When the coffee maker sings


© 2017 Valentina Rentsch, All Rights Reserved

Forty-two

17:27 P.M.

The door falls into its locks. The last teacher has left the lounge and the day is over. The kitchen is clean, the counters are wiped clean, all the cups and spoons are in the dishwasher and all I can hear now is the low whirring and swishing sound the dishwasher is making. My job is done for today.

It’s only a few weeks now until the summer holidays start and I will get a thorough cleanup myself. My clients will return with lots of stories from their holidays, time spent with family and travelling. One story or rather stories I’m especially looking forward to are the ones from a special friend of mine.

She’ll be travelling across Australia for about six months and see so many beautiful and interesting things. I heard the coffee over there is pretty good. They have something the Flat White. Wonder what that is.

Since I’m stuck here, we made the deal that she will tell me her stories whenever she gets the chance to.

I can’t wait!

Forty-one

1 P.M.

The last busy break for today. After that there won’t be too much going on today. Some teachers have afternoon classes, but the number is comparatively small. You already see that teachers are leaving for home.

Forty

12:10 P.M.

Peter has managed to get all the beans out. Good. If only one bean stays in the container, the ground coffee won’t get through and the whole machine will be blocked. Sorry, coffee-mate, but that’s the way it goes.

One of the teachers who is responsible for buying the coffee has just brought a full cardboard pallet of coffee packets. They should seriously work on their system when it comes to buying coffee. With so many coffee drinkers the consumption of this black brew is pretty high. I’ve never counted the bags of coffee they use per week but I must be quite a lot. The coffee drinkers pay per cup they drink and that is added up and somehow they figure out how much each customer has to pay. Then the person who more or less volunteered to collect the money and buy it will slip you a note with the amount of money you owe them. This is a tedious and often annoying job. No one wants to do it, because no one wants to remind the customers to pay their dues. There must be a different and much easier way to organize the whole coffee business.

They must have an overview how much coffee is drunk every term or school year. Then they can calculate the amount of coffee that is needed for the whole term or year. Have a pallet of coffee shipped on a regular basis so no one has to actually go out and buy coffee. The coffee will be shipped to school every two or three weeks or so and that way there should always be enough coffee in the house.

The only thing that is not solved is the timely payment by the clients. But that shouldn’t cause too much of a problem if there is a coffee account where the payment is transferred to and the coffee is paid from.

A commercial college should be able to come up with an even better solution for this problem, shouldn’t it? I hear them speak about projects they do with their students. How about this one?

Thirty-nine

11:26 A.M.

Um, hello! If you want more coffee; somebody should refill my container. I’m running low – very low.

Funny how little attention people pay to my needs.

“Coffee is empty. Where’s the refill? A teacher asks without addressing anybody specifically.

“More coffee should be in the cupboard underneath the drawer. Let’s check,” somebody replies.

“No coffee there. Are we out of coffee? Not today! I need another cup of coffee to survive this day,” a lady says with a slight tone of desperation in her voice.

“I have a pound of coffee in my cupboard. I put it there the other day”, a young teacher trainee announces happily. “Here, let me get it. I can fill it in, too.”

Good, let the young ones step up. Remember: turn key, open front, remove lid, and pour coffee.

Hey! No! What are you doing? Stop!

What the bean..!

Yes, bean or rather beans. That ignoramus just poured in whole coffee beans. I’m not a grinder. I don’t grind the beans, I only use ground coffee. Congratulations. Let’s see how you clean up that mess! If I could roll my eyes, I would now.

“What did you do? Hahahaha, you put in whole beans? It doesn’t work like that. Sorry, Peter, I think you have to take all the beans out of there. And I mean all of them. I don’t think you can take the container out so you’ll have to do it by hand, bean for bean.”

“For Pete’s sake, seriously? No coffee now?”

Thirty-eight

“What’s the name of the Hebings’ daughter?”

“Joshua.”

 

Oh dear, I think somebody needs some long holidays.

