Saturday, June 18, 2005


how to save yourself big bucks

i mean, US$55,341. that's how much your daily mermaid latte habit is costing you, as opposed saving that money and banking the interest on it.

this figure comes up in a discussion of whether law students are digging themselves into humongous debt -- lattes apparently forming a signficant share of that burden.

long-time readers note that i have always been a major advocate of making your own coffee at home. because frankly not only is it much cheaper, it's patently much better quality.

even if you were to splurge on US$150 alessi designer cafetiére (the proper name for a french press), US$100 on a burr grinder, and US$40 on 2 fancy coffee cups, and further, resolved to drink only kona, you'd still save soooo much money. and of course the coffee would be stellar, well beyond anything starbucks could hope to serve you.

it's important to remember that even US$25 a pound kona is a bargain as a beverage -- a pound of coffee makes about 40 6oz. cups. this means that even for the fanciest kona you're only paying US$0.63 a cup.

of course you can get many fantastic prize-winning coffee origins for much less; say you were to indulge yourself for a pound of that stumptown "ravishing indigo" 2005 m.a.o. ethiopian harrar horse, which cost me (with substantial shipping) US$18. or US$0.45 a cup.

this rivals the cost of a can of soda when bought as a 6-pack at my local grocery store. and even this might be seen as extravagant, since many local independent roaster/retailers offer lovely house blends for around US$9 a pound, again just US$0.23 a cup.

and again, you'll be enjoying the highest-quality, most delicious coffee! plus, since you bought a set of 2 fancy cups, you can impressively entertain a special someone in high style, pouring from your rockin' alessi press.

so let's think about that; let's say you go whole hog on the alessi (actually attractive and functional cafetiéres can be had from bodum and others for US$40!) and drop US$300 on coffee bling.

you're free & clear over the starbucks in less than 17 weeks, even if you factor in the mythical US$75 of kona you're drinking the whole time. plus you're the envy of everyone you know. . .

if you buy the US$40 press and live on your local independent roaster's house blend, you're free so much sooner, probably just 8-9 weeks. and you're still drinking incredible fresh coffee, which you can share with your friends.

and you're sooo much thinner -- do you know how many calories are in those mermaid caramel macchiatos? you'd be shocked. . .

it's a no-brainer. what does disturb me about the above article, however, is the expert who suggests running anti-coffee ads, as for cigarettes. hey!

moderate coffee consumption has been proven beneficial for the health of both men and women by independent peer-reviewed studies, big guy -- something you absolutely cannot say for smoking tobacco. you can't make this comparison, not even for dramatic effect.

but this nonsense aside, i find the mermaid's new move to sell music amusing. it's been successful for them and the artists, no doubt.

before i used to note that starbucks actually is a milk business -- those drinks on the whole contain far more milk than coffee -- and with their ventures into wi-fi and now music, we see them wandering towards becoming a technology company!

soon the coffee and snacks will be mere inducements to get you into the store to buy music and (why not?) movies next. the wi-fi could morph logically into cell phone and other mobile technologies -- get your cool starbucks-branded mobile device, the "coffee cherry."

this is eerily similar to the old british coffee company lyons, which in the '50s flirted with early computer technology, at one time being one of the largest computer processing concerns in the world.

but of course the lyons empire fell apart in the late 70s, and was sold off in bits and pieces to kraft and paulig. . . altho' apparently the brand survives as a low-quality line. . .this may presage the eventual fate of starbucks, hmm?

posted by fortune | 12:20 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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