Save Money on Your Coffee Habit With These 12 At-Home Products

Jordan's/Bialetti/Amazon
Jordan's/Bialetti/Amazon

If you’re a coffee aficionado, odds are you’re spending hundreds of dollars (at least) per year getting your caffeine fix—if you always go out to the local café, that is. Whether your drink of choice is a latte, Americano, or plain ol’ piping-hot cup of joe, there are plenty of gadgets out there designed to help you save some serious dough by making your favorites at home. No matter if you prefer your coffee hot or iced (or both), these 12 handy products will help you live your best caffeinated life. Plus, your wallet will thank you.

1. Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker; $22

Takeya

This cold brew coffee maker from Takeya has over 11,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is it made of durable, shatterproof plastic (read: no more accidental spillage), but it’s also incredibly simple to use. All you have to do is add 14 to 16 tablespoons of your favorite coarsely ground coffee into the filter. Next, pour in some cold water and let it chill in your fridge for up to 36 hours. Then, drink away.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Primula Melrose French Press; $28

Primula/Amazon

This chic French press lets you brew your own barista-style coffee right at home. Enjoy flavorful coffee in just three steps: Remove the plunger and add the desired amount of ground coffee, pour in hot water, and let it brew for around six minutes. Its stainless steel plunger filter allows you to brew smooth and flavorful coffee without the hassle. Pro tip: Add vanilla or cinnamon to your French press for a delightful burst of flavor. You can also use it to brew tea.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Bialetti 6-Cup Moka Stovetop Espresso Maker; $50

Bialetti/Amazon

You can’t go wrong with the Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker, which has been a staple in kitchens since the early 1950s. Brewing your own smooth, velvety espresso has never been easier. Fill it up with water, add in ground coffee, and tightly twist the top to close it. While it comes in 11 colors, we especially love the bright red shade, which adds a perfect pop of color to any kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Grinder; $20

Mr. Coffee/Amazon

To make the best cold brew and French press coffee at home, you need to coarsely grind your beans to allow for a slower extraction of flavor. And for just around $20, you can get this Mr. Coffee grinder with a selection of different settings (fine, medium, and coarse) and cup sizes to make the whole process foolproof. Plus, the grinder itself is easy to take apart and clean once you're done.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine; $198

Nespresso/Amazon

While this two-in-one Nespresso machine is a splurge, it’s worth every penny, especially when you calculate how much you spend on takeout espresso every year. The machine also includes a set of 12 capsules (all of which brew smooth, velvety coffee) as well as a handy milk frother. Choose from three cup sizes and enjoy fresh coffee with the touch of a single button.

Buy it: Amazon

6. SAWNZC Diamond Ice Cube Molds; $7

SAWNZC/Amazon

Life is too short for boring ice cubes. Add some sparkle to your basic iced coffee or cold brew with these diamond-shaped cubes. The silicone molds are easy to fill and safe to use. Plus, they’re freezer-, microwave-, oven-, and dishwasher-safe.

Buy it: Amazon

7. CrateJoy Coffee Subscription Services; Prices Vary

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

CrateJoy offers dozens of coffee subscription boxes from around the world—from Puerto Rico to Seattle to the UK and everywhere in between. A majority of the boxes (each of which is chock-full of flavors) feature sustainable, artisanal, and single-origin roasts you probably won’t find in your local coffee shop, while others support local charities or specialize in specific drinks like cold brew.

