We sure got a lot of feedback about last week's tip regarding iced tea, and we'll get to that in a minute.
But first, we want to let iced coffee drinkers know we have a great tip for them, too.
It comes from Guy Bruno in Lower Macungie Township. He should get a job at Starbucks. He knows a lot about coffee.
"As I'm reading your column, I notice the part that says most of your tips come from women," Guy said. "While I can't answer why that is, at least I can give my gender some representation. This tip concerns what to do with those one or two cups of coffee that are left in the pot sometimes. This is probably not an original idea, but it might be worth something to somebody. Especially in summer, that leftover coffee can make a delicious iced coffee treat. Simply pour the coffee (the stronger the better) into a glass or insulated cup, add cream and sugar to taste, fill with ice, and enjoy."
Some of you are probably kicking yourselves right now, thinking about all the times you dumped the last cup or two of coffee into the sink, literally pouring money down the drain.
Guy has a clever technique for making iced coffee that a lot of coffee shops could learn from. He fills his cup halfway with coffee, adds his sweetener and stirs. Then he tops it off with ice. He's learned that the sweetener mixes in better before the ice is added. Have you ever purchased an iced-coffee and your first sip is a mouthful of grainy, coffee slurry? Not too refreshing.
Guy's iced coffee is perfectly blended. He demonstrates the technique in a video you can see at http://www.mcall.com/onthecheap.
This tip is especially useful for decaffeinated coffee drinkers. Most shops don't sell decaffeinated iced coffee. Guy's wife, Sue Bruno, has to watch her caffeine. Now she can enjoy a refreshing drink with him, instead of watching him drink something purchased at the store.
And we have one more tip for iced coffee lovers who really like it strong. This one comes from April Hall of Lansdowne, Delaware County, wife of Morning Call federal court reporter Pete Hall. Instead of putting her leftover coffee in a glass, she pours it into ice cube trays and freezes it. Then she uses them to make an iced coffee that doesn't get watered down when the ice melts. She sounds pretty smart, huh?
If you think this tip isn't such a big deal, you haven't paid close attention to the high price of iced coffee. Some places charge more than $3 for a large cup, making it more expensive than a gallon of gasoline.
We did some number crunching in the On The Cheap lab and figure this tip would save you $12,558 over 20 years if you use Guy's tip for a daily iced coffee during warm months rather than purchasing one at the store. That might be an On The Cheap record.
Now back to iced tea. We have to clear up some murkiness in the state tax laws.
Judy Velekei of Schnecksville called us to report she was charged tax on an iced tea she purchased at a McDonald's drive-through. We've known Judy for years and she doesn't like being overtaxed. She spoke with a manager, showing the newspaper column about tax-free iced tea and got her iced tea for a buck.
"Keep up the good work for the little guy, because it's not getting easier out there," Judy said.
Turns out McDonald's was correct in charging her sales tax. The tax-free iced tea rule does not apply to restaurants, including fast-food places like McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts, said Elizabeth Brassell, a spokeswoman with the state Revenue Department.
"There is a distinction between convenience stores and restaurants," Elizabeth said.
So you can still enjoy that tax-free iced tea from Wawa. But if you go to McDonald's, it'll cost you a bit extra.
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Don't toss that coffee
Cheapster: Guy Bruno
Tip: Save leftover morning coffee for iced coffee in afternoon
Estimated savings: $12,558 over 20 years