After 11 years of almost daily service, she finally bit the dust. I was in mourning. We bought her during my busy intern year, and at the time, the purchase seemed extravagant. Fully automatic espresso machines can go for thousands, and after sampling the mahogany colored nectar from many of the high-end offerings, we decided to go with a Saeco sold at Costco for $700. With a Costco warranty, what’s the harm?
Given that I had to be at 6:30 AM hospital rounds, there was no time to stop anywhere and no motivation for making coffee the “slow way” at that hour. But with the touch of one button, she would deliver a heavenly coffee with a thin layer of beige crema on top. We experimented over the years to find the perfect coffee bean to produce the perfect brew. It got to the point where we would discuss, while lying in bed preparing for sleep, how we looked forward to tomorrow’s coffee. And when we would go on afternoon “coffee dates” (the frugal alternative to a dinner date), we would lament how the coffees didn’t hold a candle to the offerings of our machine.
A fully automatic espresso machine seems like a ridiculous purchase coming from someone who talks about simple living and financial responsibility. But that’s where the idea of value-ism comes in: I value the quality and taste of my coffee far more than I value many other things (like a restaurant meal or a good beer). Although some people may identify as frugal while others as extravagant, we are all truly value-ists. We will, either consciously or subconsciously, spend more money (and time and resources) on things that we inherently value. However, to be a value-ist and at the same time financially responsible, one must also identify and balance spending by de-prioritizing some things.
That $700 initial outlay more than paid for itself over the years that we owned our machine. Not only had we gained almost daily enjoyment from using the machine, but both sets of our parents were converted to the “machine side”. Even my father, who would spend hundreds of dollars on good wine but drink Folgers made with tap water, has been won over.
Once she was gone, we set out to explore alternatives for her replacement. They don’t make her exact model anymore, unfortunately, but we recently settled on a similarly-priced DeLonghi sold at Costco. So far, the coffee seems to be excellent. What about you? How do you use value-ism in your life?
NOTE: The originally published post was lost in my recent blog migration, so I am going to paste the comments that were made there into this area: