Don’t skimp on the coffee

One of the great things about having Ms. WM leave town until September is that I finally control the purse, and am getting closer and closer (baby steps!) to wearing the pants.

As DJ likes to describe his approach to finances as “ratshit cheap bastard,” I prefer to describe myself as “willing to spend anything except money.”

So when we ran out of coffee it was a great time to improve on our home economy by purchasing something more reasonably priced than Trader Joe’s 28-oz. can of Organic Morning Wakeup Breakfast Blend, because $14.99 is a ton of money to spend on burnt beans.

As a pretend cyclist and profamateur opponent of Confederate flag bike races, morning coffee isn’t simply important. It is the morning. The day that begins with bad coffee gets hit with the “replay” button–I go back to bed and wait for 24 hours, then try again. The day that begins with no coffee doesn’t even begin.

So I walked over to the Pavilion’s. This is a fancy supermarket owned by Safeway, where for something that costs $1.00 at Safeway you can pay $2.00 and enjoy the thought that you are morally better and financially more stable than all of those impoverished heathens forced to shop at lesser-branded stores. I enjoyed my feeling of superiority and was only marginally bothered by my dirty t-shirt, broken flip-flops, and home buzzcut that I’d kind of messed up in the back.

I stood in the coffee aisle, first mesmerized and then outraged. Coffee cost $7.99 AND UP for a 10-oz. bag of unground beans? Are you fuggin’ kidding me? I checked to make sure the prices were dollars, not drachmas, reais, or pesos.

As I left the Starbucks and Peets shelves I moved along to the right, where name brands became less familiar and prices began to dip a bit. “Senor Ortiz’s Guatemalan Blend” for $6.99. “Colombian Superior” for $5.99. Then I left the 10-oz. bag section and hit the plastic buckets labeled with the names of my childhood. “If it’s Folger’s, it’s got to be good!” The prices were looking even better.

Then at the end of the line I came to the steel cans. Standing at the end was a small assemblage of fine coffee products made by “Pantry Essentials.” The 11.5-oz. can cost a mere $2.49.

“How bad can it be?” I wondered.

“Fucking undrinkably nastily raw-sewagish terrible,” my inner coffee voice answered.

“Yeah, but if it’s undrinkable I can toss it. It’s only $2.49.”

“You never toss anything once you’ve paid for it,” said Inner Voice.

“Ok, then I’ll drink it. It will only take a few days anyway.”

“What about your son?”

I paused. In fact I’d forgotten that the other coffee consumer was my eldest son. He was quiet, polite, clean, ate everything he was served, worked hard, and had only one small pleasure in life, which was his morning coffee. “He may not know the difference,” I told Inner Voice.

“You are Satan,” said Inner Voice, and went back to bed.

The next morning I opened the lid of the Pantry Essentials coffee. It smelled awful. I put three heaping spoons into the coffee press, because we don’t have a coffee maker. I poured over some boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes. I plunged the press and poured the coffee. The awful smell had intensified. It had the odor of something that’s been between your teeth for a few days, or that funny stink that comes out of the disposal when you’ve been putting lots of crap down it and have forgotten for a week or so to run the motor.

“Better cut this shit with heavy cream, lots,” I thought, and did.

That first sip of morning glory was gnarly. Thousands of Davidson taste buds marched off to their death with that swallow. I grit my teeth and drank the cup. “Maybe,” I said as I left for my morning bike ride — a coffee cruise — “he won’t notice.”

When I got home he had gone to work. And he had left me a note.


So, I guess he noticed.



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30 thoughts on “Don’t skimp on the coffee”

  1. Well I guess I’m lucky my son doesn’t drink coffee then, cause I’m sittin here drinking my morning store brand coffee from a can… and lovin it.

    1. Fancy coffee is like heroin. Once you’re hooked, meth doesn’t do the trick anymore.

  2. Let’s not overlook your son’s use of Magic: The Gathering cards to drive the point home. I believe those are the “Mana Crypt” and “Deathrite Shaman” cards. Can’t make out the third one but I think we can all agree just from the first two that he must be REALLY po’d.

  3. You wouldn’t mind refunding next month’s subscription price so I can compare fairly, swill-to-swill, would you?

    1. I’d be happy to! Although my swill is locally produced and 100% organic, produced as it is through a fully natural recycling procedure that terminates with a mild grunt.

  4. Costco has brand name coffee for less. Two pounds of Peet’s Major Dickason’s for $16. And they have grinders. If you don’t have a Costco card, i do. Happy to go with you. (Poor Hans.)

  5. Cafe Bustelo and French Market are both good, strong, and taste a little bit better than their price-point would suggest.

    1. How do the used grounds work as hair tonic? I’m into dual use these days.

      1. Funny you should ask…the Alpecin of Giant-Alpecin is a consumer health company who’s main product is a shampoo containing caffeine. You already ride a Giant don’t you? Go the whole way with caffeine shampoo! Although be careful, its not really working out for Marcel Kittel.

        1. Glad to know that. Bike + hair tonic … I’m guessing chain lube for sure?

  6. I’m pretty sure that if I ever did this, my wife would destroy all of the bikes, and then leave me…

    1. I know mine would. It’s no accident that this experiment was carried out with the Pacific Ocean as a buffer zone.

  7. You probably paid more for your cup of coffee on the coffee ride than the WHOLE can of coffee for your morning coffee! Every time you make coffee at home and don’t get a cup at the coffee shop, put a couple bucks in a piggy bank. After a week or two, you can go buy the most premier coffee out there.

    Don’t skimp on coffee. Save the skimping for clothes, shoes, cars, etc.

    1. And don’t ever, ever, ever, ever skimp on 100% full carbon made of all-carbon with carbon!!!

  8. This year, I noticed that on coffee rides the balance has tipped — I spend more time at the cafe than on the bike. Such is the sad state of affairs.

    1. This is a massive benefit to general feelings of good health and not smelling bad after a “ride.”

  9. Miss a couple of haircuts. Let the batteries in your smoke detectors die. Skip a few oil changes and dental visits. Never skimp on your coffee. A man’s got to have his priorities.

  10. Here’s the deal: throw out the swill (but recycle the can) and go buy GOOD coffee for your kid. If he’s as nice as he sounds, he might share. After the first day, anyway. Otherwise, I will hold my subscription fee hostage….

    1. Done! He’s a very nice kid and always shares … holds open doors, says “thank you” to the bus boy, always offers to pay first. Wonder whose kid he really is?

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