I understand why people use drive-through lanes to get their morning coffee en route to the office, even though I think it’s a mark of either stupidity or pure laziness when the “convenience” is nullified by long waits in the queue, e.g. in Britishland:

Motorists queued for hours to get a drink at Costa drive-throughs this morning, sparking fears people are ignoring lockdown measures as more high street chains reopen.
Tailbacks stretched around the block at takeaway chains in Edinburgh, Wakefield and Glasgow today as drivers waited to get their coffee fix.
At the weekend, eager customers queued for more than a mile to get a coffee at a branch in Snowhill Retail Park in Yorkshire as it reopened after more than a month on Saturday.

Costa makes decent coffee, but it’s not that  great.  (And don’t get me started on Starfucks’s burnt water concoctions.)

For those people who are not completely up to date on recent modern inventions, there are now things called “travel mugs” which allow one to make one’s coffee at home and take it to the office, where it can still be enjoyed hot.  Here’s an example:

… or, if one prefers to support one’s favorite coffee brand: 

Pro tip:   Plastic travel mugs are useless.  Nothing beats a decently-insulated metal one — unless you’re rich and can afford the Thermos (glass-interior) type.

Even better, brewing one’s own coffee at home allows one to use a decent brand of coffee — whether it’s the humble Dunkin’ Donuts Regular (still my favorite coffee, after thirty years):

  … or one of the “gourmet” (over-priced) offerings: 

In the old days, the only way to brew coffee was in a giant thing which made a large pot of the stuff — which, of course, is not the optimal choice when one needs only a single cup.  However, since the mid-1990s there has been another option, the single-cup home brewer:

…or, if one wants to feel all Italian: 

…which were once tied to the awful pods, but now allow one to use ground coffee in a small filtered device which — and I cannot express this strongly enough — enables one to brew coffee to the desired strength, and not as decided by some bored coffee-jockey.

I know that all this sounds terribly complicated, and really can’t compare with the joy of waiting for hours in one’s car, eventually to get a cardboard cup filled with overpriced coffee, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out at least a modest option thereto.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the Keurig.


  1. I imagine most here remember a time when the only drinking done in moving vehicles was from a can between the legs, and it was legal, and the only form of drive through was at normal gas stations where you pulled in and told the worker how much gas you wanted, waited (with vehicle still running), paid with cash and left.

    I’m rare, I suppose, in that I almost never do drive through’s. And the number of times I have paid people to make coffee for me can be counted on one hand. A whole lot of excess silliness has developed in this country over the past half century. Most of it could vanish tomorrow and the rest of us would be that much better off. I likes mine instant, milk and sugar, HOT, in a stainless steel double walled mug. Anticipating hard times ahead, I’m wanting to ween myself off the milk and sugar but instant is especially harsh without them.

  2. Kim,
    Coffee home-brewer here. I don’t use Keurig – I drink a lot of coffee, making the one-cup systems cost prohibitive. And now that we’re both WFH, My Better Half and I go through a pound of Trader Joe’s French roast about every 7 or 8 days. Actually, the “pound” bag of coffee is 14 oz, but that’s a rant for a different day. Just like the quart of mayonnaise is 30 oz rather than 32. And the half-gallon of ice cream is 48 oz. Again – rant for a different day. And there’s another rant for the future, decaf. Gawdawful nasty bathwater swill most of the time. Flat, and without taste. Like the state of Florida.
    Also .. I am stealing your line “burnt water concoctions” and am using that every chance I get.
    Stay safe out there …

  3. Back when I was commuting by public transportation (and remember, pools, toilets and transportation are all wonderful things, until you put the word “public” in front) it was my habit to fill a travel mug from the Keurig for my trip. My wife gave me a really nice mug (she got it from Starbucks), all metal, didn’t leak, and the thing would keep coffee hot. Since I drink my coffee black I had to add a couple ice cubes to it, or it was too hot to drink.

    One day I left the mug in the car when I parked at the train station. When I returned to it, 12 hours later on a crisp fall day, the coffee was still drinkable. Not hot, but warm. I have to figure out who’s getting that mug in my will.

    Mark D

    1. “pools, toilets and transportation are all wonderful things, until you put the word ‘public’ in front”

      Consider that stolen. Quote of the day.

  4. Kim,

    I have given this matter a lot of thought over the past year – mostly as I sit in the long line waiting for my wife’s coffee. We also brew a lot at home, but my wife has lately taken to drinking Starbucks Venti Decaf Skinny Mocha w/3 pumps of peppermint. Now just typing that irritates me (no doubt it irritates you as well), but suffice it to say that she is completing her Masters Degree and has been studying quite hard for over a year – if that coffee helps her get through it, then I feel the need to comply. But……

    Starbucks is this “socially conscious” company that likes to flaunt it liberal ideals and how environmentally friendly they are. Yet, a very large percentage (even before the plague) of their business model is based upon drive thru service. Which quite often means 5,10, 15 cars waiting in line – idling – as they wait their over-priced and under-flavored colored water concoctions. And since the automobile is the root cause of so much of our air pollution (not my view), I find it hypocritical that Starbucks engages in this practice. But then again “liberal” and “hypocrite” are synonymous.