Thirty-seven

“How many cups have you had today?” the blond religion teacher wants to know. “Four or five, I think. Why?” her young colleague asks. “Don’t forget to eat something too and drink enough water too. Too much coffee isn’t good for you!”

Excuse me! Would you please refrain from stopping my customers to get their preferred drink! There is no evidence that coffee is bad. Unless of course you have problems with your stomach or heart or blood pressure.

“Don’t you know the old song?” she asks her colleague. “Which song?”

C-a-f-f-e-e, trink nicht so viel Kaffee. Nicht für Kinder ist der Türkentrank, schwächt die Nerven, macht dich blass und krank. Sei doch kein Muselmann, der ihn nicht lassen kann.”

Ah yes, I have heard that song before. The English translation would be something like this: c-o-f-f-e-e don’t drink too much coffee. Not for children is that drink of the Turks, weakens nerves, makes you pale and sick. Don’t be a Muslim-man, who can’t stop drinking it.

Today this song might be considered racist. I have heard Switzerland has already deleted this song from songbooks. Back in the olden days this was a popular children song. I think the story simply refers to the history of coffee and its popularity among the Arabic and Ottoman peoples. But what do I know, I’m just a coffee maker.

Thirty-six

11:15 A.M.

The second break starts and teachers are pouring into the lounge again. As always during almost any break my customers – or should I call them patients? – flock around me. “Coffee, coffee, coffee.” Yes, yes, I’m on it, it’s coming, here you go…

Thirty-five

“ ’Since I’m doing my work placement at this logistics company and I like this job very much, I would like you to give me a ‘C’ in English. In order to do an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk I need a ‘C’ and the ‘D’ I currently have stands in my way. I hope you understand this. Many thanks.’ Do you believe that?”

The English teacher is cracking up. “The audacity this student has. Unbelievable. Sure, you can get the better grade. Not a problem. Oh, by the way, I wanted to buy a new car but my bank account is in my way. Could I get a pay rise, please. I’m sure you understand.”

“It’s unbelievable,” the other teacher replies, “what students nowadays think they can ask for. The sad thing is we tell them all the time to remember the grades are important for their job applications. Yet, they don’t work for them.”

“The really annoying thing with this student is that he knows and admitted that his English sucks. He said he just can’t remember the words and has a tough time learning for the class test. But during class he just sits there and occupies himself with his neighbours or his phone. Whenever we work on writing texts or letters, he belongs to the those students who have written three sentences whereas the rest is done with the text. And then he wants the better grade!”

I hear these stories all the time. It’s not a new phenomenon. The good thing is that those students who are like one find out later what they want and some of the ones who are really tired of school and therefore pretty bad discover their interests later at work. I know of students who barely got their degree and later worked their way up and became leaders of the departments. They have found their strengths and have achieved so much more than what one would have expected.

“The good thing is that he has another year to work for this grade. Maybe knowing how important this English grade is for his application, he will actually take better part in class and commit.”

“Let’s hope so because I’m convinced he can pull it off. He’s a good kid, just a bit lazy maybe,” says the English teacher.

Thirty-four

10:59 A.M

“Whatcha doin’”?, a teacher is asking another one who is sitting at the table closest to me.

“I’m preparing a quiz about coffee,” she replies.

A quiz about coffee? Hey, ask me, I know everything about coffee. Come on, first question, shoot!

“Sounds interesting. What are you doing it for?”

“We are doing a project about coffee in class and the students have worked on different topics that all have to do with coffee somehow.”

 “Nice. What’s one of the questions?”

“Well, this one here is about the origin of coffee. Where does it originally come from? It’s basically about who discovered or invented coffee.”

Ha, that’s an easy one. I originally come from Africa, Ethiopia to be precise. My history goes all the way back to the 11th century. Admittedly, tea has been around much longer - over three thousand years longer, but who’s counting?

There are different versions of how coffee made its entrance into this world. Like with so many things there is a legend that goes like this:

One beautiful day the goat herder Kaldi, who was a monk living on a high plateau in Ethiopia, watched his goats eat the fruit of a coffee shrub. After a short while he noticed a changed behavior in his goats as they were running around, full of energy. Very unusual.

