Are coffeemakers smarter than a 5th grader?


So here’s the deal.  Before Christmas, I broke the carafe on our old coffee maker.  Much to my husband’s skepticism, I did not do this on purpose. Yes, I had mentioned a time or two-dozen that I wanted a new coffee maker. I felt it was time to kick it up a notch. For this reason, I felt it prudent, once the carafe accidentally (it really was an accident) broke, that husband and I do some research and put some thought into the purchase of a new machine.  I mean, we’re talking coffee here people. This was serious business unlike buying a flat screen TV bundle pack, which some people think is the most important purchase ever.  But I digress!

I knew what I wanted. I was told it didn’t exist.  I refused to believe this bit of malarkey.  I was on the hunt.

What machine of coffee-magic did I want?  I’ll tell you.  I wanted to be able to push a button and get a cup of exactly what I desired. I do not think this is unreasonable. I wanted to be able to froth up something impressive for a friend, without the need for a stainless steel jug and frother spout, and gazing into a haze of steam that would melt my mascara.  If I had a crowd over for impromptu frivolity, (it could happen some day!), I wanted to be able to brew a POT of coffee so I could mingle in my fashion wedges and not spend the night playing barista.  I didn’t mind using a pod-thingy or a k-cup thing-a-bob, but I did want to be able to use my own ground coffee should the mood strike.

Did I find what I wanted? No.


I know, I’m still in shock and therapy is not out of the question.  But I did find almost what a wanted and learned a few things in the process.

Husband and I sojourned to one of my favorite stores, Sur La Table. I could spend hours in this store.  These kids know all things kitchen.  In the back corner are all the coffee makers.  They’re on display, plugged in and ready to wow you.  I tried  to test one, (the sign said I could) and of course it didn’t work. This did not come as a surprise to me, nor would it to anyone who knows me.  The helpful coffee-expert swooped over to save the day and brewed me a sample. Not sure why it worked for her since it appeared she pushed the same button I did.

It was DIVINE!  No need to look any further, that was the one. I wanted it.  I needed it.


It cost $2,899.00.  Wow.

*Cue inner-debate with self and outer-debate with husband* Coffee maker or car for soon-to-be 16-year old son.  Really swayed towards the coffee-magic-maker, I have to tell you.  It was that good. But even I could concede that nearly three grand was a tad excessive.

I licked the trace of cappuccino-nirvana off my lip and inquired why this machine is so expensive, not that wasn’t not worth it, I assured the sales woman, as I buried my nose into my Dixie cup-sized of hot goodness.

“Oh!”, the expert swooned. Ok, maybe I swooned, but she proceeded to explain what every penny of that $2,899 provided.  Basically, it was like Rosie from the Jetsons.


It did everything for you, before you needed it done and how you needed it done … should you have thought of it first. Should the mere thought of taking your coffee on the road cross your mind, it switched from 4 oz to 12 in an instant. You stifle a yawn, and your coffee would switch from Café au Lait to a triple-shot Americano.

How did it know? No clue! Which is how I decided right then that this was not the coffee maker for me.  Anything that plugged into a wall and had far-greater brainpower and reasoning that I did, was bound to end in a power struggle. And, sadly, I didn’t think I stood a chance.

What happened to scooping coffee into a paper filter? What happened to pulling the pot out mid-brew to pour a cup because you couldn’t wait and being thankful for pause-n-serve brewing?  What happened to instant coffee? Ok, instant coffee is gross, never mind that last bit.

Wait, this was about kicking it up a notch. Focus, Ginger!  I consulted my list of things I wanted in a new coffee maker and … I made a teensy compromise and I think I’m going to get almost exactly what I wanted.


I’ll be ordering this little Breville beauty.  It does everything I want except make a pot.  I’ll just buy a cheap Mr. Coffee to keep under my counter in case I get surprised by a crowd of revelers and I’m all dolled up in my party-girl clothes. It does brew a cup a time but in 5 size choices.  I can use a k-cup thingy OR I can use my own coffee in the included other cup-thingy. I can even have hot water for tea. It was easy to use and it’ll look all pretty on my counter.

How about you? Do you think technology sometimes thinks too much? Are we sharing too much brain-power with our household electronics? Does it even matter as long as we get a great cup of coffee?


About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on January 30, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Ginger, I am a coffee fanatic, I have owned Nespresso systems for years! The quality of expressos were amazing. The crema it delivered is superb. It is not complicated, just insert capsule and push button. The more upgraded version has automatic cup sizes, so you don’t have to stand their. It used to cost 50 cents a cup. The coffee choices are for a true coffee lover, no fu fu flavors.

