– How much do you consume?

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I enjoy a good cup of coffee. I recently celebrated a birthday and in doing a little simple math I determined I have consumed over 25,000 cups of coffee in my lifetime; that’s over 1,500 gallons of coffee and a heckofa lot of caffeine.

I began drinking coffee while in college in order to stay up late at night to write a paper or cram for a test. Like a lot of people, I started out by adding cream and sugar to make it palatable, kind of a creamy flavor. Over time though, I learned to drink it black and believe I have a better appreciation for coffee than when I put in all of the additives (plus there are a lot less calories in a black cup of coffee).

I’ve sampled coffee from around the world and admittedly some countries are better than others. For example, in Japan, a country that specializes in green tea, it’s difficult to find a really good cup of coffee. Brazil has some excellent coffee which they drink in small espresso-like cups. Brazilians jokingly admit the most important person in a company is the “Coffee boy/girl” as they wander around pouring coffee for anyone wanting it. The coffee is rather thick and strong. Consequently, most people add sugar to sweeten it up. They were amazed I could drink it black, cup after cup.

When I entered the workforce in the 1970’s, just about everyone seemed to drink a cup of coffee. Not so anymore. Now it seems people prefer some sort of tea or bottled water. I guess this is why I’m surprised companies like Starbucks have become so successful selling coffee. Somehow they were able to take a mundane product, put a new spin on it, and make quite a bit of money off of it. It used to be you would pay as little as a nickel, dime or quarter for a cup of coffee. In New York we would jokingly refer to the “Manhattan Breakfast” as two cigarettes and a cup of coffee for 55 cents. However, Starbucks and others have turned the simple cup of coffee into a prestige or elegant dessert, kind of like what you see at a pastry shop, and for a price much heftier than your pocket change. You really have to hand it to American marketing on this one; to take something which costs pennies to make and turn it into a cash cow.

I find it all rather amusing how some people like to hold a pseudo-intellectual conversation about the merits of their favorite coffee. What was once known as “the rocket fuel of business” has become the “national pastime for frivolous discourse.” As for me, I just wanted the buzz.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

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Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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