffee at all, and then I had access to free coffee at work. This was the gateway to me drinking coffee. I’m not that much of a coffee snob. I care more about the working conditions of the people who grow it than I do about the taste, and that’s what I pay slightly more for. But oh…tea…I seem to be a snob about

Not here, in London they are. They can’t get the work visas for the US. In Portland we grow our own baristas. Never met an Australian barista in the US, but I meet them all the time when traveling abroad :joy: It’s how I find the good coffee in places with…less than lackluster coffee.


Okay, so starting with twinnings (which twinnings?) vs pg tips, they taste really different and even smell different. So even with your steep time you should be able to tell the difference. Are you a smoker/exsmoker? Or still dealing with diminished taste post covid?

And then which asian brand? What region? For example, my husband drinks wagh bakiri, but it barely brews in hot water. It likes a nice boil.

I dig the commitment to savings, but different things taste different. I.e I enjoy cheap barzula espresso over my husband’s fancy drip coffee.


Unfortunately while I never got into coffee (at most it’ll be coffee-flavored milk and sugar if I’m desperate), the tea shop near me means I’m into fancy teas. Currently rotating between blueberry black and dark chocolate mint black (and rooibos chai if I don’t want caffeine)…


been drinking black tea with milk ever since i was a little kid – back then i would have it with sugar as well but gave that up in my early 20s.

in my 30s, i hooked up with a scottish husband who turned me on to the good stuff – pg tips. when i can’t get it, tetley british blend or trader joe’s irish breakfast makes a good substitute.

i like it strong – brewed with boiling water for 3-5 minutes. sometimes when i’m traveling i’ll get a tea latte at starbucks for a treat.

every once in a while, i get a taste for coffee but can really only handle lattes or my husband’s really delicious costa rican light roast brewed in an aeropress. he serves it with heavy cream and a spoonful of homemade dulce de leche.

none of this is frugal though :laughing:


Some people are less discerning than you, Elle, and luckily it costs less to be less discerning!


This is also what happened to me! My work got a big fancy Italian espresso machine/coffee thingy free for employees and the rest is history. But then we moved across the country so now I work from home and the coffee is much less free. I think I can handle switching back to tea.