Sunday, October 05, 2008

The temporary death of my latté machine

A while ago I was raving about the brilliance of Starbucks Latté/Espresso maker. How it made the best cup of "Joe" ever and how my mornings became the equivalent of a scene from the "Sound of Music". Things were rolling along just fine with few mishaps. Oh sure, the strength on some days was weak at best and my feeble attempts to substitute true espresso with traditional ground coffee was a pure rookie mistake.

Then it happened. The mother of all F-ups. I pulled the upper screen to clean out the "muck" and screwed it back down. As per usual, I likely tightened the poor guy way too tight. In it went. Secure and snuggly. Too snuggly apparently. Suddenly the poor machine stopped producing the frothy goodness, and my sad self being wondering what my next step would be. As a male I struggled to open the manual. Who needs a manual, or instructions or directions? Reluctantly I went to the "troubleshooting" section for advice. Needless to say, the suggestion was to remove this formidable screen. The aforementioned screw needed to come off. However, the screw no longer resembled a screw, but instead a car wreck, or quite simply a screw that had been screwed by an aggressive Phillips head screwdriver attached to fix-it wannabe. Nonetheless, the operation was hopeless. This guy wasn't budging and operation-latté-fix was knee-deep in frustration and going nowhere.

A call to father-fix-all was my last resort. My dad can fix anything, even stuff that is truly unfixable. He came locked and loaded with an assortment of screw drivers: big, small, short, beefy. None worked and while the years of experience that my dad brought to table was quickly halted in a red-hot minute by his son's ridiculous sense of what's tight and what's too tight, he offered up plan B and C. Plan B is in action now: WD-40 and if that doesn't work then some sort of rust killing mix. Plan C is drastic and may involve replacing parts or drilling out the said screw.

For now I have gone back to the French Press and my friend Mukka. It's an awkward alternative, but for now it's all I have! I am struggling here to get into a rhythm. The Mukka lacks the control of the true machine. I have taken 2 steps backward. I have come to recognize that I am a latté elitist. I fumble through the motions. I had buttons before and now all I have are instincts. But my instincts are unpolished, out of practice and downright minor league. The first 2 attempts failed miserably resulting in a liquid mess equivalent to Valdez. Number 3 comes tomorrow morning and I know I will strategize vigorously prior to sparking up the burner.

For now the Starbucks machine sits on my work bench, upside down with a helping of WD-40 in it's "tummy". We'll see.