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The Deeper Meaning Behind Everyday Purchases and the value of quality

Updated: Jun 9

What is our perception of money? Fortunately, I have many friends who bake sourdough bread. For those of us familiar with this noble craft, baking bread—especially high-quality sourdough—is no easy feat. When I arrived in Edmonton, just three blocks away, there was Brio Bakery. I never hesitated to pay $10 for a loaf of sourdough bread. Comparing this to the white bread at Costco, which offers around 12 servings for less than $3, the price difference is significant. And so is the difference in quality.

Sourdough bread
Sexy airy texture in my homemade sourdough loaf

Choosing to pay $10 instead of $3 implies a difference in status and income. Perhaps. But it also raises questions about how we value food and make spending decisions. I suppose these are questions everyone should ask themselves.

A few months ago, I heard something that resonated with me: "I feel truly alive when I desire something beyond my basic needs." In the realm of foodies, fine dining, and fashion—where the pursuit of the best is common—there are times when enjoying the best of the best may seem superficial.

Now, I don't think so. Considering the countless production hours involved in growing wheat, logistics, setting up a bakery, cultivation, fermentation, kneading, waiting, baking, and mastering technique, a loaf of bread is worth $10 to me. Maybe not to you, and that's okay.

We can apply this same example to other products: cheese, wine, meat, paintings, fabrics, music, clothing. They all represent human endeavors, with many individuals pursuing their dreams and striving to do their best, investing their time. While there may be exceptions, I like to believe that when I pay for something well-made, it reflects a considerable amount of thought and effort. That fascinates me now. And I appreciate and respect it, because we do the same.

Dota Coffee Company Coffee Plantations
One of our coffee plantations!

My dad planted his first coffee plantation in Costa Rica in 1990, and then another in 2000. It takes about four years for a coffee plant to yield its first harvest and another two years to establish itself. After blooming, it takes nine months to see the coffee beans each year, followed by 15 to 22 days of drying after harvesting and another 30 days of resting before selection and hulling. Then, amid paperwork and stress, it takes about three months to reach Canada, where our coffee beans are roasted and packaged.

It took me four years of unconscious work to realize that perhaps writing is therapy for me. It took us about ten years to build a successful tourism project on our farm. Patience is something I remind myself of every day, as I struggle to grasp this concept. Considering the technology I grew up with and how everything nowadays is so convenient and fast, this may be one reason we've lost sight of the perception and value of things. By paying $22 for a bag of the best costa rican coffee instead of $10 at Costco, we're compensating for the time invested across the entire value chain. The rich have money, but the wealthy have time. Or consider paying $10 for a loaf of bread instead of $3.

So I ask you, the next time you're about to spend money, how will you use it? What do you find value in?


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