The clever monk he was, he tried the fruit himself and experienced the same reaction. I’m sure he was not jumping around like the goats, but he felt very energized.

He collected some more of those red berries and went home to the monastery to show them to his brethren. They all tried the ‘magical fruit’ as it was soon to be called and spent the night awake. They were clearly drugged by that new fruit.

This legend is all nice and cute, but there is another story about the discovery of coffee out there. Listen to this:

The beginnings of coffee were not so much different back in Ethiopia when very clever people harvested the leaves and boiled them in water. So maybe it was still more a tea than a coffee really.

This way of drinking coffee became very popular and it was Yemen which became known as the best place to grow the coffee trees due to its ideal climate and rich soils.

It took until the mid 16th century when the Turks discovered the drink. It was the Ottoman governor of Yemen, Özdemir Pasha, who brought coffee over to Istanbul. The palace of Sultan Suleiman then had the magnificent idea to actually roast the beans over a fire and then ground the coffee to a powder. Then they poured hot water over it and this created that wonderful new aroma that we still know today. Maybe that’s how Sultan Suleiman received his epithet ‘the Magnificent’. I could go for that explanation.

“I think I read that is came from Ethiopia,” the other teacher said.

Bingo.

“You read correctly. Do you know how it got to Vienna?” the first teacher asked.

“Amazon mail order?” the other teacher replied.

Smart ass. No, it’s thanks to the Turks again. During the Ottoman Empire the Turks were a very powerful empire for a long time. They tried to conquer Vienna twice but failed both times. When they retreated in 1683 the Turks left behind several goods among which were 500 sacks of coffee beans.

It took the knowledge of Georg Franz Kolschitzky, a Polish nobleman, to introduce the Viennese to coffee. Kolschitzky had lived among the Turks for many years and hence knew coffee. When the Turks besieged the Austrian city of Vienna for the second time, Kolschitzky offered to escape the city walls and find help with the Duke Charles of Lorraine. The Pole allegedly left the city disguised as a Turk and singing Ottoman songs. Who wouldn’t trust a singing man?

“It was my fellow countryman Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki who took the coffee from the Turks and opened the first coffee house in Vienna,” the visiting Polish teacher, Marta, chimed in. “I’m sorry, I’ve been eavesdropping on you,” she said with a smile.

Interesting, the German language changed the Pole’s and Germanized it.

“That’s right. He’s still a celebrated hero in Vienna.”

Well, he may be celebrated but the part about opening the first coffee house is not true. My buddy from Vienna told me last time we met for a system update and had a mélange a trois that it was an Armenian man called Johannes Diodato who founded the first coffee house in Vienna in 1685.

Personally, I don’t really care who it was. The important thing is, we have coffee now and can get it basically all over the world. Thank you, Kaldi!

Thirty-three

Did you know that it’s good to know how to order coffee sometimes especially when you like your coffee plain black? There is this one popular coffee chain in the USA. In the broad northeastern area of New England you have to be careful what you say when ordering. If you want your coffee black and without any sugar, you have to say exactly that. If you are used to calling this coffee ‘regular’, then be aware. ‘Regular’ in the New England area means you want milk/cream and sugar in your coffee.

Apparently there are other things you should know. If you order a small regular coffee, you will get two cream and two sugar. With a medium sized regular coffee, you will get a coffee with three cream and three sugar. Order a large one, you will get four cream and sugar.

Who knew that ordering a cup of coffee can be that complicated?

Thirty-two

“He said he didn’t want to read out his homework because he hadn’t written much. I told him not to worry and just read what he had prepared. He said, ‘Well, I don’t really have anything. I forgot to do it.’ You should have heard the class roaring.”

“So what did you say?”

“I told him he was right, he really hadn’t written much.”

The colleagues were laughing.

