small cup of Italian demitasse coffeeI was a kid when I discovered coffee. Unfortunately, it was Italian Espresso – strong, dark and bitter.  Kids in my day were not allowed to drink coffee for breakfast, but the espresso, loaded with caffeine, was fine to top off Sunday dinner with a pastry.  Go figure!

As a teenager I started to partake in coffee anytime of the day or night.  I preferred it black as opposed to cream, milk or sugar added.  And that’s the way it was ordered in any restaurant – cream with sugar or black.  You could actually get a great cup of coffee for a nickel (before my time, Thank God) but I do remember hanging out at the diner and sitting in a booth all night with friends,  and ordering coffee for 25 cents. Yes, that was many years ago, and the prices of everything have gone up exponentially, and so have the salaries and wages.

Coffee drinks have become the rage.  Ordering “coffee” is not that simple anymore.  First you have to decide where to go.  Are you aching for a cup of Joe from McDonald’s or a fancy, knock-your-socks-off drink from a java joint with ambiance.  You can specify the country the beans come from, the strength of the coffee, the additives and the size, and at the end of the order, fall over when you get the bill.

Extraction Lab, a new java joint in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, opened in February, and is serving up the most expensive cup of coffee in the country at up to $18 a cup. My first comment is that for $18, it should stay in my body more than 2 hours before it is expelled.  And, at that price, 3 cups a weeks for a year will cost over $2,700.  Really?

Starbucks iced caramel macchiiatoSince Starbucks is the most popular coffee joint around (some cities have a Starbucks on every corner) I’ll use their price point.  In Arizona, the venti, iced caramel macchiato is the most commonly ordered drink with a price tag of $4.95.  Since it’s less pricier than the Brooklyn coffee drink, I’ll calculate that 5 macchiatos a week will cost over $1,100 for the year.  By the way, that’s over 47,000 calories!  Just sayin’

I am still a coffee drinker and prefer coffee Americano, which is the name for an ordinary cup of coffee in Italy. Coffee just seems to hit the spot with or without the pastry.

As a side note, one study determined that drinking one cup of coffee daily reduced the risk of death from heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, respiratory and kidney disease by 12 percent, and by 18 percent for those drinking three cups a day. (The study responsible for these findings was led by Veronica W. Setiawan of the University of Southern California. The National Cancer Institute funded study followed 180,000 people of different races for an average of 16 years.) 

So there you have it, folks!  Pick your vice and enjoy!