The existential dilemma of the coffee maker

My coffee maker has a problem. Which means I, too, have a problem.

The problem is this: the coffee maker has about as many functions and tricky settings as a missile defense control panel. However, all it is required to do is make coffee. I don’t want it to guide nuclear missiles to designated targets, as amusing as that might be on a slow-starting morning. I simply want it to heat water, pour the water through a basket full of ground-up coffee, then keep the drippings hot in the coffee pot. A perfectly acceptable, one might even say, laudable mission for a coffee maker. Vital, even — especially in my house.

But the coffee maker evidently yearns for greater things, and it’s developed a bit of a complex about performing what ought to be a simple function. It prematurely stops brewing and flashes “Error” messages above the sludgy oil slick at the bottom of the pot. It beeps and stops heating the brewed coffee while I’m only halfway through my first cup. No machine that really wants to be my friend is going to do that kind of thing.

I’m beginning to imagine the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android every time I pop the cover off that big can of Chock Full’o Nuts. “My intellect, which is capable of solving every known mathematical theorem simultaneously, is instead going to brew supermarket coffee . . .” Marvin the Malcontent Coffee Maker may not realize it, but he’s about to switch roles from The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to WALL-E, and not in the starring role.

Come back, Mister Coffee — all is forgiven.


4 thoughts on “The existential dilemma of the coffee maker

  1. Joseph Zitt says:

    After many years of futzing with coffee makers, I’ve returned to the classic french press. It either works or it doesn’t.

    Unfortunately, I’ve had two instances of “doesn’t” in which the glass exploded. I must have bad hot-water-and-glass karma.

  2. Fred Kiesche says:

    Joe, your bad karma with hot-water-and-glass extends back to college, IIRC.

    For coffee we have a Krups which has all sorts of fancy stuff…and we just press the “on” button for coffee. For espresso we went back to a stovetop metal maker (used to be $20.00 or so, now they seem to be hot, so the price is more like $50.00!).

  3. benbes says:

    I agree with you coffee is suppose to be made easy, is not a rocket science, if you have a machine that has options to make let say caffe latter , cappuccino or simple coffee that will be ok but if you need just a cup of coffee there is not need for all this technology.
    braun coffee grinder

  4. Great insights. I loved to read your website. You must be putting a lot of time into your blog!

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