Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Your rent just went up

If you, like me, prefer the clatter, clang, and steam of an active coffeshop when you write...

And if, unlike me, you're unfortunate enough to live in one of those East (or Middle) Coast towns where $tarbucks is the only caffeine source...

Your rent just went up.

The coffee behemoth is purchasing the company which makes the Clover, a nifty little $11,000 gadget that brews individual cups of coffee at precise temperatures and steeping times. For the true coffee-lover, this is huge: the stuff is delicious. Well before this announcement, I had the pleasure of imbibing the brew at a local indie (aka non-Starbucks) shop. It is definitively the best cuppa that has ever passed my lips.

But make no mistake -- Seattle's best-hated chain is not purchasing the Clover on altruistic gourmet grounds. They're making a concious business decision to price out us campers...the folks who wander in at 10 AM and buy the cheapest possible beverage (drip, drip, and more drip refills) for the next four hours while they work on the next novel. Apparently scrapping the free WiFi wasn't sufficient; they also need a reason to charge upwards of $4 per hit for everything on the menu.

Thus, I still find myself working on the porch of my favorite non-chain coffee shop, whose $0.25 refills of filter-brewed drip remain mellow (if mundane) even after an hour in the carafe. If I want a hint of chocolate in my cup, I can pull out the jar of Ghirardelli powder from my pack...and toss the extra $3.75 in my barista's tip jar.

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