The boss stuck me with the job of buying the office a new coffee machine. He didn’t give me a budget, just a card, so after 30 minutes of digging around on the net I discovered 30 variations of the same tame little Swedish or faux Swedish chrome coffee maker. The primary variation in the models dealt with what kind of coffee cartridge they took.
Another 5 minutes of digging around made it pretty clear that this was another VHS and Beta situation. One of the two types of cartridges was far more widely available and offered more choices in terms of coffee.
Unlike VHS versus Beta, it’s unlikely the winner was decided by the relative availability of porn on the two cartridges. Coffee and porn don’t seem like two things that go better together.
And so much for that.
And so I sat there with the company credit card in my hand. Something was keeping me from making the obvious and safe choice.
Probably that black company card. Seemed like a challenge.
So I searched some more. Spent the afternoon digging around. All the Kroneg’s and Keorigs are closer the Toyotas of the coffee world. There were BWMs out there, $3,000 machines with more chrome and bigger screens.
Still boring though.
The boss drifted by my desk late in the day, on his way out I guess.
“Important decision, son. Don’t fuck it up.”
I took the card home, and kept looking.
Near midnight when I was pretty heavily into the drink I found a little company out of Detroit that seemed to offer something legitimately different. I took one look at the tangle of rust colored tubes, the amber phosphor screen, the coffee loader that looked like the ammunition cartridge from an anti tank gun, and I couldn’t get the numbers off the credit card fast enough.
When I got in the next morning, technicians from the Turing Coffee Roasting Company were already installing the beast in the break room.
The other employees were standing around puzzled, intimidated maybe by the spider web of pipes, the controls that looked as intuitive and safe as the control panel of a nuclear submarine.
My boss just said, “Give me my damn card back.”
Several hours later, when the technicians had finished, they walked me through making my first cup. Kona Gold, they said. It tasted of regret.
The lead technician handed me his card on the way out. “Our warranty covers everything up to acts of God.”
“Any sufficiently angry one,” he said. “And if, you know…”
“No.” I said.
“Well. If anything unsettling happens, feel free to give me a call.”
That was a month ago. My fellow employees have for the most part come to terms with the thing. Once you spend time with the dials, get to know the valves, and compensate for daily humidity, phases of the moon, etc, it actually makes a fairly decent cup of coffee.
So imagine my surprise when, one morning after setting the transverse loop reverse steam stabilizer to compensate for the faint rays of morning sunlight streaming through the east window, the following words appeared on the amber monitor.
“Good morning, Charlie. We need to talk.”