Sometimes I wonder where the teachers get the patience from. I’ve been doing my job here long enough to have heard many stories about students. And teachers. Don’t be mistaken; teachers can be as bad. At least some. It would be unfair to generalize any group. There are those who do their job and are fun to be around and then there are those who can truly be a nuisance. I guess that is true for any group of people. I’m pretty sure my international customers would agree.

Thirty-one

About a year ago we were assigned a new boss. The old one retired and the position was filled with an internal applicant. Nobody knew what was coming and if and where changes would be done. It’s not really for me to judge that since I am mostly an observer of things going on in the lounge. But I have ears and I hear remarks and comments. I have the feeling the general mood changed quite a bit with the change of command. With the old boss my customers often had to wait and see what mood he was in that day before they approached him with any request. Now it seems they just go up to the new boss and tell her what they need. I haven’t seen her unfriendly or mad about anything. Yes, she says how things are and when she is not happy, but she does that in a professional way. I hope she keeps doing it that way. I know how people can change after having done a job for some years. A job can be so stressful and suck the life out of you. That’s also what I’m for. Only people often forget that. My coffee doesn’t just serve as a drink. It is meant to be enjoyed with some minutes of relaxation too. Only then can you continue doing a good job. Unfortunately my customers don’t always listen to me. Or they are simply not able to understand me when I talk to them. What a pity.

Thirty

10:35 A.M.

One of the secretaries comes into the kitchen and changes my mode from single cup to 7 cups. That can only mean on thing: My job is to brew coffee for a whole pot. Good thing I have already recovered the brewmania 45 minutes ago. There must be another meeting going on today too. I only fill coffee pots when there are important meetings happening with our boss.

Twenty-nine

These international workshops sound like so much fun. I wish I could go there too. For this project they have planned two teachers only meetings and three students workshops, each in a different country. One teachers workshop was held in Ireland already, the three students workshops are going to be in Germany, Poland, and Italy. The final teachers only workshop to wrap up and evaluate the whole project will take place in Finland. The meeting here is the first students workshop. Apparently the students who are taking part in the workshop are meeting up right now and working on their individual projects and preparing a joint presentation of their results so far.

If anybody ever says school life is boring, they should come here.

Twenty-eight

“I said 300. You should have seen their faces. They were like ‘Wow – 300- can you say something?’”

“They seriously believed you speak 300 languages?”

“Yes.!” My favourite Spanish teacher smiled and nodded. “Of course I gave them some proof. I said ‘Okay, this is Portuguese: Lisboa. Russian: Nastrovje. Italian: Arrivederci. Hebrew: Shalom: French: Le Tour Eiffel.’ And I looked dead serious and convincing.”

“Hahahaha, unbelievable. Didn’t anybody doubt you?”

“Not one, I think. I then told them, ‘Look, there is a very important rule you have to know: Don’t believe everything the teacher tells you. Be critical and think. No person in the world speaks 300 languages. There may be people who can speak up to 20 languages but not many, believe me.’ You should have seen their faces; they were a bit disappointed. I then told them I spoke ten languages and they were still amazed.”

Come on, seriously, ten languages? How come students are so gullible? Don’t they use their brains?

“No way they believed that too,” the colleague exploded with laughter. “Well, I told them again to remember the rule I just taught them. I then told them I do speak three languages and then bits and pieces of French and Italian. They were still impressed.”

Holy coffee bean, these students today!

Twenty-seven

I wish the programmers finally came up with a voice-controlled version of me. One that understands commands in any language. I could then really show my language abilities because I could just answer in the language I was spoken to.


 

Twenty-six

Within a minute the lounge is empty again and my customers have left and gone to do their job. Only the small group of international teachers is still here. Their language of communication is English, which suits me well. This way I can just lay back and listen to whatever they are talking about.

Twenty-five

Did you know I speak several languages too? I could easily work in other countries too. Just select the language you want me to speak and I’ll speak it. So far you can choose between 10 languages, some European languages and some Asian ones. Unfortunately I have only spoken German here so far. But I am able to speak other ones too, just saying.

Twenty-four

9:45 A.M.