Buy it: CrateJoy

8. Portable Cold Brew Coffee Maker; $19

Oranlife/Amazon

Enjoy your iced coffee on the go with this compact, portable cold brew coffee maker. To use, simply fill the filter core halfway with your favorite ground coffee. Next, pour two cups of cold water until the coffee is fully soaked. Then, stir the filter core for around 30 seconds before sealing the pitcher and storing it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Stojo Collapsible Coffee Cup; $20

Stojo/Amazon

This reusable, space-saving, and travel-friendly silicone coffee cup from Stojo is great for both hot and cold coffee, so you can take your homemade joe on the road and ignore those café prices altogether. The cup also includes a straw, and it’s dishwasher- and microwave-safe, as well. Additionally, its leak-proof seal prevents any unexpected mess or spillage. Once you finish your cup, just collapse it and store it away in your bag. Choose from an array of colors, like mint green, coral, and black—plus 18 other shades.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Stanley 20-Ounce Coffee Mug; $20

Stanley/Amazon

If you want to go for something a little bigger, try Stanley's 20-ounce coffee mug, which is double-insulated to keep iced coffee chilly for up to 20 hours and hot coffee steamy for five hours. And since it's built with stainless steel, this travel mug is perfect to bring your coffee along on long hikes and camping trips.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Aerolatte Milk Frother; $20

Aerolatte/Amazon

This lightweight, stainless-steel milk frother makes it easy to enjoy rich, creamy, and frothy beverages almost anywhere (no electricity required). It can be used in both hot and cold drinks and is great for dairy milk, almond milk, almond milk, cashew milk, or any other non-dairy milk you can think of. To clean, simply hand-wash with soap and water.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Jordan's Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup; $8

Jordan's/Amazon

You don’t need to go to Starbucks or Dunkin’ to enjoy a delicious pumpkin spice latte. In fact, you can make your own PSL right at home—all year long—with this 25-ounce bottle of pumpkin spice-flavored coffee syrup. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also sugar-, calorie-, and carb-free. Use it all year long in your favorite coffee drinks.

Buy it: Amazon

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Thursday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Guitar Kits, Memory-Foam Pillows, and Smartwatches

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 3. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

Anti-Pasta: When Italian Futurists Tried to Ban Pasta in Italy

A pasta vendor in Naples during the late 19th or early 20th century.
A pasta vendor in Naples during the late 19th or early 20th century.
Carlo Brogi, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

While speaking at a multi-course banquet in Milan on November 15, 1930, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti presented his fellow Italians with an incendiary call to action. Pasta, he said, was a “passéist food” that “[deluded people] into thinking it [was] nutritious” and made them “heavy, brutish,” “skeptical, slow, [and] pessimistic.” As such, it should be abolished and replaced with rice.

So began an outrageous crusade against the country’s most beloved carbohydrate. Not only did Marinetti's movement elicit passionate reactions on both sides, but it also had some less-than-tenuous ties to Benito Mussolini's fascist regime.

Mr. Rice Guy

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (center) and his fellow Italian Futurists in Paris in 1912.Proa, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Marinetti’s initial statement spread so widely because he himself loomed large over society at the time. His 1909 “Manifesto of Futurism” launched the Futurist movement, which championed a shift away from the slow, outmoded processes of the past and toward the sleek technologies of the future. Though originally specific to art, Futurism was a nationalist cause at heart—a way for the newly unified country to catch up to other world powers—and it aligned with Mussolini’s fledgling political campaign. In fact, the two men collaborated closely while establishing their respective political parties (Marinetti’s Fasci Politici Futuristi and Mussolini’s Fasci di Combattimento) as World War I came to a close. Marinetti had distanced himself from Mussolini by the early 1920s, but he still invoked Il Duce’s policies when they served his goals.

For the pasta prohibition, they did. To make Italy less reliant on imported wheat, Mussolini’s administration had started promoting rice—which was much easier to produce domestically—over pasta. In the late 1920s, he established the “National Rice Board” and even declared November 1 to be “National Rice Day.” As Philip McCouat writes for the Journal of Art History, the dictator never went so far as to ban macaroni, but citizens were already familiar with anti-pasta sentiment by the time Marinetti began his smear campaign.

On December 28, 1930, the Futurist followed up his dinner speech with the “Manifesto of Futurist Cooking,” co-written with the artist Luigi Colombo (known as “Fillìa”) and published in Turin’s Gazzetta del popolo. In it, they described pasta itself as an “absurd Italian gastronomic religion” and pasta lovers as being “shackled by its ball and chain like convicted lifers or [carrying] its ruins in their stomachs like archaeologists.”

