Two-hundred and fifty dollars. That’s how much money I was spending on coffee every month, totaling up to $3,000 a year. But every time I would stand in the line at Starbucks or frequent Aussie Bean before class, I would simply say to myself, “It’s only $5. What’s the harm in that?” There was a big harm. Huge, actually.
When I stared at the enormous monthly payment that fueled my caffeine addiction a couple of weeks ago, I was overwhelmed, yet determined to curb my $5 here, $4 there approach to buying coffee out. So I went to Trader Joe’s and bought cold brew, Nespresso pods and ground coffee (which all totaled far less money than what I was previously spending) and promised myself that I would start thinking more of my bank account and less about my caffeine headache. What I wasn’t expecting was the massive lifestyle shift that has come with making my coffee at home.
My newspaper staff has determined that I am a pretty chaotic person and I would agree. I thrive off of having too many things to do. I always seem to be running from class to a meeting to an interview then back to class, only to do the same thing the next day and the day after that. Those who know me can attest to the fact that I almost always have a coffee in hand, that the to-go cup from Starbucks or Einstein’s Bagels is more of an accessory than a morning drink. The high amounts of caffeine only solidify my chaos and I was very comfortable with that reality for much of my college experience.
But when I finally decided to reign in my coffee spending and make my favorite beverage at home, I was met with the oddest phenomenon: making coffee at home has forced me to slow down, to breathe and to find peace in moments I would’ve otherwise rushed through. Take last Tuesday for example.
I don’t start class until 10 a.m. Typically, I would’ve gotten up half an hour before I needed to be in class, thrown on a semi-decent outfit and headed out the door. But not this day. I got up at a leisurely 8:15 a.m. I fed my cat, Bean, turned on the Today show (I know, it can barely be considered news, but I like Al Roker), and as I was being given the weather forecast for the day, I turned on my kettle and ground the coffee beans. By the time Savannah Guthrie was giving me the headlines of the day, I poured the boiling water over the grounds and watched as the glorious, chocolate infused beverage came to life. I chose my favorite mug – a white ceramic one with “Hit me with your best shot” engraved on it – and with coffee in hand, sat on the couch to finish the morning’s top stories.
I headed into the rest of my day with a peace that I can only think was the result of making my coffee at home. Because to me, coffee is so much more than a drink; it’s a morning ritual that sets the tone for the rest of my day. In the past, the chaotic rush to get to class, preceded only by the stress of waiting in line for a mediocre cup of coffee at Starbucks, was what I needed. But now, as I’m finding value in the small, uncelebrated moments of everyday life, making my coffee at home is so much more than just saving my paycheck.