Odds and Sods – The Coffee Conundrum

We recently stopped subsidizing coffee at work. No longer does the Staples Guy, or the W. B. Mason gal, or Mr UPS come in with their merry cart with a variety of K-cup packs… Hawaiian Blend, Breakfast Blend, Nantucket Blend, spreading cheer to all before him.

Coffee supplied by the organization was in the form of Keurig K-Cups that contained brand-name coffee from Green Mountain Roasters, Starbucks, Pete’s, etc. We also would have a smattering of more exotic K-cups, such as green tea. This is not unlike almost every other office in the U.S. at this point.

As a person whose existence depends on this vital substance, this has been an interesting exercise. I’ve believe that I was placed on this earth as a vessel to take coffee as a raw material and convert it into software, so it was a bit of a wrench. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do next, now that I’ve been thrown back on my own resources.

I usually start my day at home with a mug of freshly ground Vermont Coffee Company coffee. This is a fair-trade coffee that costs about $13.00 per pound.  I calculated that one mug costs about 40 cents. (which doesn’t include the cost of the filter). It is delicious. 
The cheapest Keurig coffee is about 55 cents per cup. A quick check at the mall showed Staples selling a pack of 18 for $9.99 for Starbucks cups. The Christmas Tree Shop had similar prices but with really dodgy brands. To be fair, my shop was subsidizing my coffee habit at 4 or 5 cups per day; call it $2.75 or so, or almost $14.00 per week.

Once I started doing long divisions, I also found the following:

Premium tea bags – Bigalow or Twinings English Breakfast comes in at about 14 cents per cup. (assuming the hot water is free. We actually get heated spring water out of our cooler, so maybe it would be another penny for the water, call it a total of 15 cents).

Cheap(ish) white wine, a Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio costs from $7.00 to $9.00 per 750ml bottle. I can get about 5 glasses per bottle, so my wine consumption comes in at $1.40 – 1.80 per glass.

Boxed tomato soup from Pacifica is $4.00 per package. I can probably get 3 servings out of a pack, at $1.33 each.

So, apart from tap water, which tastes fine around here… tea seems to be a pretty cost-effective beverage, especially compared to wine or coffee when consumed in the office. It also makes you wonder about the 500% markup for beverages consumed elsewhere. At our Starbucks, a Grande Pike is $2.15. Most restaurant wine is $6.00 to $8.00 per glass.

So, I’m going to try to really like tea.

But,  why stop here?

My round-trip commute is around 30 miles. Gas now costs $2.75 per gallon, and I get 50 mpg on my old Prius. So, I’m spending $1.65 on gas per day.

Unless I take my bike in which case the commute is $0.00. But then, Ben and Jerry’s premium ice cream is on sale at $2.75 per pint.  I can get two to three servings per pint. Add the hot fudge and and walnuts..  and … never mind.  

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