The Idle American: What’s a cup of coffee worth these days?

Says my Uncle Mort: “It don’t take much water to make good coffee.”

Surely it was a slow news day on both coasts recently.

In Rhode Island, they unrolled fireman-grade water hoses to wash egg from the faces of school board members, and in California, a small, “highest-scale” coffee spot sold out of a new magical coffee brew despite its introductory price of $75 PER CUP.

Left-coast citizens who invite friends to join them for cups of joe–with the addition of taxes and tips–risk seeing a couple of $100 bills go up in smoke, and their blood pressure numbers flying off the charts. Wasn’t it a mere three score years ago that Americans bristled at the news of soft drink prices “ooching” from a nickel to six cents? And diner operators defended doubling long-standing coffee tabs from five cents to a dime with offers of free refills?…


  Back east, the Warwick, RI, School District made a hasty about-face a few hours after declaring that students failing to pay for school lunches would be offered sunbutter/jelly sandwiches while paying students at the same table would “chow down” on hot meals.

The policy-makers didn’t have time to moisten fingers and hoist them into the air to check on wind direction before changing course. A public outcry urged them to fix the budget in other ways without throwing kids under the bus who don’t have lunch money.

An accumulated deficit of $77,000 at a school of 1,700 students will be approached differently by board members who may be asking each other if they’re having fun yet.  The board’s short-lived decree ranks high on the list of all-time boondoggles. Still “up there” was a decision by many “little league” honchos to offer “farm little leagues” for kids who failed to reach “little league” standards….


  Sadly, the policy was honored for decades, and, in some places, may still be followed.

We’ve found many ways to make kids feel “second class” in a land where there is much “huffing and puffing” about fairness for all.

Too much reminds us daily of two caterpillars, inching along the sidewalk. Above them flutters a butterfly, and one of the caterpillars declares, “You’ll never get me up in one of those things.”…

Don Newbury

Now, back to that California coffee story.  Klatch Coffee Roasters–a small, high-rolling chain– located “the rarest of coffee beans.” So exotic were the beans that Panamanians were getting a record $803 PER POUND.

Klatch bought 10 pounds, the maximum allowed to one country. The company brewed 80 cups for weekend partakers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The flavor–described as floral, tea-like, smooth and strong–must have produced some kind of alluring aromas since they were “sold out” within minutes.

Don’t even ask if refills were free….


  And we’re told there is even more expensive coffee offered in Los Angeles.

One shop sells coffee at $100 per cup.

It includes exotic beans and calls for the cooperation of small animals called Asian palm civets. You are spared further details that involve the process of elimination….


  So much for McDonald’s rising tabs for senior coffee. We pray never to hear about coffee served under the golden arches as being “the very best.” Java that is claimed to be “pretty good” is certainly “A-OK” by me, particularly as long as Mickey D’s maintain clean restrooms.

If my 106-year-old Uncle Mort reads this, he’ll yammer for weeks about his longstanding claim that “it don’t take much water to make good coffee.”

Great coffee, Californians maintain, contains ingredients carefully measured, with the water component increased only if company is coming. Dreaming in color about the high-rolling, coffee-drinkers in California, Uncle Mort says he dreamed of a Golden State panhandler who sought $200 from a passerby for coffee. The guy–questioning the bloated figure–heard the beggar’s additional words: “Won’t you join me?”

Oft-quoted words of late amusements writer Elston Brooks seem to fit: “End of the lines, everybody off.”


    Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” round about. Comments or inquiries to: [email protected].Ph.: 817-447-3872. Web: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.

Don Newbury is the author of the humorous and inspirational When The Porch Light’s On. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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