Live Below the Line: Coffee!

When I very first considered doing the Live Below the Line challenge to live on less than  £1 ($1.50) a day, one acquaintance responded, “No way! That’s less than what I pay for my daily coffee.” Well yeah. Isn’t that the standard fundraising slogan these days: “Give up your coffee for just one day…” or week or whatever. I know that nowadays (here in rural Morocco) I pay much less for coffee than I have all of my adult life, but still I freaked out a little about having to give up the cuppa and so the cost of my daily coffee intake was the first thing I calculated – before committing to the challenge!

MoKhaMy very first coffee (other than stealing sips of my mom’s iced coffees when I was a kid) was one of these. It was free as I was working in a café that did vocational training for an awesome non-profit org. I still remember the manager surprisedly saying “You’ve never had a mocha? Let me get you one…” I was immediately hooked on the good stuff: double shot with whip and always, always chocolate! Fortunately (or not?) I worked in the food industry for several years, so my coffee habit was often work-subsidized.

When I did make coffee at home, it was usually made from beans like these here ($8-$12 per lb/half kilo)- or perhaps more spendy ones when I was a) feeling rich or b) feeling like being spendy. Chocolate was often added needed, and sometimes I used the more-expensive-than-milk vanilla soy milk or the husband’s preference half and half.

Ebil Coffee

Jumping several years ahead in my coffee consuming ways, in Casablanca, we usually bought coffee by the kilo for barely less than what we paid in the states. Out here in the sticks, where I am living now, we would get these little air-vacuumed packs of coffee that cost about 80 dirhams ($9.36) per kilo. A slightly less expensive bulk coffee is available at my local epecerie for 40 per kilo grams. Initially I started calculating the vacuum-packed stuff for my challenge since that is what we normally have, but you know what? That stuff is made by an evil company. And I seriously cannot taste the difference anyway! Too many years of burning my tongue or coffee really is just “yuck” as the kids say, either way I don’t drink it for pleasure and maybe after the challenge I should revisit my coffee addiction, but in the meantime…Milk

I use about .9 dirhams of coffee a day (when I only drink it once!) and I pay 6 dirhams for one liter of fresh local milk everyday. Thank God. We were buying cartoned stuff for 10 dirhams a liter, and that was a lot of packaging we were wasting… So I use about .75 dirhams worth of milk and I calculated my sugar to be about .11 dirhams per cup of coffee. I will be forgoing chocolate, I know mushkin (*rolls eyes at self*).

Grand total: 1.76 dirhams (20 US cents) a day for coffee. I’m in!

But I note that my daily coffee intake,though immensely scaled down from what it once was/could be,  is still quite a luxury compared to my neighbors’ habits. Next up I need to figure out what I’m going to be able to eat! Maybe I should just fast on those days…

Please go here to sponsor my  Live Below the Line Challenge.  All sponsorship will go to Association Bayti, a Moroccan NGO that feeds and helps “youth in difficult situations.”

Now I need to figure out what I can eat with my remaining 11 dirhams ($1.29) per day…

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