Just the other day while browsing the coffee aisle at Walmart, I noticed that once again the container had shrunk.
I know, it has been a very long time since we had the 3-pound coffee can. And indeed it was actually a can. We always had a place to dump out our cooking grease when the can was empty. I don't mind that it is plastic now, as just about everything is from mayonnaise to a gallon of milk. What bothers me is that I now have to buy four times as many containers of coffee to get through a month.
Do the manufacturers think that it is important to keep the price the same while just shrinking the amount of coffee we are getting? Even that is not working anymore. As the amount is shrinking, the price is now creeping up little by little, as well.
It used to be that every time coffee prices went up we had time to prepare. There would always be something on the news about a problem with coffee beans, either something unforeseen had happened to the bean crop or they just were not growing enough to accommodate our needs. At least they attempted to make an excuse.
When we moved to Washington state in the ‘90s, they had coffee stands every two blocks or so. Coming from California, I had never seen the drive-thru kind that you could stop at on your way to or home from work. They were very popular and had a coffee menu that must have had 20 different kinds of coffee. They would have a customer card that would get a punch out of it each time you came by and made a purchase. After 10 visits or so, they would give you a free cup. Didn't seem like much to me, but then again I was never one who frequented these coffee stands at $3 to $5 a cup anyway. During this time period, Starbucks was beginning to really take off in Seattle. Everyone was waiting for one to open in their neighborhood.
Funny thing about those little coffee stands. They got competitive for a while. The young ladies who made the coffee began to wear less and less clothing while serving their customers. At one point, they had “family” coffee stands and “adult only” coffee stands. I recall that many of them ended up getting shut down, and it was not about the coffee. Makes you wonder what else they may have been selling.
There are many of us who totally depend on our coffee. Just the thought of trying to function without it is unfathomable. I admit it is my drug of choice. I also admit I would probably continue to buy it at any price. Does that make me a coffee junkie? Maybe. The jury is still out on whether or not coffee is good for you. You will be told that a couple of cups a day can be an asset to your health, but then a week or so later the same news station will advise you to stop drinking coffee as it is harmful to your health. I suppose the same could be said for a glass of wine or a cold beer after work.
Who remembers the coffee houses of the ‘60s? Where the hippie types would meet to read poetry, drink coffee and discuss putting an end to war. Most of them were stoned at the time, and no one really cared if their poetry was any good. It was about hanging out and drinking coffee. Now, it is more about whether the coffee can be made to order and if they have Wi-Fi.
Coffee has pretty much withstood the test of time. It does not matter if you put whipped-cream in it, hazelnut flavoring or a combination of several different things. I don't know anyone anymore who drinks black coffee. We have so many options now with sugar, fake sugar, creamer, flavored creamer, whipped cream (flavored for coffee), etc. Many of us even have a favorite cup we like to drink our coffee out of. I know I do. And I refuse to drink any coffee from a Styrofoam cup!
You may pay just $1 or $5 for this delightful wake up. I do not know how others feel, but as for this three-cup-a-day (minimum) drinker, I would rather give up chocolate for the rest of my life than a good cup of morning coffee.
And I love chocolate.