If we were to subject our visitors to a modern form of torture by forcing them to endure a tour of our basement storage shelves, the astute observer would immediately diagnose a bad case of java jeopardy in our house.
The malady is apparent from the different models of coffee makers now relegated to a future of dust and mildew as they sit abandoned and unloved.
The most ancient specimen is the coffee urn that once functioned proudly as a staple of church bazaars and baby showers. It chugged away with hisses and gurgles, while emitting an enticing odor that caused nostrils to go in search of the chocolate sheet cake that was sure to accompany a cup of brew. It even occasionally held a huge pot of holiday wassail, which left a permanent residue of cloves and stick cinnamon and gave subsequent coffee batches a nice aftertaste.
The urn earned its spot in the basement when large gatherings in one’s home went the way of black and white television.
Another device in storage is the expresso coffee maker that formed the non-marital property my husband arrived with. That product of the late eighties got only one workout in my kitchen, being banished to storage after the milk froth left white spots all over the counter.
The latest additions to basement storage include a one cup Keurig (it contains no water reservoir and does not justify its existence enough with its one-cup convenience), a little French Press carafe (too messy to clean) and assorted Mr. Coffees with missing or broken pots.
A few years ago we acquired a used Keurig machine with a large water reservoir that my husband used to make cups of instant soup. Joining that contraption across the kitchen was a serviceable Mr. Coffee with a thermal mug that satisfied our bulk java fixes.
When the above-cited Keurig began malfunctioning by sounding like a jet engine warming up on the tarmac . . . while at the same time our bulk coffee maker was proving inadequate for my brother-in-law’s large consumption on his frequent visits . . . it was time to go coffee maker shopping.
Imagine my excitement at discovering a hybrid machine that would brew an entire 12 cup pot, use our own loose coffee to make one cup or even make a quick cup from a pod or K-cup! I was in coffee heaven . . . until my technologically challenged mate could not execute the necessary steps to make his instant soup because he had to push a plastic thingy in, then push it down while holding his mouth just right.
The cute little black flex brew machine was quickly returned to the Red Dot store and we made a trip to that mecca to American consumerism that begins with a W. It was there that we experienced our java jeopardy meltdown.
Nothing seemed to fit our needs in just one device. We had already nixed the new Keurig 2.0, due to its proprietary requirements to use only its own brand of K-cups (for which various ingenious persons had already devised hacks and posted them on YouTube). But eliminating only one kind left us with a dizzying choice that included machines that grind the beans and them emit the brew in one cup, the older style Keurigs that accept any brand of pod, the old workhorses with familiar branding, the travel units that fit in their own carrying case. We found ourselves wishing for an adult to give us the evil eye and begin a countdown, just like we used to give our son when he could not decide which Lego set to purchase.
We went home with two coffee makers: One older Keurig and one of those bulk workhorses that will remember to turn itself off after two hours so the house doesn’t burn down.
We are now enjoying better-tasting coffee but considering a kitchen remodel to accommodate a more spacious coffee corner. Personally, I am contemplating a return to tea drinking. Tea does not cause this much mental anguish.