If it ain’t broke … Thoughts on recycling

28 04 2010

I am a friend to my coffee maker. It is old and feeble and in need of being replaced, but I can’t bring myself to do that. It and I are in love. Perhaps I shouldn’t speak for it, but I will anyway.

The dear old thing is a Melitta. It was purchased brand new from a department store. It’s supposed to be a five cup automatic, but it is only three cups. This is a result of the coffee industry deciding that a cup of coffee is only five ounces. Everyone knows a cup is eight ounces. Five times five ounces is 25 ounces, three times eight ounces is 24, therefore, it is a three cup coffee maker. But, it won’t pour properly if it is even close to full. The spout is the wrong shape and only works when the pot is tilted, When the pot is full, it slops all over the rim irregardless of the spout and burns your hand and makes a mess of the counter. It therefore is only useful for 16 ounces, two eight ounce cups. Okay, in fairness, it could be three five ounce cups, but where the hell do you find five ounce cups, eh?

So, why do I keep it? Why do I profess to loving it? Why haven’t I kicked it’s carafe – and it – to the curb? Why indeed. On top of it’s obvious design flaws, it has several pieces, albeit mostly cosmetic, broken off. It used to have a flip up lid that covered the water reservoir. It used to have a chrome looking plastic part that covered the tube along the top where the heated water ran to the filter basket. It used to look like it belonged in the competent hands of a barista. Years of service have left it battered and abused.

And yet, I love it. I love it partly because it is a Melitta, a brand that has always meant good coffee. Melitta was one of the first companies to offer a domestic coffee maker that paid attention to the temperature of the water, It wasn’t enough to just make it hot enough to bubble up into the tube and have it spew out onto the ground coffee. The Melitta temperature had to be exact, optimum, the perfect temperature for brewing coffee. The filter had to be cone shaped. Baskets leave much to be desired in that the water always lands in one area and over uses some of the coffee while barely getting other areas of the coffee wet. The cone has a smaller surface and the water filters down through all of the coffee.

But more important than these considerations, is the simple fact that I cannot buy a Melitta in Canada any more. If I could, I’d trash that tired damned thing so fast, it’s filter basket would spin. Or, maybe not. It still makes good coffee. Another enlightened soul travelling through these troubled times, Red Green, says “If it ain’t broke, you’re not tryin’” I guess even if I could find a replacement, I’d keep using it until, by Red’s standards, it was really finished.




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