I have just moved into a new house.

As such, it has been a week since I have been able to make coffee. I believe the hardest thing about leaving home (apart from the tears and feeling of rejection) is that you lose access to that most necessary of commodities, the espresso machine.

I miss my parents' espresso machine.

I have recently aquired a coffee machine, which I have just learnt is actually known as a moka. Unfortunately, It seems I am physically incapable of using it properly. You see, it is a small stovetop device, quite simple really, where water goes in the bottom, coffee goes into the middle and a spout comes out of the top, filling a small cup with coffee. Theoretically.

It shouldn't be that hard to work. However, if you're either incompetent (like me), or inclined to make a mess and instill fear in your flatmates, you can follow these simple steps:

  • Preheat the hotplates. This allows you to burn yourself with much more ease. It's best to use the biggest hotplate.
  • Unscrew the machine. This in itself is reasonably difficult to do improperly. They're usually built tough, and can stand a reasonable amount of abuse. Be creative.
  • Overfill the bottom container with water. Spill water on the benchtop, on the floor and especially down your shirt.
  • Attempt to fill the next compartment with ground coffee. Use a spoon that is far to big and heap it as full as possible. If you don't spill any, you're not putting enough coffe in.
  • Transport the entire device to the stove. Keep it seperate and only make one trip. This works best if the stove is a reasonable distance from the sink.
  • Attempt to put the device together on the hotplate. This should be quite easy. Nevertheless, try to spill some ground coffee and water onto the stove.
  • Watch the pot boil, it is much faster that way.
  • Turn away just long enough for the water to boil through the improperly sealed chamber. This results in partially saturated coffee solution flowing onto the hotplate. This in turn results in the wonderful smell of burnt coffee wafting through the house.
  • Begin to panic.
  • Remove the device from the stove.
  • Grab a tea-towel and try to remove the device from the stove.
  • Repeat the last 6 steps.
  • And again.
  • This time, watch as steam comes out the spout but no coffee. Attempt to work around the steam and turn the inconveniently placed knob to the coffee position.
  • Tire of watching coffee drip out extremely slowly and twist the aforementioned knob until a copious amount of steam is forced out, ensuing in coffee leaving the cup and spilling onto the hotplate and any nearby limbs.
  • Repeat the last two steps until coffee mug is approximately full.

At this point, I had what can be loosely called a cup of coffee. All the way through, I was expecting to be tapped on the shoulder by a figure of authority, asking if I please wouldn't mind providing some form of identification and a current licence for my coffee making device.

I am not currently in control of this device.

Hence, I form the opinion that any person seeking to make coffee should have to pass a formal examination before they are allowed anywhere within close proximity of a coffee machine. I now have even more respect for coffee shop staff than I did previously.

There is now ash in my coffee.

All I can smell is the stench of burnt coffee beans on the hotplate.


Epilogue:

I just bought an espresso machine, a small Kenwood home model. Impressed with how easy it was going to be to make coffee from now onwards, I eagerly get home and put it together. I only spill minimal amounts of water as I fill the reservoir, but seem to spill a susbtantial amount of coffee. As I look closer at the coffee holder (not necessarily the technical term), and then at the instructions, I notice I am missing the small stainless steel filter that sits above the nozzle.

It seems I am not even capable of using an espresso machine.

I called the megamart I bought the machine from, and proceeded to wait on hold for nearly half an hour. The conclusion was a vague promise from an unknown person that he would call me back sometime in the following week. I will wait by the phone in anticipation.

I still can not make coffee.

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