Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Daily Double

I find myself looking forward to my double shot each morning – my half-caf short skim latte from Starbucks. It would seem that $2.59 is a small price to pay for such enjoyment. But holy shit, I just calculated that a year of caffeinated pleasure is costing me $945. Doesn’t sound so insignificant.

I have tried other coffee and have concluded that it’s that strong, smooth taste that I’m hooked on. Other coffees often leave my stomach on edge because of the excessive acid. But my habitual latte just leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction.

It’s more than the coffee that attracts me to Starbucks. I love checking out the attire of the other customers. I love seeing what everyone else orders. I love watching mothers interact with their young children as they wait for the fix that will make them so much nicer. I love the conversations I strike up while I wait for my latte. I love sitting down with my coffee klatch friends at the 8th & Penn Starbucks. I love the way we all hold the door for each other on entrance and exit.

I wonder why it is that I never try the more exotic coffees. Today I noticed an ad for banana coconut frappucino. That has no appeal for me. I could probably get hooked on mocha, but I don’t need the extra calories. So I stick with what I know I like, at least minimizing the price that I am paying for this habit of mine.

Are you a Starbucks addict? If so, what do you order?


Blogger Richard said...

I don't think I have ever had a Starbucks coffee.

I find that I am very partial to Cuban coffee, it has a wonderful rich, smooth and aromatic taste and aroma - some Brazilian coffees come close.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm addicted to Diet Coke. Free at work. I've done the math on Starbucks, too, and haven't allowed myself to get pulled in. I should probably do the math on my other habits...

10:39 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

COFFEE! Starbuck Mocha. Special occasions with all that whipped cream. Millstone or Kroger Breakfast Blend and Swiss Almond Chocolate!

11:05 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

I used to be an habitual Starbuck's patron, sucked in by a $5 gift card from my real estate broker. After 1 1/2 drinks on the card, I automatically added $ to it. This year I got a parking space in a different building. Adjacent to the building's exit is a Caribou. Now I have a Caribou card as well as the Starbucks. Both establishments are located close to my condo as well, although Caribou is not open Sundays. I am addicted to the establishments, not necessarily the products. I choose not to delve into how much $ I am spending but perhaps I should delve into the habitual behavior that drives me to refill the cards and revisit the venues.

Or maybe not...........

11:12 AM  
Blogger wharman said...

I'm not much of a coffee hound (liquor is quicker) but there's something to be said for a satisfying daily routine. Satisfaction sometimes comes more expensively than $945 per year, so you might even be getting a deal.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Jamy said...

For something that gives you that much pleasure, it doesn't seem like too much money to me. Sure, you could make a latte at home for half the price--but you are supporting the economy by going to Starbucks (and my mom owns some stock).

I favor a short cappuccino. Or a tall coffee frappuchino.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Red said...

I justify my Starbucks with the fact that it's cheaper than smoking, which I quit about two years ago.
I used to get the lattes but they are very sweet and pricy. Now I prefer a tall coffee of the day with one splenda and half & half ($1.69).
But now... My Starbucks is pissing me off on King Street in Alexandria. So I walk five blocks to the next one and only get one a day if that anymore.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Bengal said...

Now, figure that to spend $945, you need pre-tax income of about $1575 (assuming combined federal, state and county taxes of 40%).

Oh, no, wait a minute, that's not where I wanted to go. I pretty much agree with Jamy. It sounds like a lot for a cup of joe, but it's really the whole experience of savoring that cup while reading, talking, and watching others that adds value to the coffee.

But you can brew good coffee and espresso at home, and at much lower cost. I managed to talk myself into thinking that "it just tastes better if I drink it out of a Starbucks cup." I once watched a barista try to juggle, and then drop, a whole stack of cups. "Hey, you're not going to throw those in the trash, are you? I'd be happy to take them," I offered, and had myself a year's supply.

And, finally, if you question the value of Starbucks, there's alway's Joe's Roastery for contrast.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- Hasn't Starbucks made it to your part of Canada yet? Try one somewhere, sometime and tell me if you don't think it's a great taste.