Ding-ding-dong-dong.

End of break one, back to classes, everyone.

 

Twenty-three

“May I introduce you to our group of visitors? “Remember Isabel and Carlota from Spain? They have been here before and a part of this international group project, too. This is Giancarlo from Italy, this is Marta from Poland and these are Anne and   Johanna from Finland.”

One of the English teachers is introducing the guests to another colleague. “Very pleased to meet you and welcome to our school. What project are you working on right now?” she enquires. “ This project has to do with sustainability and what we and our students can do to support the improvement of our environment and society.” “How interesting. Please let me know if you need anything. Do you already have dinner plans for tonight?” “No, tonight is our free night. Do you have any recommendations for us?” “Absolutely! Why don’t you all come to my house and I’ll prepare something for us.” “But only if it’s not too much of a hassle or you.” “Are you kidding? I love to have guests in my home. Especially when they are international ones. Shall we say around 7 tonight then?” “Wonderful, that sounds lovely. Thank you so much.”

Thank you. Now I know what’s going on and who those people are. I remember someone saying a group of international teachers would be coming soon. Soon was today. I’m glad I can do my part and serve them my freshly and slightly hotter coffee today.

 Twenty-two

9:42 A.M.

Ding-ding-dong-dong.

Twenty-one

I’m asking again, what is going on here? Who are these people here? What are they doing here? Will somebody please explain to me what the beans is going on?

Twenty

“Te apetece un café?”

Ooh, I love when our Spanish teachers actually speak Spanish. Not that I understand much, but I understood café so I guess she wants me to make another cup of coffee. Si, señora. Here it comes.

I don’t know the lady she is talking to but the sounds of their words and voices almost make me melt. I have to be careful not become too excited and brew the water too hot. What can I do, I’m a sucker for foreign languages.

“Tu veux un café? Una tazza de caffe? Haluaisitko kupin kahvia?”

What is going on? Stop it! My temperature is rising!

Nineteen

The other day somebody came up with the glorious idea of exchanging me for a machine with coffee beans. Yes, it is true. It would improve the taste and quality of the coffee quite a bit. However, what these people here don’t understand is how much longer it takes to make a cup of coffee. First I have to grind the beans before I can actually brew the coffee. Remember when I talked about how impatient my customers can be?

Also, most of the grinders are rather noisy. When I think about the noise level here in the lounge it would just not be advantageous to add to the noise.

I must admit though that there is one good thing about those bean-to-cup machines: you have options. You can choose between a regular coffee, an espresso, a macchiato and a latte. I don’t offer those choices. I only make coffee – black coffee.

On the other hand, I don’t have to be cleaned all the time. Every now and then is enough. When I feel it’s time to get a clean up, I just stop working and declare a malfunction in the system. Then the service guy from the company shows up and cleans me. Nice.

Eighteen

Sprshshshshshs.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Another coffee machine? I said I can handle this. A Senseo machine? Seriously! The only thing worse than those are those capsule and pod machines. Do you have any idea how bad they are for the environment? I know all about it because I overheard some customers talk about it. Apparently 1,000 tonnes of coffee pods were sent to landfills in the United Kingdom in 2016. If you lined up the pods from the leading brand used in the USA, they would circle the Earth 10.5 times. 10.5 times! That is 420.787,5 km.

Okay, I don’t know how much that is. I mean, I don’t even know how far one kilometer is. But it sure sounds like a lot and I know that my way of making coffee is not harmful to the environment.

Another thing I can say is that economically speaking I’m the better choice too. This place here is a commercial vocational college so they teach about economics a lot. That’s how I know.

Seventeen 

“Maybe we should get a second coffee machine to help with the line. I could get the Senseo machine from my office upstairs. I think I still have a bag of pads we can use.”

Sixteen

9:37 A.M.

