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Well, a couple days after I asked for a 12-step program—er, advice about shopping frugally for coffee, I made a trip down to our local (sadly, as in “40-mile-radius” local) Trader Joe’s, sort of a middle-class gourmet store with an emphasis on organic products. There were some great finds, as expected: I spent just about $20 on 5 good-sized bags of frozen produce (some of it organic), enough oranges and lemons to last me two weeks, organic celery, bananas, and a couple organic apples. As for the cost, sure, I could do better at Wal-Mart, but I have been repulsed by the usual state of their produce department around here. I don’t think I could do better at Publix, my regular standby, even though they have their own store-brand organics line, for which kudos to them, I guess.

Best of all, though, Trader Joe’s turned out to be a great place to buy coffee. I do remember that the selection was quite limited: what I left with may have been the only full-caff, whole bean option. Not a problem; I don’t need lots of brew variety. Consistent drinkability is all I ask. I am not a demanding connoisseur capable of detecting “high” and “low” notes and sniffing for obscure olfactory characteristics and swirling it around in my mug, or whatever coffee connoisseurs do. But I have tasted some simply unpotable coffee in my day. And after opening the Experiment this morning, I bring you good news of great joy: a $4.99 12-oz canister of ultra-dark Sumatra whole bean coffee is, my friends, quite potable. It goes down all the more smoothly with a little heavy cream and the sweet knowledge that I am drinking a mere .25 cent cup. I will say that I am glad to be the only regular coffee drinker in this household, as we would otherwise be replacing it every 10 days (a 12-oz canister comes out to about 20 12-oz servings using a French press). Still not the cheapest habit, but I remain unconvinced that I need to kick it for any reason.

Oh, um, speaking of un-cheap habits. . . let me just put in one more plug for a TJ’s product I chanced upon in this visit, a product near and dear to many a female heart. Tell me, where can you find decent, let alone absolutely satisfactory, bars of unsweetened (and semisweet) baking chocolate at .99 cents for 8 ounces? And that not on sale, but at regular price? . . .

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