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– How much do you consume?

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I enjoy a good cup of coffee. I recently celebrated a birthday and in doing a little simple math I determined I have consumed over 25,000 cups of coffee in my lifetime; that’s over 1,500 gallons of coffee and a heckofa lot of caffeine.

I began drinking coffee while in college in order to stay up late at night to write a paper or cram for a test. Like a lot of people, I started out by adding cream and sugar to make it palatable, kind of a creamy flavor. Over time though, I learned to drink it black and believe I have a better appreciation for coffee than when I put in all of the additives (plus there are a lot less calories in a black cup of coffee).

I’ve sampled coffee from around the world and admittedly some countries are better than others. For example, in Japan, a country that specializes in green tea, it’s difficult to find a really good cup of coffee. Brazil has some excellent coffee which they drink in small espresso-like cups. Brazilians jokingly admit the most important person in a company is the “Coffee boy/girl” as they wander around pouring coffee for anyone wanting it. The coffee is rather thick and strong. Consequently, most people add sugar to sweeten it up. They were amazed I could drink it black, cup after cup.

When I entered the workforce in the 1970’s, just about everyone seemed to drink a cup of coffee. Not so anymore. Now it seems people prefer some sort of tea or bottled water. I guess this is why I’m surprised companies like Starbucks have become so successful selling coffee. Somehow they were able to take a mundane product, put a new spin on it, and make quite a bit of money off of it. It used to be you would pay as little as a nickel, dime or quarter for a cup of coffee. In New York we would jokingly refer to the “Manhattan Breakfast” as two cigarettes and a cup of coffee for 55 cents. However, Starbucks and others have turned the simple cup of coffee into a prestige or elegant dessert, kind of like what you see at a pastry shop, and for a price much heftier than your pocket change. You really have to hand it to American marketing on this one; to take something which costs pennies to make and turn it into a cash cow.

I find it all rather amusing how some people like to hold a pseudo-intellectual conversation about the merits of their favorite coffee. What was once known as “the rocket fuel of business” has become the “national pastime for frivolous discourse.” As for me, I just wanted the buzz.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

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Tim is a writer and management consultant located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

2 comments to FOR THE LOVE OF COFFEE

  • Tim,

    Me, I rather enjoy the conversation over the cup of coffee as much as the beverage at Wendy’s, which (the beverage) there for seniors is free. And, yep, I’m one of those who puts sweetener and cream in the coffee as well as a spoonful of “keychain” chocolate frosty to cool it, which is also free. I use coupons, so part of the breakfast, like oatmeal bar, is also free. I seldom spend more than $1.41 for the whole deal. Yeah, I do like the free part too! Ha. Definitely not a Starbucks guy–only had one cup there just to see what the noise was all about–and left unimpressed!


  • Mark –

    I’m totally in synch with you. I don’t know what the fuss is all about at Starbucks either; then again, I never understood the fascination with Madonna or Lady Gaga. I love a good cup of coffee and have had my fair share, but I never understood the obsession with it.

    All the Best,

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