Friday, July 25, 2008

The price of a cup of coffee


I'm told that the going price for a cup of coffee at the coffee house two blocks east of here is 2 bucks. Now I may look dumb, but I'm sure as hell not dumb enough to pay 2 bucks for a cup of coffee, especially if it's one of them sissyfied brews, hazelnut bannana delight or somesuch. I'll just keep making my own thank you very much.

I get my coffee at Hy-Vee West and these days it comes ground up in a can with Hy-Vee written on it. In the interests of science, I just made a field trip. The 2-pound can of Hy-Vee breakfast blend that I paid 7 bucks for a couple of weeks ago is selling this morning for $5 --- bought another can. Same size can of Folgers was "on sale" for about $10. Bulk whole-bean Millstone was about $10 a pound and you could pick up 12-ounce packages of Seattle's Best and other fancy brands for something like $7 --- on sale.

Now I have aspired (once or twice a year) to coffee greatness. I have two coffee grinders, one here and one in Chariton, and when the urge to excel hits I buy Hy-Vee's whole-bean fair trade brand, still selling for $7.99 a pound. It doesn't seem to sell very well, probably because the marketing geniuses in Des Moines have decided it should be in the health food aisle where most of the people who buy coffee --- and have no idea what fair trade means --- never see it. I buy it (a) because it's the cheapest whole-bean brand available (probably because it's been sitting around a long time) and (b) because I can feel self-righteous when I do it.

But the truth of the matter is I have a tin tongue --- now matter how expensive (or inexpensive) the coffee is it all tastes about the same to me unless it has some damnfool flavoring in it. I make a pot in the morning, drink a few cups, throw the rest away the next morning when I make another pot --- and that's it.

OK. OK. I did have an espresso machine once that also spat steam out a little tube and bubbled up hot milk to make that coffee drink I've forgotten the name of that has a fuzzy white top. But when I found out how much time it took to clean the blessed thing after making a cup I stuck it in a cupboard and finally fed it to a garbage bag. Life is too short ....

We're living in hard times you know --- the end result of an economy built on layers of air and the improbable idea that everything can keep getting bigger and bigger, businesses can keep making more and more and we'll always be able to afford to buy tons of stuff (only a small percentage of which we need). They tell us it's going to get better. But it isn't, brothers and sisters. It's going to be a bumpy ride, so hold onto your hats.

Meanwhile I'm drinking another cup of cheap Hy-Vee breakfast blend this morning while awaiting the apocalypse, holding onto my hat and hoping the coffee doesn't spill on the way down.

1 comment:

Ed Abbey said...

Just about every prepackaged prepared food is like that. A person can cut the grocery bill in half just by shopping in bulk and buying raw foods. I can think of a lot better ways to spend my money than buying already made $2 cups of coffee.