Tracy Beckerman column: Wake up and smell the nothing
Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
As the only one in my family who drinks coffee, I often found myself making a whole pot of coffee in the morning and then throwing most of it out. Since I prefer not to waste money on anything except shoes, I finally decided to wise up and get one of those one-cup coffee makers.
I thought it would be fairly easy to find a replacement, but when I looked online, the options were dizzying. In the time since I had last purchased a coffee maker, the world had exploded with various types of coffee makers, from the ones that simply brewed a fine cup of coffee, to ones that could make a double soy latté, serve you a fresh baked chocolate croissant, wipe your mouth for you, and then pick up the dry cleaning for you when you were done.
Although I had planned to get something simple, I was ultimately seduced by one of those sleek machines with, unfortunately, an equally sleek price. This coffee maker was not just any one-cup coffee maker. This was an uber-coffee maker. It was the cremora of the crop. This was one of those espresso-pod coffee makers that looked like it was designed by an Italian race car company. It gleamed. It purred. And it brewed from 0 to 60 in less than a minute. All I had to do was fill the well with water, pop in a pod, and voila … a lovely cup of café au lait.
Really, how much easier could it be?
I bid my 10-cup coffee maker a fond farewell and stuck it up in the top of the closet with the panini press, yogurt maker, spiralizer, and other things I had bought or were gifted to me and never used but didn’t want to throw away on the off chance that 10 people would suddenly visit me who all wanted coffee with a panini, spiralized zucchini, and a cup of yogurt on the side.
It could happen.
So, the morning after my new coffee maker arrived, I carefully read the directions, cleaned out the machine and got down to business. I popped in my pod, filled up my water and started up the machine. I turned my back for a moment to check my email and then, when I heard the whooshing sound stop, I turned back to retrieve my coffee.
But there was no coffee. I stood for a minute wondering if I had actually made the coffee or just thought I did. Maybe after setting it up I’d gotten distracted and never hit the start button? It made no sense. It smelled like coffee. It felt like there was coffee in the vicinity. I knew I’d heard the whooshing sound. But alas, there was no coffee.
While I stood there like an idiot trying to figure out what the heck happened, I noticed something drip off the edge of the counter. Then a steady stream of something poured off the counter. It finally dawned on me that the stuff pouring off the counter was my coffee and I had, in fact, made the coffee … I just never put the cup under the machine to catch it.
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