Essays

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Coffee, Tea, or Me?

I wanted to give you a simple example of a small change that you probably never thought of. It is meant as a way to both improve your life and serve as an example of the benefits of thinking “outside the box.” The “box” being your daily routine. Pre-pandemic many of us liked to get a cup of something at our favorite coffee shop. Part of the reason for going was the ambience. However, the pandemic broke that routine for us.

            Recently, I have noticed that there are long drive-in lines at the local Starbucks. People sit in their cars in the early morning for 10-15 minutes to get a cup. People do this because they are addicted to coffee and are either in a hurry or because indoor seating ended.

            A 16-ounce Americano Grande costs around $4.50. If you do this seven days a week for a year the cost is a little over $1,600. You can buy the top of the line De'Longhi Dinamic for $1,500 from Amazon. Now, I am not pushing the De’Longhi. I just happen to own one. Over the years, I have tried different espresso machines and like this one.

            My point is that buying such a machine pays for itself in one year. The really big payoff is that I get up in the morning, walk downstairs in my bathrobe, and simply push a button. And presto, I have a cup of espresso made from my choice of freshly ground Columbian beans. I don’t have to wait in a line of cars after dressing and driving to the place.

            I don’t know about you, but the time before I get my morning coffee is not exactly time well spent or enjoyable. But then, I am not a morning person. I really look forward to that first cup of espresso. I actually bought a cheaper machine as a backup just in case of a machine failure. Of course, I was an urban planner by profession and I plan for all contingencies. Your typical survivalist has a year’s supply of dehydrated food and lots of ammunition. For me the greatest existential crisis is not getting my morning espresso.