Can’t tell whether this is an indicator of a bad economy or good sense: Starbucks is really struggling. I’ve said this on multiple occasions, but let me repeat myself: just look at Starbucks’s brand tag cloud. It’s not that Starbucks is expensive, it’s that Starbucks is overpriced. It’s an important distinction. You can do better on your own without buying pricey equipment. Here’s my advice:

Bodum travel press, $9.99*

Coffee grinder (here’s one for $12, YMMV–decent ground coffee is still pretty good, though)

Intelligentsia or Metropolis coffee ($10-$15; alternately, if you work downtown, there are a couple convenient locations for Intelligentsia; certainly if you’re going to the Cultural Center or Millennium Park, you should stop in)

Grind the coffee while the water heats, and let the coffee brew while you’re walking to the bus stop.

You would need more sophisticated equipment for a latte or whatnot, but consider the possibility that you are drinking those because Starbucks coffee really isn’t very good. Anyway, I’m a fan of Intelligentsia (haven’t had much Metropolis) because it’s local, thoughtfully traded, and they’re craftsmen. Last year my former colleague Tasneem Paghdiwala did a cover story on Matt Riddle, “the stealth bomber of baristas.” I shot some video that didn’t pan out for use, but just observing him create a surprisingly refreshing ginger-lime coffee drink was a pleasure.

Handy hint: Intelligentsia does individual blends for local restaurants, and the blend at Flo, which is a fine restaurant in its own right and my favorite brunch spot, is the best coffee I’ve ever had, ever.

*Perhaps the best $10 you will ever spend. The best $15 you will ever spend is on MLB Gameday Audio.