Kristin -- You are much smarter than I am, really! But I don't have free Diet Coke available, even if I liked it.

OL -- You are obviously a coffee devotee!

Kate -- I can see that you and I approach this much the same way. I keep adding $25 to my card when it runs out and it seems rather insignificant.

Wendy -- I love your logic. It totally justifies my decadent behavior.

Jamy -- I hope your Mom is raking in big dividends on my support of this company. I should be buying their stock instead of their coffee.

Red -- You sound as addicted as I am but at a much lower price. Maybe I will change my daily order. It's the same amount of caffeine.

Bengal -- You always just crack me up! I have given some unserious thought to brewing my own, but after the initial investment in some pricey equipment, I'm sure I would quickly tire of the cleanup to make one lousy cup of coffee a day. Love the cartoon!

4:54 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Starbucks is not my favorite coffee. I prefer Quartermaine's, some of the mom and pop places, and some that I brew myself (all decaf). I used to go there every morning when there was one in my office building lobby. I think they put crack in it to keep people coming back. What amuses me most about Starbucks is the growing array of non-coffee goods they sell, including CDs, sweets, etc. One day, they'll sell jeans, and people will never leave. They will eat, drink, shop for clothes and food, hold meetings and work there. They will probably start having nurseries there too.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Matt -- You're right. Starbucks has already moved into Safeway. All we need is the nursery! I must confess that I bought a Travel Scrabble game out of one of those bins at my local Starbucks while I waited in line for my latte. I'm feeling like I've been had!

9:26 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I just noticed that WAPO Express picked this one up.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

We have Starbuck's here but I find it too strong and it has a burnt smell to me. Most people here are hooked on Tim Hortons. I'm boring, I just order 1/2 decaf, cream and sweeteners! My husband is an addict! Large Black!

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get a Venti Coffee from Starbucks every morning - I knwo that adds up to 10 dollars a week, but I dont buy lunch (which is so much mroe expensive) so why not treat myself? The experience is awesome too - the Starbucks on H and 22nd is my favorite - I walk in, they have my coffee being prepared the second I open the door, I have my money and I am out - a few quick words as I grab my joe...I feel like I am "known" in the great city of DC. I just changed offices however and dont have that same experience at the new Starbucks...not yet actually ; )

8:51 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- Try a latte. I had the same reaction to the straight stuff.

Anonymous -- You reminded me that one thing I love about Starbucks is how they know me and know exactly what I want. They treat me like I am a friend, even though they don't know my name. I'm sure you will develop the same rapport with your new Starbucks. That's just the way it works.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Oh yes, there are plenty of Starbucks around (not as ubiquitous as Tim Horton's), but plenty enough nonetheless.

Most Chapters bokstores I know have a Starbucks in them.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I'm not a coffee drinker (the caffeine and the acidity make me rather ill), but every fall when the weather cools off I start going into Starbucks nearly every morning for a hot chocolate or chai. Eventually I realize how much I'm spending (and on extra calories) and make a New Year's resolution to go only once every other week for a treat. It's a surprisingly easy resolution to stick with (probably because I don't cut myself off altogether). It might be harder to keep the resolution if Starbucks had decaf chai.

11:47 AM  
Blogger salty said...

Triple. Grande. Latte.

All my money are belong to Starbucks. BUT... I have a Starkbucks credit card, so I at least get some free coffee each month.

I recommend dating an employee. Best route to free Starbucks Coffee.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Salty -- I didn't even know there was such a thing as a Starbucks credit card. How much do you have to spend to get a free cup of coffee? So it's Joe instead of miles, eh? It's a little too late for me to consider dating a Starbucks employee, but I'll keep it in mind for my next life...

8:45 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Salty -- Another thought: maybe I have now found my job for retirement!

8:46 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Well, judging by the response to this post, we sure know what topic piques peoples' interest! Don't know what that says about us though!

9:23 PM  

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