The One About $2190 Coffee

So one of the things I learned today is if you don’t fall asleep until 3:30 in the morning and you wake up three hours late, everything is three hours behind schedule and when you go to start shooting a video, everybody can see you wearing the same clothes as yesterday.

Hi there, my name is Athol and this vlog episode is going to be all about coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, alrighty, coffee.

One of the things I talked about briefly in yesterday’s episode is that we live in this giant commercial ecosystem that wants us to be obedient little drones that are going out and just spending money. Coffee is a great example of this.

One of the things my wife and I love going for walks, we have this mile and a half circuit around the neighborhood, and about half way around the circuit is a fancy coffee shop, and we would get a fancy coffee. Between the two of us it usually ran about $6. A cup for me, a cup for her. And $6 is not that much for a little treat. But then when it becomes part of your daily routine, well then you’re spending $42 a week, $180 a month, and $2190 a year.

And $2,190 a year is a completely insane figure for a cup of coffee each. I’m pretty sure if someone said to me, hey, you can spend $2000 and be in a Cup of Coffee of the Day club, I would have said no because that would have been such an insane amount of money to pay.

So we did this for a long time and eventually said we’re spending way too much on coffee, this is absolutely ridiculous and we broke down and bought one of those Keurig things.

If you don’t know what a Keurig is, it’s an automatic coffee maker, using disposable little K-cups so you can make exactly one cup of coffee. It’s a lot cheaper than going to Fancy Coffee Store. But each one of those little K-cups is fifty cents each and if you drink about four cups of coffee between the two of you, well that’s $2 a day, about $14 a week, about $60 a month, and $730 a year.

So that was fine and it worked for us for quite a while. Eventually our Keurig machine broke down and we didn’t really want to spend $120-140 bucks on something that might not move with us. We decided on a French press because it’s small, it’s cheap, and we can just toss it away when we move.  The French press coffee comes in a bag, and is actually costing us about fifty cents a day for four cups of coffee. Fifty cents a day, $3.50 a week, $15 a month and $182.50 a year to have the same amount of coffee that we had before when we were buying fancy coffee.

So $182.50 French Press vs. $2,190 Fancy Store Coffee.

Let’s talk about the fancy coffee. Now ironically, the fancy coffee from the Fancy Coffee Store is one of the slowest, most expensive, least convenient and most annoying things to actually get. It means you have to get up in the morning. You have to get dressed. You have to get in your car. You have to drive down to the store. You have to stand in line. You have to fish money out of your wallet, and then you have to hope that the person on the other side of the counter is going to get your order right. It’s so enraging when they get your order wrong because you’ve spent so much effort into getting there and it is so expensive to buy, that when they get it wrong it is incredibly frustrating.

One cream, two sugars! How hard is it? You’ve got one job. All you do is make coffee!

So it costs a lot, plus you’re addicted. Often though it’s really more of an emotional addiction, an emotional craving, a sense of being validated. It may as well be a stand in for a baby bottle for adults. Oh, ba ba how we missed you.

Plus it’s touching that someone you know, understands you and gets you and can remember something about you. The people serving you coffee remember who you are by name and by face and they can start making the coffee before you’ve even ordered it because they know your order. That’s a really powerful thing, and you know it’s really powerful because sometimes when your favorite coffee people aren’t there, you can actually experience a negative emotional reaction.

But I don’t want another person to make my coffee, I want Tiffany to make my coffee.

If you’ve every tried to actually just give up coffee and pull yourself off it completely, very often it’s hard to do. But interestingly it’s not often the caffeine itself that’s the true addiction, it’s the sugar that gets put into the coffee. If you’ve been getting giant store-bought fancy coffees, what’s really addictive is the giant pumps of hazelnut sweetener that goes into the coffee. So when you stop going there and you stop drinking it, it’s not that you’re having caffeine withdrawal, it’s that you have low blood sugar. And you’re addicted to the sugar as much as the coffee. I dare you, if you ever want to come off coffee, try getting off the sugar first and you’ll see how amazingly easy it is to take or leave the caffeine.

So anyway, we stopped doing the Fancy Store Coffee thing. We got the Keurig, we used it for a while. It crapped out and then we bought the French press. So let me tell you the most interesting thing about the French press. We use the exact same brand of coffee we’d been using in the K-cups. We just came to a default setting of this is our coffee. This exact same brand of coffee tasted so much better in the French press compared to the Keurig.

Did it take longer to make, yes it did. It took time for the water to boil. (Full disclosure: we smelted a kettle twice. Okay once it was totally my fault. Second time it was like that when I found it.) We would have to boil the water for the French press and let it sit. It was sort of a slower, more methodical approach to making coffee. But it’s stronger, it has more of an aroma, and it’s more satisfying.

The more I thought about it, the K-cup thing is nice, it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s convenient but the only reason to use a K-cup over a French press is because you’re impatient. Because you have to have things right now. Because you’re caught up in the whole instant gratification. I’ll have something crappy as long as I have it right now. It’s the whole dopamine thing. It’s the need to be updated endlessly. It’s the checking my phone version of coffee. THE French press is a little more communal. We make coffee together. It’s a whole lot cheaper. It’s reusable. It doesn’t have the waste.

So anyway summing up, I really don’t care if you get the Fancy Store coffee. I don’t care if you use a Keurig. I don’t think I’m a better person because I use a French press. I’m not on a mission to get everyone to use French presses. All I’m saying is that there are choices here that you are probably making completely unconsciously. That there’s a pattern of interaction that you’re probably just falling into.

All I’m really saying is be mindful.

So anyway that is today’s episode. I do this each and every day and I will catch you tomorrow.

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