There’s no such thing as a free takeaway coffee

Office staff (including myself) are steadily returning to the City of London, and coffee shops that had been closed due to the lockdown are now reopening.

Many chains are selling coffee subscriptions to entice us back into our old latte-drinking habits. Pay a fixed amount per month, and you can drink as much coffee as you want within reason. Is any of the bargains on sale, however, worthwhile? I caffeinated myself into a money-saving frenzy this week, armed with a notepad and a reusable cup, in an effort to find out.

The good news is that it’s a buyers’ market, with a plethora of offers and discounts available, which I’ve mentioned below. Consumer behaviour has changed drastically as a result of the lockdown, and retailers hope that subscription deals will convince us to abandon our old loyalties and try something different.

They’re even promoting new ways to buy coffee with these offers. It’s more convenient to order ahead of time online and pick up in person, particularly when many chains are having trouble recruiting employees. It also cuts down on the amount of time we spend queuing — and helps us avoid buying errors.

“Before Covid, it was difficult to tell if anyone was ordering a hot latte or an oat latte,” says Spencer Craig, the London-based chain’s chief executive and co-founder. “When you add in face masks and Perspex displays, it looks like something out of a Monty Python sketch.”

Of course, if you’re trying to save money, the first thing most personal finance experts recommend is giving up takeout coffee. Your buying patterns, the proximity of a given shop, and a few other factors can determine if the offers below are worthwhile.


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