In short, they believed that pasta weighed Italians down and prevented them from achieving any kind of greatness. The ultimate solution was for the government to replace all food with nutritional pills, powders, and other artificial substitutes, but until the chemists could create such innovations, the Futurists would settle for swapping out pasta with rice. “And remember too,” they wrote, “that the abolition of pasta will free Italy from expensive foreign wheat and promote the Italian rice industry.”

Starch Enemies and Allies

While Marinetti’s initial speech had incited a small uprising among Italians, his written manifesto gave the issue a global audience. “Fascist Writer, All Wound Up in Health Subject, Begs Countrymen to Swallow New Theory,” the Chicago Tribune summarized in an article titled “Italy May Down Spaghetti,” which hit newsstands just two days after Marinetti’s manifesto.

Smaller presses covered the bombshell, too. “No, signor. We beseech you, call off your holy war,” Ernest L. Meyer pontificated in Madison, Wisconsin’s The Capital Times. “Would you abolish macaroni and all its tunefully christened cousins—macaroncelli, foratini, maglietti, ditalini, vermicelli—and reduce Italians to the ugly dissonances of beans, cabbage, chops, chard, and chewing gum? Fie, signor, there is no poetry in your soul, and your palate lacks wit.”

Pasta drying in the streets of Naples in 1897.J.F. Jarvis, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division // No Known Restrictions on Publication

People living everywhere from France to Australia commented on the matter, but nowhere was the response more impassioned than in Italy. Women in the city of L’Aquila sent Marinetti a protest letter, and the mayor of Naples went so far as to proclaim that “the Angels in Paradise eat nothing but vermicelli with tomato sauce.” (Marinetti later retorted that this was simply proof of “the unappetizing monotony of Paradise and of the life of the Angels.”) But Futurism wasn’t unpopular, and the pasta ban had ardent advocates of its own. Italian writer Marco Ramperti, for example, lambasted the beloved repast in a highly imaginative op-ed.

“[Pasta] puffs out our cheeks like grotesque masks on a fountain, it stuffs our gullets as if we were Christmas turkeys, it ties up our insides with its flabby strings; it nails us to the chair, gorged and stupefied, apoplectic and gasping, with [a] sensation of uselessness …” he wrote. “Our thoughts wind round each other, get mixed up and tangled like the vermicelli we’ve taken in.”

The Movement Loses Steam

Marinetti collected the best testimonies from scientists, chefs, and literary firebrands like Ramperti and reproduced them in 1932’s La Cucina Futurista (“The Futurist Cookbook”), which also contained Futurist recipes and instructions for hosting various kinds of Futurist dinner parties. But the 1930s were an exceptionally tumultuous decade for the country—which faced the Great Depression, Adolf Hitler’s growing influence, a war with Ethiopia, the Spanish Civil War, and eventually World War II—and Italian citizens were focused less on what they were eating and more on simply eating.

Two Neapolitan boys eating plates of pasta, date unknown.Bain News Service, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division // No Known Restrictions on Publication

Furthermore, Futurism soon ran afoul of fascism. In 1937, Hitler decried modern art as “degenerate,” anti-nationalist, and somehow inherently Jewish. Though Marinetti spoke out against these associations, anti-Semitism had already infected Italy, and fascists started condemning the Futurist movement. Since Mussolini was courting Hitler as an ally, his regime’s ties to Futurism could easily have become a political liability. In 1939, when Marinetti published a fiery denial of Hitler’s accusations in a Futurist journal called Artecrazia, the government forced it to shutter.

So, by the 1940s, Marinetti was no longer spewing consistent vitriol against pasta, Il Duce was no longer supporting the Futurist movement, and the world at large was consumed with much greater threats than linguini-induced languor. And if Marinetti ever entertained fantasies about resurrecting the cause after the war, he never got the chance—he died of a heart attack in December 1944, just months before the deaths of both Mussolini and Hitler the following April.