Where you get your coffee in the morning can say a lot about who you are as a person and how you’re doing in life. Personally, I’ve recently started bringing it from home in an effort to save a few bucks. I take my coffee black because I’m both a tough guy and concerned about drinking too many calories. As an added bonus, my roommates think the recent studies are right and drinking black coffee makes me a “psychopath.” I couldn’t disagree more, but it keeps them on their toes, so they complain less when I don’t pull my fair share of cleaning.
I drink a borderline heart-stopping amount of coffee all day, every day, and throughout my life I’ve changed where I get my coffee from many times. A few months back, I wrote up a column about how my office doesn’t have a coffee maker, and I’m slowly going broke because of it. I’ve come a long way since then, exploring a variety of different options when it comes to taste, location, and cost.
Starbucks is for closers; there’s no getting around it. Back when I went to Starbucks every morning, almost everyone was dressed business formal or a wealthy mother in head to toe Lululemon. There was no gray area in this sea of coastal, liberal elites, and at the time I couldn’t have felt more at home. I had just started my first job and was enjoying the luxury of having a steady paycheck, getting dressed up for work, and being able to afford a venti Pike black twice a day. However, as time wore on the cost of this habit began to become too much to bear, so I decided to switch to something a little cheaper.
Dunks, as many call it up here in Boston is a staple for New Englanders and blue collar workers around the world. Their slogan says it all – “America runs on Dunkin.” You bet it does, but I for one am incapable of drinking anything from them other than their iced coffee. Unfortunately for my post-grad body, they offer a convenient selection of syrups to choose from to turn your morning Joe into more of a morning milkshake. I was totally fine with this lower-cost, higher calorie option until I woke up one morning, looked at myself in the mirror, and shuddered at the pitiful man staring back at me. I knew I wouldn’t stop ordering my large, caramel, iced coffees with cream, so I made a conscious decision to leave this option in my past, except when excessively hung-over. I didn’t want to go back to Starbucks so I made a disastrous mistake. I chose to go to…
“$1 for any size cup of coffee!” I thought to myself, what a stea! Surrounded by salt of the earth, red-blooded Americans, I placed my order. Then I tried the coffee, immediately hit rock bottom and decided I could sacrifice a few percentage points to the 401(k) (so long, early retirement) in order to treat myself to something a little bit nicer.
The Local Shop
Where Starbucks was the pinnacle of wheeling and dealing, the local coffee shops I ventured into were breeding grounds for soon to be discovered novelists, screenplay writers, and bloggers who were going to make it big one day. I’m a relatively personable guy, and I normally find a way to fit in wherever I am, but this was different. Everywhere I looked, there were tattoo sleeves, man-buns, and beards as far as the eye could see. With my pale, tattoo-less complexion, thinning, close-cropped haircut, and lack of ability to grow facial hair, I couldn’t have been more out of my element. I got my overpriced, large black coffee to go and vowed never to return. This wasn’t my world, and the New Year was coming up, which meant it was time for resolutions. I knew what I had to do.
Bringing Coffee from Home
This is my current setup, and so far, it hasn’t been too bad. It’s certainly the cheapest option out of the all the others mentioned, but it does leave something to be desired. There’s a certain feeling you get grabbing a coffee on your way into work. It makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself, and you can relate to the other people in line with you that are all going through a similar daily grind. When you bring coffee from home, you alienate yourself from that group, and project an annoying air of superiority around you. Without realizing it, you begin making pretentious statements like, “You know Starbucks only tastes like that because it’s burnt.” Or, “Dunkin Donuts is too watered down for my tastes, no thank you.” This is considered borderline high treason in Massachusetts, so my only hope is to avoid becoming the insufferable coffee from home guy for as long as possible.
I have no idea how long my habit of bringing coffee from home will last, but when it inevitably comes to an end. What’s next?.
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