Is your twice-daily jumbo latte with sprinkles a status symbol? Is it the price of entry into a hyperactive workaday world? Or is it an affordable luxury that’s getting just a little bit tougher to afford?

How much for that latte in the window?

In its all-too-cleverly titled piece, The Latte Era Grinds Down, Newsweek suggests that — after years of livn’ large — there’s some downsizing of consumer spend vs. consumer want:

Brian LaCroix, a 34-year-old computer engineer, developed a taste for expensive coffees. Earlier this year, however, he stopped frequenting a French coffee shop in Dallas and bought an espresso machine, slashing the daily cost for deux lattes from $8 to $1.

Downsizing, rightsizing, or just gettin’ real after too many years of spending money like, well… like you actually have some, it’s a reasonable guess that you’re taking a harder look at where your money goes right now. While I suspect this may be bad news for street-corner vendors of hot coffee milkshakes, I also wonder if it might not lead to a resurgence — one that’s long overdue — in straight-up, make-mine-black, brewed coffee.

I can only hope.

At the same time, I have very real doubts whether it”ll cause many folks to follow in LaCroix’s footsteps. Home espresso machines — good ones, anyway — run $500 and upwards. It takes a fair number of at-home drinks to recoup such an investment. More, a great many people standing in line at the corner coffee bar aren’t the sort to put up with the demands of a fussy appliance. And, let’s face it, home espresso machines *are* fussy; they reward only the most diligent among us with truly exceptional coffee at home.

Me, I see some brewed coffee in your future. And with so many exceptional coffee origins on the table right now — origins that you may have overlooked while you were swilling your double-mochaccino — your future remains bright, indeed.

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