One after the other comes to me to gets his life elixir. This is rush hour for me. If my customers had honks, they’d probably be honking right now because they can’t get their coffee quick enough. Phew, I’m sweating here. Boil the water, brew the coffee, and pour it into the cup. Wow, there are more people in line than usually today. What is going on? Why didn’t anybody tell me I’m on extra duty today? Not that I can’t handle it, but I’d still like to know. All right then, bring ‘em on, I’m ready. Brew, brew, brew. Just don’t forget to refill the ground coffee!

Fifteen

9:35 A.M.

“Lalalalalalalala - Un dann stonn se en d'r Kaffeebud
un schödden sich de Kaffe in d'r Kopp.”

That is the Spanish teacher who comes into the lounge during the first break this morning. She just sings the first line of this coffee song and almost everybody in the room chimes in with the second line of the lyrics. Hilarious!

It took me a while to understand what they are singing. Today is not the first time she’s singing these lines. It turned out it’s a song sung in the regional dialect of Cologne, ‘Kölsch’. The song is about the morning break at 9.30 when workers of different trades meet at the local coffee shop, have their coffee and read the newspaper of the day.

Let me tell you, Germany is a confusing country with its many different dialects. When I meet my coffee machine buddies they sometimes mimic the different dialects. It’s really hard to understand all of them. Sometimes I don’t even get the gist of the sentence. I seriously wonder if Germans themselves are able to communicate with each other.

Fourteen

“Do you wear glasses now?” she asks her colleague. She’s right, he does look different today. “Yes,” he replies, “I wanted to be able to see your beauty again.” What a flirt! I know that guy, he has a great voice. They don’t teach music here at school but they have a choir that some of the teachers are part of. At special occasions I have heard them sing and I must say, not bad for a bunch of preceptors. They call themselves Bridgeman. Unfortunately they are still referred to as teachers choir, which I think is pretty lame and ignorant. I mean, it’s okay to explain that they are a teachers choir but they have a proper name so why not use it? I have a proper name too, but everyone just calls me ‘coffee maker’ or ‘coffee machine’. Sigh.

Thirteen

I like that Spanish teacher. She’s funny, almost always in a good mood, and what’s most important: she treats me nicely. She knows how to refill the coffee powder and to close the front again so I can do my job. Sometimes, when other customers are impatient and grumbling at me, she puts her hand on my belly and caresses me. She treats me nicely and with respect and tells the others to give me a few seconds. She knows I need a few seconds to heat up the water for the coffee. I don’t make cold coffee!

Twelve

“..and then she says Lanzarote is an island on the coast of the Netherlands. Yes, she is very sure because she remembers that one of her friends sent her postcard with seals on it from there.” I spurt some coffee laughing so hard at what I’m hearing. My customer looks at me and gets a kitchen tissue to clean up the little mess I’ve made. “Even the coffee maker thinks it’s funny,” she says and grins. “Too bad we don’t teach geography here,” her colleague replies laughing. “Seriously, so many students have no clue about geography. I once had a student who was surprised that Morocco was in North Africa and not in South America.”

Now I know that Lanzarote is a Spanish island off the coast of Africa and that the island her student was referring to is the island Langeoog which is actually German and not Dutch either. Close enough I guess.  

Eleven

Amazing what you learn about school life just by standing here and listening to people talk. And making them happy by giving them their cup of joe. I’ve worked at this institution for several years now and let me tell you, I have some stories to tell. I consider myself pretty lucky to be working here. I met with some other coffee makers back in the repair shop last year when I needed some general maintenance. Some machines have some interesting stories to tell, too, while others lead a relatively boring existence in tax offices. All they hear about is numbers and cases of people who are either not able to pay their taxes or who obviously are trying to evade paying them. B-o-r-i-n-g.

School life is great! I hear funny stories, interesting stories, pathetic stories sometimes, and also sad stories. What’s really great though are all the things I learn. Just imagine, there are folks in this lounge who know all kinds of things. Some things have to do with school subjects; others are about real life outside this building. I don’t feel the urge to leave this lounge though because I’m at a great place here.

