Don’t spend a latte on coffee – where to find them for just £1

Like many busy adults, I can’t function without my morning caffeine fix. At least, it feels like that after the trauma of a rush-hour commute on the London Underground.

But if you’re a daily coffee drinker who prefers to pick one up from a coffee shop rather than make your own every morning, you could be spending around £2.15 a day for just your basic cup-o-Joe. That’s £10.75 for a five-day working week, or £43 a month (equating to £516 each year) on coffee alone. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the cost of return economy flights to Brazil – the world’s largest coffee producer.

Plus, with the recent news that Waitrose is scrapping its totally free coffee –part of its ‘myWaitrose’ loyalty scheme – in eight of its stores (see our full news story), you could feel your pockets emptying faster than your heart rate after a triple espresso. Of course, most Waitrose stores do still offer free coffee without the need to buy anything. Find out how to claim yours via MSE Jordon’s blog.

If you can’t bag a freebie, there’s no need to swear off the slightly bitter stuff just yet. We’re seeing more and more high street coffee retailers with standard cups of filter coffee (made using hot water that filters down through ground coffee) – or in some cases Americanos (a diluted espresso shot) – on offer for just £1, so to perk you up, we’ve rounded them up below.

Where to find ‘em

Cost: Free (selected stores only)
Type: Americano, latte, cappuccino, mocha, espresso, tea
Size: 12oz
No of UK stores (find your nearest): 350
Avail in all stores?: No (excludes Billericay, Bury St Edmunds, Clifton, Hawkhurst, Leigh-on-Sea, Mountsorrel, Norwich, Pimlico, Southend, Swaffham, Vauxhall and Victoria St).
Is the coffee Fairtrade?: Yes.

Prêt à Manger
Cost: 99p (same in all stores)
Type: Filter coffee
Size: 12oz cup
No. of UK stores (find your nearest): 312
Avail in all stores?: Yes…almost (excl Welcome Break services and Marylebone High St).
Is the coffee Fairtrade?: Prêt told us all its coffee is 100% organic and is purchased from co-ops, which are, “Equal to or above the Fairtrade price.”

J.D. Wetherspoon
Cost: 99p
Type: Filter coffee
Size: 12oz
No. of UK stores (find your nearest): 930
Avail in all stores?: Yes, except for airports
Is the coffee Fairtrade?: 100% Rainforest Alliance certified.

Cost: £1
Type: Filter coffee
Size: 8oz
No. of UK stores (find your nearest): Over 850
Avail in all stores?: No
Is the coffee Fairtrade?: Yes.

Cost: £1
Type: Americano, latte, cappuccino, mocha, flat white
Size: 10oz (or 8oz for a flat white)
No. of UK stores (find your nearest): 3
Avail in all stores?: Yes
Is the coffee Fairtrade?: No.

Cost: £1.19 (price differs in about 2% of its stores)
Type: Filter coffee
Size: 12oz
No. of UK stores (find your nearest): Over 1,250
Avail in all stores?: Yes
Is the coffee Fairtrade?: McDonald’s told us all its UK coffee is made from 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified Arabica beans, meaning it comes from sustainable farms.

As you can see, sizes vary between 8oz-12oz and prices range between free and £1.19, which compared to the average £2.15 spend, could save you at least £207 a year. I’ve taste-tested all these coffees at branches near MSE Towers and my favourite by far is the one from Waitrose. As an Americano, it’s got a strong flavour and a lovely crema on the top.

To be honest, the others are all much of a much-ness and tend to veer towards the weak, slightly acidic side. If you’re not that fussy about your coffee, however, I imagine these will give you that all-important boost in the morning just fine.

And if you’re keen on saving the planet as well as the pennies, Waitrose, Prêt, EasyCoffee and Starbucks let you provide your own re-usable cup, although Starbucks no longer offers its 50p discount for those who do.

As I’ve mentioned above, it is of course far cheaper to make your own coffee at home and juggle your thermal mug with your handbag/gym kit/Metro paper. But, if you value those extra few minutes in bed more highly than pockets brimming with change, then detouring via a £1 coffee retailer could be just right for you. Brazil, here we come!