I've become a coffee snob. The free coffee at the office comes from a Filterfresh vending machine, though I don't think of it as coffee. The drink that comes out is bitter, weak, and bears only a passing resemblance to what the rest of the civilized world considers to be coffee. We've complained to the catering company that handles the machines, but even when they change the grounds the coffee still tastes nasty. I spent most of last year drinking a cup or two a day of this crap, knowing that it was terrible. After I went home for Christmas and enjoyed good coffee made by my mother, I decided that I'd had enough of the crap. I got a Starbucks card for a Christmas present, so I started getting a cup a day from the Starbucks in the lobby. I also started drinking the coffee from the cafeteria, which is Ritazza and about the same quality as Starbucks, but for $.50 less. In my department, we've talked about getting a coffee maker, but I'd been advising against it. If we share a coffee maker in our office space, we have to share the chores of buying the grounds (and deciding what kind to get), keeping the machine clean, and so on. I know that it would get ugly after a while.
My policy of roughly $1/day on coffee lasted until Friday, when we received a money management book from my in-laws. One of the first anecdotes is about a woman who spends $3.50 a day on her grande double non-fat latte and realizes that her coffee habit is costing her big bucks from her future retirement income. I've heard this advice before, and had thought that $1 a day wasn't so bad, but in my financial situation, even good coffee can be a frivolous purchase if I do it every day. Having previously ruled out a drip coffee maker, I took the plunge (literally) and bought a coffee press for $20. I already have high-quality coffee beans at home, so I figure I can grind 2-3 days' worth of coffee and leave it in the refrigerator here at work, then make myself a decent cup whenever I want it. I'll try it after lunch and see how well it works out for me.