In a borough fully of silly things that are more expensive than they have any they right to be, here’s a new one people seem to have been talking a lot about this past week: the $7 licorice latte at Budin cafe in Greenpoint. That sure is a lot of money for a cup of coffee!
It’s even on the upper end of what I’m generally willing to pay for a beer. (It’s also not a flavor combination that sounds especially good—coffee and licorice—but I’m willing to be proven wrong.) More to the point, though, is it really worth getting all riled up over? Or worth multiple publications sinking to the level of a “that’s a latte money” jokes?
Budin’s co-owner explained to the Daily News last week that “each component is of a higher caliber that is rarely seen in the states. They come together in a unique flavor all its own.” And sure, it’s plausible that a beverage with ingredients sourced from Ethiopia, Norway, and Denmark could get pricey. Counterpoint? Porto Rico Important Company’s owner Peter Longo told the paper, “There is nothing, nothing, nothing that will make a latte $7—except hubris. It’s the emperor’s new clothes.”
Valid points all around, I guess, but none of them really address the crux of the issue: if you think a $7 latte is stupid, you’re in no way obligated to purchase one! You could not go to Budin at all, or you could even buy a $2 cup of drip or a $4 non-licorice latte right there, in the hallowed presence of the $7 one. It’s all so simple!
Even though it’s important to guard against overpriced nonsense—we could all be fighting harder against the $18 cocktail, and all the other stupid ways we use our precious dollars every month—this just doesn’t feel like a particularly huge offense. It also doesn’t feel so different from the kind of knee-jerk derision that’s fueled months of anti-De Blasio “soy latte” jokes on Fox News. Either buy the dumb coffee or don’t, but let’s save our ire for real problems—like your rent.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.