Published in the Rains County Leader on December 8, 2022:
Early last week I saw the following Facebook post from a young friend:
These uncaffeinated women at Starbucks in the morning have me laughing ….they really think beating me to the front door is going to make a difference. Lol. Joke’s really on them because I’ve already ordered my drink on my phone
I don’t usually get involved in any kind of social media exchange that could lead to an argument, but I couldn’t resist this one.
I have my coffee at home – less than 30 cents a cup including Italian Sweet Cream, I can drink it in my PJs, and I don’t have to fight anyone for it!
My young friend replied:
House coffee is great but having my coffee crafted by a barista is a whole other level of appreciation.
I didn’t think either of us would change our minds through further discussion, so I didn’t follow up, but I continued to think about the exchange for a while. The first thing I did was the math. I know the smaller, less fancy coffee drinks can cost as little as $3, but most people I know seem to order the larger sizes and go for the froth and flavors. And since round numbers are easier to work with, let’s say the average patron spends $5 a day on their coffee drink. Again, using round numbers, we’ll assume five days a week and fifty weeks a year. That adds up to a whopping $1,250 a year – for coffee! On the other hand, at 30 cents a cup at home, the annual cost is $75 – a difference of $1,175 a year. As David likes to say, it’s amazing what some people would rather have than money.
Of course, my young friend says that coffee crafted by a barista brings her a great deal more appreciation and satisfaction than home coffee. I agree that it’s fun to have someone wait on you, and having all the fancy equipment and ingredients on hand is a definite advantage. However, my tastes are very simple – literally. On the rare occasions I visit Reka’s, our local coffee shop, my regular order is a Simple Pleasures (caramel flavored) decaf with Sweet Cream. Interestingly, the creamer they use is the same brand I use at home. In addition, I prefer a ceramic cup to a paper one, and I prefer to enjoy it sitting on my favorite love seat instead of in my car.
After I compared the cost and the experience of commercial versus home coffee, I began thinking of things that give me a “whole other level of appreciation.” As often happens when people reach my age, the first thing that came to mind was my grandchildren. Mattias, our oldest grandchild, turned nineteen last month. Within the first year or two after he was born, his parents opened a special education fund for him and any future siblings. David and I, along with others who love him, committed to contribute a small amount monthly, and we continue to do so to this day. This year Mattias entered college, and because of this fund and a little extra kicked in by his parents and others who are more able, it looks like he will be able to complete his undergraduate degree with no debt. And there should be some left over for his younger sister Zoe who is in eighth grade this year. That fact brings me a greater level of appreciation than any cup of coffee can bring, and at about half the annual cost.
Mattias has ambitions to continue into a master’s program and maybe beyond. All of those who have contributed to his education thus far agree that the expense of any advanced degrees will be up to him. There is, after all, only so much satisfaction we can afford!