What's out: Starbucks. What's in: Home-brewed French press coffee.


The execs at Starbucks have the jitters, and it's not because of their beans. The company has announced that over the past year, profit has tumbled a bruising 97%. Although revenue was up ever so slightly (3%), shrinking disposable income and rising costs have scalded the coffee chain. Looks like trouble's brewing.

It's hardly a surprise that fewer people are laying down $3 to $4 for a cup of joe. Even when our pockets were lined with greenbacks, we knew that what we were doing made no economic sense. Assuming we spend $2.79 a day on something like a latte, five days a week, for 50 weeks a year (subtracting two weeks' vacation), that's some $700 before tax. Half the time, we don't stop at that figure though. We go venti, we buy froth or shots, we eat. So that figure is often a bare minimum.

And it wasn't so much our addiction to caffeine that had us lining up for lattes. It was other, more powerful addictions--our penchant for ritual, and for convenience--that kept Starbucks in the cups. But although we all knew that spending so much each morning was a flagrant waste of money, it's still shocking to learn, once you do the math, just how big that waste actually is.