Saturday, November 17, 2007

How Many Espresso Stands Near You?

According to Yahoo! Yellow Pages there are 62 coffee houses/espresso stands within 5 miles of my current location.

There would be more but in my case the 5 miles extends into Puget Sound and includes quite a bit of pure residential area.

If I was in downtown Seattle I could find over 200 coffee houses/espresso stands within 5 miles.

I think it's great that espresso stands and coffee houses have become so popular.

I generally only buy expensive coffee drinks as a treat, but I appreciate the fact that these establishments provide a living for many people, as well as a place for people to congregate, relax, read, converse or study.

I like Starbucks, and Peets for the excellent coffee, but I particularly like the funky local sort of coffee shops that have friendly baristas, a neighborhood feel, outdoor seating if possible, vegan food, books, free wireless and music.

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The economics of coffee, turning 20 cents worth of beans into a 2 dollar latte, help people who own coffee shops and espresso stands make a living and conversely encourages other people to write articles about saving money by not buying lattes.

I'd argue that buying an expensive cup of coffee every so often is worth the price if we consider the big picture of wanting jobs, and nice neighborhoods with places where people can go to relax, converse, hang out and just enjoy life.

The article I linked to above explains that by not buying a latte and muffin every day you could save 150 dollars a month and if you invest that 150 dollars a month, with a 10% return, for 40 years you will end up with almost a million dollars.

It doesn't make sense for most people to spend 5 dollars a day for a latte and a muffin, but an occasional trip to an espresso stand or coffeehouse where we might treat ourselves to an expensive cup of coffee to go - or stay and have conversations, listen to music, study, have coffee or snacks - might contribute more to what we consider a good life in the long term than pinching our pennies so hard we end up being a wealthy resident in a nursing home who missed out on a lot of fun along the way.

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