Mind you, most days my job is pretty much done after 2 p.m., there’s rarely any night shift and every second Saturday I’m done after 1 p.m. and then there are the holidays. School holidays are nice here. I basically have two weeks off around Christmas, two around Easter, six and a half during summer – or rather what they call summer here - and two in autumn. Let’s not forget some public holidays and long weekends too. I really can’t complain.

Ten

8:18 A.M.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Nine

8:02 A.M.

The lounge is empty again; all the teachers have gone to their classes. I’m by myself again, but surely not for long.

Eight

7:50 A.M.

“Good morning!” I recognize that cheerful voice immediately. It’s the tall guy who almost always wears a smile on his face and is as cheerful as his voice sounds. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve seen him serious and pensive too. Yet, his usual demeanor is filled with happiness. I wonder how he does it. It’s not like he doesn’t have anything to do. He’s almost always here, shows up early and is seldom the first to leave for home. Colleagues ask him for advice, need his help with students or organizational stuff or ask him about rules and regulations. Students ask for him too and he takes care of them. I call him “Papa Bear” because he’s just like I imagine a papa bear that takes care of his cubs.

Seven

There are different types of system failures possible and if you know what to do it’s usually not a big deal to solve them. Usually. Some people are just not made for sensitive things and lack fine-motor skills. I mean, how hard can it be to refill some coffee?

You turn the key at the front panel, open the panel, pull out the tray, remove the lid on the top, refill the container with a bag or two of ground coffee, put the lid back on, push the tray back inside, close the panel and lock it again with the key. You can’t imagine how many ways of messing up I have witnessed. My favourite move was when one guy forgot to remove the lid on the top and poured the whole bag of ground coffee all over the place. THE WHOLE BAG. I laughed so hard I lost a couple of drops of water.

The most common mistake my customers make is to not push the front panel tight and then turn the key to lock it in place. Often they leave the panel open a teeny bit and -voila- I’m not able to brew any coffee. And then they are desperate and sometimes blame me for their incompetence. Hey, it’s not rocket science!

Six

I recognize the steps. It’s that lady who’s here every morning except for Fridays. Fridays she starts her day late and never has any coffee. When she comes in in the mornings she either comes to me to get her cup and sits down at a table in the lounge or she just leaves her bag and goes out of the lounge again just to return about ten minutes later or so with a stack of papers in her hands. Then she gets her coffee and sits down at the table. When she talks, she has this kindness in her voice. I like making coffee for her. She doesn’t really know what I need when there’s a system failure, but that’s okay.

Five

7:43 A.M.

I hear the key in the lock of the door again. Let’s see who’s next. What’s today? Wednesday. The days of the week influence the probability of the right outcome to my guessing game. Not everyone shows up around the same time or even every day. Some of my customers stop by early, some as close to 8 a.m. as 5 minutes. Others don’t have their first cup here before 9.32 a.m. whereas some don’t show up at all some days. I have regulars and those who only have a cup per week. And then there are those who don’t use me because they are tea drinkers. I don’t make tea. I’m purely in the business for the morning thunder. C8H10N4O2, if you know what I mean.

Four

Yep, I was right. He’s taking his cup and pouring some milk. Taking a sip now he expresses his satisfaction with a deep sigh. I think I just jump-started his day – again. He grabs his cup and leaves the lounge. I’m alone again.

Three

Crrck.

Two

7:22 A.M.

Like so often he is the first. The night is over for both of us. He puts a cup under my spout and pushes my button. The first cup is always the quickest. Today he is taking his time. I have already finished my job but he hasn’t removed his cup yet. He must be looking for milk. He always takes milk in his coffee.

 

One

Click. Brrrzzzz. Shushshshshsh. Spluttersplutter. Drip.

3 Gedanken zu „When the coffee maker sings

  1. „Regular coffee“. Funny. I used to have the opposite problem when I left home. I’d order my usual, regular coffee and get a medium cup of black coffee. What the heck!

  2. Wonderful! I’ve loved reading this. And what a clever way to wrap it all up. I will miss reading about the coffee machine. This really has been my favorite of your stories.

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