Saturday, November 10, 2007

Take That, Starbucks!

Can I get a skim semi-decaf eggnog hazelnut creme coffee? Chez Madame X you can!

I had been noticing recently that I was running low on coffee and wondering if I should buy some. I was holding off until visiting my parents-- though I have written a lot here about my total financial independence from them ever since I was a recent college graduate, I have to confess that I've actually been relying on my father for coffee supplies!

My dad is signed up for some kind of monthly coffee shipment from Gevalia. He gets both regular and decaf coffee, but since he doesn't drink coffee all that heavily, he had ended up with a growing stockpile, especially of regular coffee. He asked me if I wanted some-- since I was starting to run out of some coffees he'd given me for Christmas one year, I said yes, the result being that I haven't actually spent money on ground coffee for at least 2 or 3 years now! (I only drink 2 cups of coffee per week at home, sometimes even less.)
Unfortunately, my dad cut back on his Gevalia subscription and didn't give me any the last time I visited. So the last couple of weekends, I kept watching the supply dwindle but was reluctant to buy more. Should I just switch to decaf? I had plenty of that. While searching my cabinets, I also realized that I had three little tins of coffee that I had gotten as a Christmas present from my great-aunt. Each one is probably about a pot's worth of coffee, and they have Norman Rockwell paintings on them.

On a side note, aren't great-aunts wonderful for this kind of thing? Mine is 94 years old, and she's given me some fun Christmas presents over the years. My favorite was the set of four glasses, each decorated with a picture of a different Massachusetts Revolutionary War site. Three of them have broken over the years, but I treasure the one that's left!

Back to the coffee tins, one was just regular coffee, one was Eggnog flavored, and one was Hazelnut Creme. Last weekend, I decided I could extend the life of my nice Gevalia coffee by dumping the regular Norman Rockwell coffee in and mixing it up. It tasted fine.
This morning, it got to the point where I decided I'd better use the other flavors. I opened the Eggnog and it did have a rather cloying sweet smell. I opened the Hazelnut and it didn't seem too bad. But still, I thought they might overpower what little regular coffee I had left, so after dumping them in, I mixed in a lot of decaf as well.
The resulting brew did have a rather bizarre flavor, but it actually seemed kind of yummy in a festive, cozy, Norman Rockwell holiday kind of way.
At this rate, I might have enough to get me through to Christmas, and who knows, maybe then someone will give me another gift of coffee!

Moral of the story: do whatever you can to delay spending money for as long as possible, and if you're lucky, maybe you won't have to spend it at all!


Mike G said...

Only 2 cups of coffee a week? I thought you were going to say 2 cups a day, lol. Wow, you're a caffeine lightweight.

Anonymous said...

Well if you ever cave and decide to buy some, try Trader Joe's Moka Java. $6.99 and one of the best they (ok, "we") carry. And I know you're already a shopper!

Anonymous said...

You could always ask for specialty coffee, (or a subscription like your Dad has, depending) for a Christmas / Hannukah / birthday present. ?


Madame X said...

Canary-- I only drink 2 cups of coffee a week AT HOME-- I drink a cup every day at work too, but I buy it at a deli near the office. I'm not a total caffeine addict, but I do need a little every day!

And to Anon from Trader Joe's-- I've had that coffee, I think, and almost bought some recently! A friend of mine uses TJs coffee and when I was thinking of buying some, I called her to ask what kind but she was away from home and couldn't remember anything but that it was from Trader Joe's!

frugal zeitgeist said...

Madame, my dear Madame, a cup of coffee a day at work is nothing. I drink twelve. (It's free!) I do manage to hold my intake to six a day on weekends.

Unknown said...

Consumer reports a few months ago rated the various brands available at the super market. I was pleased to see that the brand that I actually like and also happens to be the cheapest was rated #1. 8'oclock coffee. If you do end up having to buy some, give it a try.

I'm far from a coffee snob, but don't think I could get myself to even try some preground coffee that has been sitting in my cupboards for an unknown amount of time. Doesn't take that long after roasting for the beans to lose a lot of flavor.

mapgirl said...


I have half a bag leftover from my coffee at work experiment. I'll mail it to you! LOL

I have switched over to canned sodas at work lately. But I think with the cold weather coming on, I'll switch back to coffee.

Anonymous said...

Bronx Chica- I'll be back into coffee and hot chocolate this winter. I have been drinking Canada Dry soda alot and always intake water.

Anonymous said...

Hmm ... I'd take a few of those wine dollars and pick up a pound of fresh coffee. I think you'd enjoy home brewed coffee a bit more if you had fresh grounds?

Anonymous said...

Bravo-- this is the kind of frugality I admire. Every so often I raid my parents' pantry for gift foods that they receive and never use-- the funky jellies, fancy bread mix.

Your next step could be the "workplace mocha"-- mixing cocoa powder with that horrible office coffee.

Olivia Sanwong said...

Trader Joe's coffee is great - if I lived closer to one, I would probably buy it all the time.

Speaking of Norman Rockwell, I went to the museum in Stockbridge, MA this past summer. It is awesome and I highly recommend the trip. I would like to return during the holiday season to see all of the Downtown Stockbridge decorations.

VixenOnABudget said...

Heh. Truth be told, I rely on my work for quite a few supplies (honey, Splenda, etc.).

And, while I love being completely financially independent from both my parents... I do let my dad fill up gas tank on occasion. :-D

Anonymous said...


"Your next step could be the "workplace mocha"-- mixing cocoa powder with that horrible office coffee."

I will say that I, too, often find this is a necessary procedure in order to stomach the "needed" few cups of coffee at work each morning.

Mike said...

Derek: I tried 8 o'clock for the first time recently. I brewed it twice and threw the rest of the beans away ... blech!

Madame X: You keep coffee around for that long? I can't keep coffee around for more than a month after opening or else it goes bad.

Unknown said...

Mike: Yeah, my wife says the same thing. She doesn't like it at all either, but, with her, I think she has the if it isn't expensive it's not good mentality. Odd, I really think it's fine. I can't stand starbucks coffee.

Everyone has different tastes I guess.

My work just switched from brewed coffee to one of those damn instant pod things and I HATE it. Tried the senseo thing myself ages ago to stop wasting so much but ended up tossing the thing out.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I actually think you could make one of your "rules" around this idea ... something like "Use what you already have"

I've been trying the same tactic for both frugal & environmental reasons over the last few months and its an eye opener! Esp. in my bathroom - how did I end up with so many new toothpastes??

"Making do" with what you have is such a great habit on so many levels...glad to see you got some pleasure of it with regards to the coffee!

Madame X said...

Mike-- yeah, I probably do keep coffee around too long. I try to keep air out of the bag and I keep it in the fridge, but it does start to get that not-so-fresh taste after a while!

Unknown said...


Interesting post! Indeed, it's better not to spend so much during Christmas because who knows you might end up in debts right after the celebrations are over. Well, as for me, I just followed some tips that could help me stay within my budget this festive season.

Here are 51 such tips and more at:

Merry Christmas in advance!