    1. “Starbucks Venti Decaf Skinny Mocha w/3 pumps of peppermint”

      Yeah, it’s hard to see how one could put any more irritating shit into one sentence, isn’t it?

  5. Don’t travel as much as I used to (retired now,) but back in the day, I bought an Aladdin steel thermos for my coffee. It worked so well at keeping coffee “just right,” I bought one for each of my crew. That was back in 1975; I still have two of them. They look like crap, scratched and dented (I drove over mine with my truck once,) but they work just as well now as they did the first day.

    Now days, my doctor (curse that man!) has limited me to just three cups of coffee per day, so I make it dark roast, home ground, Columbian beans, hand packed full into the re-usable pods for my Keurig, and brewed into a double-walled, steel, Thermos cup. Perfect for watching the world wake up from my patio.

    1. That’s sort of like saying that my Doctor told me I could only have one drink a day and then making it Everclear.

  6. In an attempt to be decent to my 6 construction workers, I once provided the lunch room with a cream, sugar, high quality dark roast arabica coffee, Melitta filter coffee maker, filters, cups, spoons etc.

    They rarely used it, preferring to buy from a nearby Tim Horton’s. They’d get one on the way to work and at break and lunch times they’d send one of them out for more, at about $3+ for a big cup. They spent about $20 a day on coffee, donuts, chips and similar, and 3 of them were smokers as well, and they were only making between $15 and 30 an hour. They said it took too long to make the coffee. It took about 5 minutes all in and the run to the coffee shop and back took 15, for which time I refused to pay, whereas I had been paying one of them to make the coffee for the crew.

    All of them were always bare-arsed broke.

    After 6 months of the coffee equipment not being used I quietly took it home. They didn’t even notice.

    We are so wealthy we can afford to be stupid and lazy, even those of us who are “poor”.

    1. I might make an exception for Tim Horton’s. That is excellent stuff right there, and every time I venture north into the Great White Space my first stop is at a Tim’s (second is for poutines).

  7. I have had a lot of coffee in my 70 plus years including Starbucks when my store was three doors down from the Starbucks in Inwood Village in Dallas. I did not care too much for the burnt flavor but I would purchase the smallest drip cup and sit out side at one of the tables, do my paperwork and visit with friends and that was civilized and pleasant. I was amazed at the folks who would line up to get the special mixtures of crap that often was kind of a milkshake with chemicals and cost them a lot of money.

    After we closed our store our kids gave us a Keurig for Christmas one year and it was handy, my wife liked the decaf and I liked just a basic no flavor coffee and we would buy the plastic thingys at Costco but even then they were expensive but convenient. When my Kraut, Nazi, Keurig finally stopped working one day I took it apart and found out you can’t fix the damn things, they were designed to be unrepairable I am sure. So we went to Walmart, got a $35 Mr. Coffee and big can of Columbian drip and never looked back, easy to use, I get up before my wife, start the coffee, unload the dishwasher and by that time my first cup of coffee is brewed, hot, tasty, fresh, cheap and simple. I use 1/4 cup of coffee to 10 cups of water and get just the right amount each morning.

    The only other time I get coffee out is when I have been shooting early morning skeet with my buddy up in Kerrville and then we go to MacDonald’s for two cups of senior coffee which is decent and cheap, about a buck and a half for two cups.

  8. Keurig user here – and I’m proud to say that in the 6+ years since I got my current Keurig I have bought exactly ZERO “pods.” The first accessory I got was a reusable Keurig cup and I can fill it with whatever I want. So I brew a cup and drink it on my ~ 30 minute drive to work (though since mid March my “commute” to work has been stumbling from the bedroom to my home office and turning on the computer.)

    As far as commuting and waiting in line go, though, I have a thought on that: I used to scratch my head and wonder why people would, for example, choose to buy a house that required a 1+ hour commute twice a day. I’ve never “enjoyed” commuting whether it was on public transportation or driving, but regard it as a necessary evil.

    But a few years ago I got to thinking about it. Consider your typical “car commuter” in the US, Canada or Western Europe: He’s probably got a job where he gets phone calls, has to sit in meetings, deals with customers, bosses, co-workers, etc, for 8+ hours a day. He’s likely got a wife with a “honey-do” list a mile long that he’ll never finish, kids who need help with homework or school projects, a yard and a car to maintain, etc. IOW, he has a LOT of demands on his time.

    So….maybe that 1 hour commute is the only time he gets to (a) be by himself (b) listen to the music or radio show he wants to (c) can adjust the climate control exactly the way he wants.

    IOW that 2-hour-a-day commute might very well be the ONLY time he has entirely to himself with nobody making demands on him.

