(Sweet, sweet coffee)
I cannot do without coffee. In the “Year of Water”**, hereafter to be known as the “Quarter Year of Water” because that was how long I lasted, I drank nothing but water and milk. I suffered actual psychological trauma. Oh, exaggerating, you say? ‘Fraid not.
Long after my body had withdrawn from the caffeine, actual sadness was created by my missing my morning cup of coffee. I tried to substitute. When I crumbled and let myself have milk because my calcium was down, I tried hot chocolate in the morning. It was sort of like having sparkling grape juice on New Year’s Eve. Not bad, but a pale shadow of the real thing.
Coffee cannot go. I love coffee. I need coffee. Water’s nice and has a steady job and everything, but in the QYoW, I yearned for an affair with coffee. Yearned. Days without coffee were like a prison sentence. There are still hatch marks on my wall. Ok, that’s a lie, but I did count the final days of the quarter year like an inmate. I won’t label that first cup of coffee as the absolute best I have ever had, but I may have wept a few grateful tears of joy. Don’t judge.
So, coffee must be in the budget. Good coffee. Not that mangy freeze-dried imposter of coffee. The real deal. Here’s how you spend @ $3.50 a week on coffee –
Starbucks coffee at an actual Starbucks is cheaper than the kind they sell in the grocery store. 1/4 lb of Pike’s Place will run about $2.50. I buy it each week. This seems like a hassle, but it’s really not if you live in an urban area. Spit. You’ll hit a Starbucks. There are few kinds in the $10 range. The best price I see at the grocery store when it goes on sale is $7.99, but those packages are only 12 ounces. So works out to be about the same. If I am gifted some or need to buy more than 1/4 lb at a crack, I stash the surplus in the freezer in an airtight, opaque container. Air, light, moisture, and heat are the enemies of coffee. And yes, I know, it is better if you grind your own. Since I only keep mine around a very short time, I let the good people at starbucks do that for me. I try to go on off-times, when there’s not a line out the door. Nobody likes that person. “Um, excuse me, can you put everyone’s caffeine fix and work day on hold to put my measly quarter pound in the grinder? Thanks.”
The ratio of water to coffee should be 2 Tbsp to 6-8 ounces of water. 2 Tbsp is about 1/2 ounce. Maybe a little less. I can get 8 of those a week out of a 1/4 lb. Sometimes, I have to have another cup, so I make 2, and put what I don’t use in a designated container in the fridge. At the end of the week, if I have run out of coffee to brew, I can still do iced coffee, which has its own charms.
1 cup of coffee – 0.34
I don’t buy half and half. It’s pretty much a one trick pony. I buy whipping cream or heavy whipping cream. It’s the fat that cuts the bitterness, so I can use a lot less cream than half and half. Plus, creams have extremely long shelf lives because of their hyper-pasteurization. It’s possible to get 3-4 weeks out of them. But I don’t, because I can use them for so many things. On top of all that, they have a great mouth feel.
Cream is a lil’ pricey, it’s true. Heavy more than plain ol’ whipping and organic cream more than non-organic. I invest because I use it for tons of things. Just paid $3.39 for 32 Tbsp of Organic Heavy at Whole Foods (Hearafter known simply as WF) That’s $0.12 a tbsp. About 1/2 of that is what you need for your coffee each morning. $0.06 per cup equals $0.48 at the end of the week. So even organic heavy cream for coffee isn’t that expensive.
1 1/2 tsp of organic heavy cream – 0.07
Sugar is one of those items I find that I can buy generic and it makes little difference at all. Except for the price tag. I can easily get it for about 5 cents an ounce and possibly less. 2 tsp daily are in the neighborhood of $0.05 a week.
2 tsp sugar – .01
Weekly starbucks coffee with organic cream and sugar-$3.33
$0.42 a cup
With just sugar, it’s $2.80 a week, if you take it black, $2.75
Paper filters are @ $0.02 a crack