Saturday, January 17, 2015

Keurig Coffee - Adventures on a Budget

For years I was addicted to Starbuck's Coffee. I called it my "crack" and it truly was.

If I'm going to be completely honest I should tell you that probably is not the exaggeration that you might think it is, and at the expense of being looked at as a complete idiot, I will give you a couple of examples of how bad it really was.

Mine has my name on it.
  1.  Everyone at my local Starbuck's knew my name. Hell, they knew my kids names!
  2.  The staff at said Starbuck's would often have my drink ready by the time I got to the window. See, I have a bright orange Jeep Wrangler and they could see me in the line. You don't want to keep one of your best customers waiting. . .
  3.  I have a gold card. I didn't know they existed for years but once I found out, I made it my goal to get one. It's pretty easy to do when you just start purchasing with a registered card rather than cash, especially when you get an average of a drink per day.
  4. My kids often got special treats as they had to sit in the back of the car on these daily excursions. A few years back Starbuck's had big plans to reveal a new flavor for Christmas called Chestnut Praline. My kids tried it in a Frappacino early - before the official premiere - and declared it tasted like Lucky Charms.
  5. I used to go through a sort of withdrawal, complete with a pounding headache and single minded mission to find a Starbuck's if I needed one. This was evident on trips cross country and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I have been known to reroute a drive. When were in Munising for a few days to see Pictured Rock we drove to Marquette which was 45 minutes away, location of the nearest Starbuck's

I could probably go on but I won't. We also do not want to figure out what a Venti Starbuck's Iced Latte with Two Raw Sugars costs per day, per week, per year, and for 10 years. I'm not going to say it but I do happen to know how much that is and I'm trying to put it out of my mind. Because honestly, you can't cry over spilled milk and at this point I'm not doing it anymore anyways. I can justify it in my mind if I want . . . I can tell you that I don't smoke and I don't have many other vices unless you want to count my obsession with food in general. I can tell you it's not unhealthy and it could be worse. I could come up with a million excuses but at the end of the day I stopped and haven't really looked back. I occasionally get one in social situations or if I'm away from home but daily it isn't done anymore. Starbuck's must be seriously trying to figure out where I went.

Why you may ask? Well it's really due to the Keurig. While I write this I have a mug full of 8 O'Clock Colombian with some 1/2 and 1/2 and Trader Joe's Sweetened Condensed Milk (yes I put both in and it's delicious) by my side and I was thinking that there may be a few naysayers or purists that can't understand how you can forgo the coffee from a place that makes it for you. Yes, I miss the social aspect of speaking to the Barista every morning and the banter but I also save time and money and I can stay home on a Sunday morning and not even leave to get my caffeine fix.

The change? A Keurig machine. Yes, those little plastic cups filled with goodness. Once I got one in November of 2013 I was able to forgo my daily trip to Starbuck's. At first I only would drink Pike's Place but in the past year I have tried all kinds of new things. Flavored coffees are not my thing - i Like real honest to goodness coffee without any frills. with the exception of Gloria Jean's German Chocolate Cake I haven't found any I really like that are flavored, most of them taste artificial to me. But I now love other things such as Holiday Blend from Starbuck's and San Francisco Bay French Roast (thank you to my dear friends that got this for me Christmas last year).

I'm now on a new quest, and it's because of an article we recently read. 23 K-Cups, ranked by a world class barista  takes the work out of experimenting a little bit. I'm still looking to locate the #1 flavor (Green Mountain Kenyan AA) but have tried and purchased #2 and #3. So far #3 is my favorite (8 O'Clock Colombian)

Some people would say that I pay entirely too much for K-Cups. Sure there are cheaper ones than what I purchase but at 79 cents vs. $4.19 ( Venti Iced Latte with Two Raw Sugars) I'm okay with it. I'm really a frugal coffee drinker now. Oh yes, I did have to make a couple of investments. I like a huge mug and have a thing for Fiestaware but those were bought with Kohl's Cash after a Black Friday and cost about 20 cents each. I also routinely use Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons for my coffee purchases. So there!

Update 1/19/2015: So 100% Columbian is no longer available from 8 O'Clock Coffee. It's been repackaged at Colombian Peaks which I tried last night. Depending on what you read, some say it's the exact same item but with new packaging due to a change in ownership but others agree with me that it's not the same thing. I'm no expert on coffee but I will say it's a lot weaker. I also found out that Green Mountain now owns 8 O'Clock. . . It could also be to a change in the climate conditions when they coffee beans were grown or harvested but I will keep on the quest. Still looking for the Green Mountain Kenyan. I found it online but I don't want to invest 40 dollars before I try one K-Cup.

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