    So the 2 hour commute – and even the hour-long wait in line for coffee – may not be the negative that most of us might think it is.

    1. Staff Martin:
      I did the commute for a LONG time, 2+ hours by public transportation, each way, IF nothing went pear-shaped. Once it took me over 8 hours (the night of the blackout on the East Coast in 2003), and once I didn’t get home until the next day (9/11/2001). Public transportation is different than car commuting, you’re squashed in next to people who may not have showered since the Johnson administration (Andrew, not Lyndon), and there’s always some jackass on his phone.

      See my comment about public whatever above.

      I gave that up for telecommuting, with a move to a new state, a bit over a year ago. The only good thing is I had plenty of time to read, now I have to MAKE time to read.

      Why did I put myself thru the commute? I got paid a lot more (even with commuting costs and taxes in two states) than I would’ve closer to home, and we had a house that, 19 years after we bought it, sold for 150% of what we paid for it, allowing us to sell it, pay off what we owed, and buy our new house (twice the size of the old one) for cash with money left over.

      It also makes me appreciate what I have now. I actually have time to enjoy my home, where it used to be I’d leave home at 6 am to get to work around 8, get home at 7:00 or 7:30, have dinner, watch TV for an hour and go to sleep to do it the next day. I have time to do things after work, whether household chores or fun stuff like fishing.

      1. The only time I’ve ever had a long commute to work was when I lived out in the NW burbs and took the train into Chicago’s Loop every day. I went in early enough so the train wasn’t overcrowded and took my laptop so I could work on my novel for 45 minutes each way, uninterrupted.
        The rest of the time, I’ve made a point of working so close to home that in a pinch I could walk the distance without too much hassle. When I lived in Johannesburg I did just that for three years, the first two because I was too poor to own a car, and the third because the traffic was so bad that it was easier just to walk.
        I cannot imagine driving to and from the office for hours each day.

    2. Can confirm. If paying a buck at McDonald’s for a cup of coffee buys me a few minutes of peace, then it is a steal a three times the price.

    3. As someone with a 45 minute commute (best case, 1.5 hrs worst case, each way), I would add that working at a chemical plant creates an incentive to live as far away as possible. There are still mornings where we step outside, take a deep breath of so-called fresh air, and wonder which plant had a release.

      That said, the drive does let me vent and cuss and fume about idiot bosses and co-workers enough so that I’m almost decent company by the time I get home to the wife.

  9. Well, I would have bet against you liking Dunkin’s coffee, but I do share your appreciation for the Taylor’s Tea Yorkshire Gold. Thank you for the introduction to it.
    I usually buy Peets Major Dickason’s Blend for day to day coffee. I also have a Keurig at work that will brew a cup on demand.
    Here in New Hampshire the local Starbucks has them in line about 15-20 deep almost all the time, though another location of theirs seems to be closed up for some reason.
    Nearest Tim Horton’s that I know of is in South Portland Maine, so while I have been by it many times, I have yet to stop in. I will do so the next time I am visiting friends there.

    1. @Liberty …
      If you’re ever near downtown Nashua, NH, stop in at JajaBelle’s for a Greek pastry and some of the coffee. The young lady who owns/runs the place, Jessica I think is her name, is a hoot, a genuine pleasure to look at, and a sensibly good business person.

    2. I got hooked on Dunkin D the very first time I came Over Here back in 1982 and toured New England in the fall. Never lost the taste for it.

    1. To save space on road trips, I take an Aero instead of my old Keurig 1-cupper. We always carry an electric kettle to boil water for New Wife’s 10-per-day cups of Yorkshire Gold, so it’s no big deal to brew up some DD for me at the same time.

  10. The part of the problem being missed is that they aren’t in the line for coffee. They’re ordering an infantile milkshake concoction of various nut juices (there is no such thing as almond milk until you show me where the tittie is on an almond), designer sugars, spices, flavored syrups, candy, chocolate, berries, twigs, yeast extracts, grass, and oh, if there is a little room left in the gallon sized sippy cup, put a little bit of coffee in it.

    Oh, and throw it in a blender with a bunch of ice and make it an actual milkshake.

    I carry an old fashioned green hammered finish Stanley bottle of coffee with me to work every day. It has coffee in it. It just has coffee in it. I drink the coffee and I’m happy. And I don’t drink it from a fucking sippy cup.

  11. I’ve got one of those Thermos cups; second from left (without the handle) and in glorious red. It does a wonderful job keeping a cuppa nice and hot. $18 and change at any Wal Mart. As an LTL driver (Less Than Truckload; basically an over-the-road trucker in a Sprinter van instead of an 18-wheeler), I get lots of coffee. The big truck stop chains have pretty good stuff, but too many of the smaller stations are going to the self-serve machines that are like oversized Keurigs. The gimmick appears to be that the beans are ground fresh for each individual cup, but it’s been my experience that the coffee that comes out of these machines tastes like ass. (And not good ass, either.)

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