Wastelands of Suburbia

A place where the cast-off ephemera of the last four generations comes to rest, and is discussed fondly....Like junk, or the injection-molded minutiae of history? Welcome home...Junkyards, yard sales, roadside oddities, thrift stores and more-your memories are deep inside the box, so keep shaking.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Espresso VS Espresso



I like to consider myself a bit of a trendsetter-I may be fooling myself, but more than one instance has proven it to be the case. In high school, I was the first guy in my class to discover The Cure. I enjoyed brewing my own beer, fine cigars, Netflix, and home theater with an actual movie screen long before anyone I knew. It's probably a case of foolish pride, but so what-I was first.

About 15 years ago I was first in my group to discover the gourmet coffees of the West Coast and their worldwide origins. I learned the difference between Cappucino, Espresso (I still cringe when someone adds an "X" in the pronunciation) and the Latte'. I relished my first taste of real Jamaican Blue Mountain and eagerly awaited the arrival of our first Starbucks.

At a yard sale at the time, I purchased the black Krups Espresso Maker you see on the right-at the time they were going for around 50 bucks so I considered it a steal for the five bucks I paid. I used it quite a bit, and transported it with me from apartment to apartment and made many a foofoo coffee drink to impress the ladies. Once, I opened it up to clean it before the pressure had been released, sending fine, powdered espresso all over my kitchen, leaving me with white raccoon eyes where my glasses had protected them from the blast.

We did not get our Starbucks til last year-although I go, the negative stigma of their globalization has made them passe' by most folks' standards. That, and the relatively uncultured nature of our populace cannot understand paying three dollars for "burnt" coffee (what they mistakenly call dark roasted blends). Recent budgetary concerns have led me back home to work on the pricy custom drinks I now find myself hooked on. I pulled out my trusty old Krups, only to find the all-crucial steam cap, that blocks water flow from the heating chamber, was missing. Fifteen years ago I'd have panicked, but the glory that is Internet led me to a supplier of dinky little hard to find coffee maker parts. For $7.65 I was back in business, still far less than the cost of a new machine. I was thrilled!

Within a week I had already misplaced the little bastard. I looked everywhere, and had written it off to my house guest, Karen (She, the Trader of Lucinda and Bringer of Donnie), helping out by emptying my dishwasher and perhaps putting it away somewhere less likely. When she said she had not seen it I began to get a little pissed.

Fortuitously, I discovered the white Krups unit you see on the left at the flea market in Saylorsburg. Complete with all the pieces and a MANUAL (never had it the first time!), it was only FIVE BUCKS! Again! I checked for the disk and sure enough it was there. I took the whole mess home and got ready to make more espresso. As I set them next to each other, I could not help but think of the old Mad Magazine "Spy VS Spy" series. I also noticed my original unit needed a cleaning, so I got to it, as I turned it over I noticed the steam cap stuck to the underside of the spout. Ah well, now I got a complete set of spare parts, albeit in white.

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