The Seattle Coffee Buzz
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The Seattle Coffee Buzz

Save money by making your own budget-friendly version

The Seattle Coffee Buzz

Seattle is known for many things: Amazon, Microsoft, the Space Needle, "Sleepless in Seattle", Macklemore, Nirvana... and of course, Starbucks. With a Starbucks on literally every corner of Seattle, I was exposed to coffee at a very early age. I remember when I was in preschool, my mom and I would have coffee Frappuccino dates at our local Starbucks just down the street from our house. In elementary school, my friends and I would hang out and sip our beverages out of the iconic white and green cups. At that age, we thought that drinking coffee made us cool and mature, but in all honesty, we were probably drinking ten times more sugar than coffee in our drinks. In high school, my go-to order were iced caramel machiattos and vanilla lattes. As soon as I entered college though, my tastebuds changed, and my sugar tolerance became very low. On my way to class, I would order a plain soy latte or americano to get me through my 8:30am classes. No syrup, no whip, no added sugar. Luckily for me, I had a meal plan to burn down for the first couple of years, and so spending $4 something on a coffee everyday did not seem like a huge deal to me. However, once I discontinued my meal plan, I only then began to realize how ridiculously expensive Starbucks is. If I ordered a tall (12-oz) soy latte everyday for just one month, I would spend over $125 or over $1500 a year. As a college student who relies on coffee everyday, I sought out alternatives to satisfy my caffeine needs without breaking the bank.

The Best Alternative: Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee packets ($6.29/box of 8 packets or $0.79/packet).

This is my go-to product. I like the VIA packets better than the Keurig version because I find them stronger and more flavorful. My favorite is the Pikes Place Medium Roast. I've tried the Colombian, French, and Italian Roasts, but my Seattlelite tastebuds prefer the hometown coffee. I sometimes drink it black, but I usually like mixing some milk into it to make it creamier. The best part about using VIA, is that it only takes 3 minutes or less to make my simplified soy latte in the morning. Not even a Starbucks cashier can take my order that fast!

3- minute Soy Latte Recipe:


  • Vanilla Soymilk (I prefer unsweetened, but Starbucks uses sweetened in their version)
  • Pike's Place VIA Instant Coffee Packet
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 16-oz mug or travel mug if you're heading to class


  1. Pour the VIA coffee packet into your mug BEFORE you add boiling water to it. Otherwise, the coffee grounds will stick to the sides of the packet when you try and pour it into mug due to condensation from the hot water.
  2. Shake the soy milk carton. This is a very important step because it creates a nice foamy layer of milk to go on top of your coffee.
  3. Measure 1-cup of the shaken soymilk and microwave for 30-45 seconds in a microwave-safe cup ( I like to use a Pyrex for easy pouring).
  4. Pour the steamed milk into your mug and stir with a spoon or chopstick.
  5. Enjoy! :)

I will admit that this recipe is not a perfect substitute for a Starbucks soy latte. You can't beat the flavor and smoothness of freshly ground beans, but for time and cost-saving purposes, this is a great hack for busy college students. Also as a side-note, I prefer soy milk to cow's milk or almond milk for coffee, because I find that the velvety texture goes perfectly with coffee. However, feel free to substitute your favorite milk. This recipe could also work for iced coffee. Just add ice and skip microwaving the milk.

Hope you all have a Beau"latte"ful day and comment below your favorite way to drink coffee!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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