Friday, November 27, 2009

Coffee, Tea or Stupid Me?

On Wednesday night I went down to the basement to do laundry. I was lucky, as there were no other neighbors down there to piss me off.

After loading the machine, I walked out of the room and glanced down to see what looked like a coffee maker on the floor.

Chelsea Fact: If you see something on the floor next to the trash, this means, "I am not broken, but unwanted. Take me home before I end up in the super's apartment."

The Cuisinart box next to it confirmed it. "Somebody upgraded," I said to myself, as if they just left their 2007 Lexus in the garage with the keys in it on the way to the dealership to pick up their 2010.

(Jesus. Talk about metaphor overload)

When Larry came home, I showed it to him, as if it was a stray cat that followed me home. "Can I keep it? Please?" The only thing missing was the stainless steel carafe, which I knew could easily be replaced. I have had a lot of experience when it comes to replacing Cuisinart coffee carafes.

"But does it work?" asked Larry. I had just assumed it did since it wasn't shattered on the floor.

In order to test it out, I had to improvise. I used a 5 inch cube vase to collect the water, and held a spoon against the little "Brew Pause" button to keep the water coming out. Just visualize this for a second. Awkward and hot.

Now that we had proof that it worked, we decided to order a new carafe at the Cuisinart store. I clicked "add to cart" and looked at the total.

"It's $56.00 with the shipping, Larry."

"Really?"

Suddenly, this stray cat had developed fleas. "But then again, it does have the integrated grinder," I added.

I clicked, "Submit order."

Internet Fact: Never, EVER pay for expedited shipping at Cuisinart.com. The standard shipping works out to 2 days.

The carafe arrived at work on Friday and brought it home. But something bothered me. Even though the machine seemed new, I just felt like this thing needed a good cleaning first.

So I did a Google search for "how to clean a coffee maker with vinegar"

Here is what the bastards at about.com recommended:

1. Remove and dispose of used coffee filter from filter basket.
2. Add vinegar to the water reservoir until 1/4 full. Fill with water until full.
3. Run the coffee maker.
4. Turn off the coffee maker; let cool for 10 minutes.
5. Run the vinegar and water mixture through the coffee maker again. Let cool 10 minutes.
6. Run plain water through the coffee maker; let cool 10 minutes, repeat.
7. Hand-wash the carafe and filter basket in soapy water.

Tips:

1. You can also wash the carafe in the dishwasher.
2. If the vinegar odor is still present after two rinsings, run more water through coffee maker.


Not only did I use less vinegar than they recommended, but I after 6 rinses with water, the machine still smelled of vinegar. I unplugged the machine and left it overnight.

Saturday morning, I could not wait to use my new, clean coffee maker.

As I got closer, I developed an urge for salad. Fuck you, "about.com".

Since I was too lazy to do it there was no room in the storage closet, I left the old, tired, stained Betty Crocker machine on the counter. I would now have to rely on this for my caffeine fix.

When the coffee was ready, I headed for the fridge, only to realize that we were out of milk.

I remembered last night's conversation with Larry.

"Do we have any milk for tomorrow?"
"Let's see. Well, this milk expires - today!"
I smelled the milk and recoiled, knowing that I didn't want to risk putting this in my coffee.
"Why don't you go out and get some more?" asked Larry.
I looked at the clock on the cable box. "It's ten o'clock!" I said, as if that was a legitimate excuse. "I'll go in the morning."

I honestly thought I'd have enough pre-coffee energy to go out and get milk from Gristedes.

On Sunday morning, I was up early and thought I'd finally try out the new machine. With Larry asleep, I decided against using the grinder and used pre-ground beans. The coffee came out pretty good, so I decided it was worth all the hassle.

After Larry woke up, he went out on an errand. I decided I would make a second pot of coffee, but this time, I would use the coveted grinder feature. Excitement beyond measure.

I poured the beans into the top. I filled the machine with water. I pressed the button. The grinds were quickly pulverized to my delight, then propelled into the basket. The machine began to brew the coffee. I could not wait to taste this freshly ground coffee.

I poured a cup. I skipped to the fridge. In my pathetic excitement, I poured too much milk into the coffee. "Oh, well," I sang to myself, confident that the luxury of freshly ground coffee would easily compensate for that. I sipped the coffee.

And I grimaced.

Something had gone horribly awry. The coffee was weak, watery. Did I not use enough beans? Was there really too much milk in my cup? Do I tell Larry?

When Larry returned, I pretended that nothing was wrong. "I used the grinder! You want to try some?" I figured that it was easier to trick him into drinking it than confess and be mocked into oblivion.

Larry poured the coffee into a clear mug. "Oh come on," he said. "Look at this. This is tea!" he said, holding it up to the light. I felt incredibly stupid, like when I was a kid and thought I could make strawberry flavored milk by adding Kool Aid to it.

Defeated, I said, "Damn," and watched him pour it down the drain. I didn't know what else to do so I dumped the pot down the drain.

"Maybe this is why they got rid of it," I said to myself, hoping that I could blame the machine for this mess.

I opened up the machine and was confused. Why are so many of the coffee grinds still dry? Did the machine malfunction? What the hell? I began to feel the burn of regret, knowing that our $56.00 stainless steel carafe was now a useless water pitcher. Maybe we could use it to mix margaritas.

Inside the machine, there were grinds all over the place. I removed the abnormally heavy basket and dumped it into the sink. "This sucks," I griped.

And then it hit me: In my rush to make the second pot (with whole beans! OMG!) I forgot to throw the old coffee grinds out.

"Ohhh," I said.

"What is it, Chris?" asked Larry from the couch, with a smirk on his face.

"You'll never believe what happened..."

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