Every night before I go to bed I grind coffee beans, and ready our espresso maker for my morning cup of espresso-strength coffee. (A notable contrast to the brown coffee-scented water that one might pay real money for at gas stations.)
While fellow mothers wake each morning and think of their sweet little lambs slumbering nearby, my brain reaches for caffeine, with thoughts of how it’s going to be a fabulous day because I have great coffee to look forward to.
Except yesterday a very bad thing happened.
I turned on the espresso maker, and sparks flew out from the knob like a Fourth of July sparkler, followed by a terrible burnt-hair sort of smell.
The neurons in my brain don’t fire very fast before coffee, but once it registered that what was happening was Not Good, as opposed to say, an extra-special impromptu show in celebration of my morning cup, I turned the thing off.
Then I backed up, and walked around the house. Maybe it’s not so bad, I reasoned. Maybe some espresso makers continue working after sparks and god-awful smells? It wasn’t like I was an electrician, or one of those guys who hang out in their basements with broken toasters and VCRs and a homemade Repair Shop sign on the front lawn. So who was I to judge if it was really broken or not?
And why the hell is Shawn always gone whenever sparks fly?
I then approached the machine humbly, the way you might when you know your only shot to make things right is to admit that someone – or in this case something – is in the power position and throw yourself at its mercy. I placed my hand gently on the side of the machine, smelling electrical death and decay setting in, and unplugged the cord. I lifted it off the counter, and swung it around gently, like one might a freshly-diapered baby to make them giggle. Certainly airing it out might help the overheated parts?
Then I gingerly plugged it back in, and turned the partially-melted-but-still-perfectly-usable knob…
Must. Have. Coffee.
Then in desperation I grabbed the tea kettle and began boiling water for the French press we use whenever we go camping.
Since then, I’ve been on a quest to figure out how to replace the perfect cup. How to make it so that I look forward to waking every morning again. While the French press might satisfy people in France, it’s not quite right for this coffee princess.
Our old espresso maker, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, was a Mr. Coffee. But it was a gift, so the price was right, and despite the fact that it wasn’t imported from Italy and didn’t require that its metal parts be polished like counter art, it set a surprisingly high bar for good, strong coffee.
Some years ago, my sister- and brother-in-law introduced us to the AeroPress (pictured above) while camping – a contraption that can only be described as coffee science meets an enema.
Still, faced with a real coffee crisis, I realized we don’t have money set aside to purchase the type of espresso maker I’d like to replace the late Mr. Coffee with. So we tried the AeroPress for $30.
I was skeptical.
The first cup that Shawn prepared and ceremoniously presented to me, I wasn’t sold.
Then he did a very unmanly thing, and consulted the coffee-making directions that came with the thing. This morning he set to coffee making with the AeroPress once again, muttering about grinding the beans to the perfect degree of fineness, and using a thermometer inside the kettle to determine optimal coffee-pressing temperature.
Anyway, second cup: I’m a fan.
Life is good again.
END NOTE: I've never done product reviews in this space, and I don't have any former-but-still-nice-looking boyfriends working for AeroPress. (At least I don't think I do.)