5 Very, Very (Very) Affordable Coffees in San Francisco

Simply existing on this mortal coil is expensive enough — so here’s how you can save some money on coffee in SF.

San Francisco and grossly expensive coffee drinks go hand in hand. Arguably, it’s the metro that popularized the $5 coffee (and the ensuing meme culture and societal fodder about how Millennials are throwing away their ability to buy property by purchasing these pricey drinks). There’s no shortage of ways to drop your tax return on boutique caffeine indulgences in SF, for sure.

That said: There are a few frugal coffee hacks us coupon-clipping consumers can take advantage of in the seven-by-seven. Here are five of our favorites that could save you some major coin (though probably not enough to bundle up in a downpayment for an SF condo).

Capital One Cafe’s 50% off Peet’s Coffee drinks

Nested on the perimeter of Union Square, the only physical branch of Capital One in the SF Bay Area has a lil’ — well, rather large — a cafe that’s open to the public. The sprawling, two-story cafe also has free Wifi for patrons. The best part? Capital One cardholders automatically get 50% off any “handcrafted” beverage or poured coffee at Peet’s Coffee cafe when paying with any one of their cards.

101 Post Street, San Francisco; More info. 

Automat’s free refills

Automat has a *phenomenal* spread of open-faced sandwiches and gourmet pastries. But they’re not exactly affordable; we’re talking $15 sandos (though are worth every Lincoln). However, there’s a hidden frugal gem at the eatery: Free refills on drip coffee. After you forfeit $4.50 for an in-house coffee, plop yourself down — maybe with your laptop open to a CMS portal — and enjoy the following cups, sans monies. 

1801 McAllister Street; More info.

Latte Expess’s $1.75 espresso shots

Objectively cheap espresso? In this economy? Absolutely. Latte Express has three locations in San Francisco, all of which offer $1.75 espresso shots. Coffees, iced and hot dripped, are $2 here and there’s even a hot chocolate offered for the same price. We love to see it/hear it/buy it.

Three locations in SF; More info.

Unlimited refills at Starbucks (with the Starbucks Reward program)

Shake your head and put your nose up to Starbucks all you want; we’ll join you in those gestures. But sometimes, you just need/want an affordable cup of coffee that’ll do the trick — and Starbucks is the epitome of that. Hat tip: Those who hold a loyalty program card that’s been upgraded to Gold Member status, which is hella easy to meet, get unlimited brew coffee and iced coffee (including cold brew!) refills. If you really wanna penny-pinch, get your last iced coffee refill without ice (so you can then store it in your home fridge) before heading out the cafe doors.

Literally around nearly any street corner in San Francisco; More info.

Stable Cafe’s $3 drip coffee

This Mission District cafe is probably our favorite outdoor cafe to grab a coffee at and comb through our emails. Moreover: It also has a surprisingly affordable drip coffee option, which sits as an albatross the rest of the rather expensive menu (read: the stereotypical $4.50-plus espresso drink options). If it starts raining/getting a bit chilly outside, don’t forget that there’s a small lofted seating area right above the barista station.

2128 Folsom Street; More info.


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