    My new machine is the CBTL, a nine in the expresso quality out of ten, but I can make tea as well. Still capsules, but I don’t miss having other choices. This investment is lower, the capsules are .60 but I can buy them locally without paying shipping or waiting for my shipment if I run out.

    I love the simplicity, it is just pushing a button! Technology should be like my IPhone, my apple, simple so I don’t spend too much time in just trying to make it work.

    • Hi Cheryl. Thanks for swinging by my little blog. 🙂 Yes, I remember you as a coffee and tea connoisseur. My good friend has had a Nespresso for years and that is what started this little hunt, maybe years ago. But like you mentioned, she had to order the capsules online because she couldn’t get them in HEB, etc. I didn’t want that. I’ll have to check out the CBTL and see if has all the features I was interested in.

      Totally agree with you about not spending time trying to make things work.

  2. I’m so old-fashioned. I use a French press. I just think the coffee tastes better and it comes out so smooth & slightly creamy. May I suggest you get a French press instead of a Mr. Coffee for a pot? They’re so easy to use!

    • Ooh, I used a french press once and had a love/hate relationship with it. I loved the process and the coffee tasted great but I didn’t like the ‘silt’ at the bottom of my mug or the clean up. That said, every time I look at coffee makers, I’m tempted to try one again. So, I may do just that for my ‘pot’ under the counter. 🙂

  3. I love your Jetson reference! I think of that show whenever I’m overwhelmed by today’s technology.
    My coffee maker looks a lot like that last one, but it sure took me awhile to settle on it. 🙂
    But coffee is important!! lol

    • Glad to know someone else took a long time to decide. I always loved the Jetsons and really wanted to live in their house, with all that technology and of course Rosie would have to be part of the deal.

  4. You haven’t had a coffee maker since before Christmas? How have you survived?

    Ooh, the model you chose is gorgeous. May it brew for years to come. Sadly, I can’t get the expensive model you tested out of my head. I like the thought of it reading my mind and delivering the coffee size and strength I didn’t lnow I needed. Think I could train it to write blog posts? Pages of the WIP? It might pay for itself.

    • Hi Pat. Well, we’ve been making coffee in other ways. First with the single-drip melita (sp) filters, cup by cup. Or with a starbucks via thing. Over the holidays when I had a house full, I borrowed my sisters big coffee pot. We got creative. 😉

      The breville really is pretty and I hope like anything that it does indeed brew for years for us. You know, I bet that 3K-model could have brewed up some blogs. (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

  5. OMG if you paid $3000 for a coffee-maker we were going to have to have a serious conversations. LOL! I can’t say much, I got sold into buying a $3000 vacuum once. Thank god it was considered a pressure sales and the next day I was able to return it and get my money back. Although shoot, if you can afford toys like that, I say give er’! LOL!!
    Ahhh technology. I am all for it and the more it can think for me, the better.

    • Haha! Looks who’s talking, $3,000 vacuum? Although, I’ll admit to being a sucker for a good vacuum. (pun!) But I’ve always wanted a dyson and have been too practical to pay that much. So, there was never any true chance that I’d spend that much on a coffee maker. I think it’s outrageous they are charging that. It’s making coffee for the love of God, not gold. (I *heart* technology, even though it doesn’t always heart me back.)

  6. $3000 for a coffee maker? It better do laundry and get the dog fur off the couch. Seriously.

    I don’t drink coffee anymore (I’m still in mourning over this, so let’s not dwell on it), so I just have a little Krups kettle to warm water for tea. If I did drink coffee, I have a sweet beauty like your Breville. Mmm, I can almost smell the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. Um, I better go before I fling myself at your coffee maker. That would be oddly embarrassing seeing how it’s on my computer screen.

    • My thoughts exactly, even though, for a moment, while I sipped my cappuccino, I did gaze at the machine with moony-eyes.

      No coffee for you? Oh dear. And here I am going on and on about the frothy, hot, goodness. *wink* I’ll drink an extra cup, just for you. That’s the kind of friend I am.

  7. Two years ago my mother got my wife and I a coffee maker for Christmas, knowing full well that neither one us drink coffee. WTF? Anyway, I have a coffee maker, still in the box, that is sitting in my pantry collecting dust. I would have been happy to send it to you!!

  8. I love this. 🙂 I want a coffee maker just like yours.

    Also, I’m loving the Jetson’s reference.

    • Hi Ashley. Well, you can get one of your very own, from Sur La Table and even Amazon carries it for cheaper. I hope I love it as much as I’m expecting to. Yay, another one who loves the Jetsons. Wasn’t that the best show?

  9. Fun post Ginger about a very serious issue. Sounds to me like the $3000 option has a direct line to Google it knows that much about your every desire LOL.

    • Hi Margaret. I love it that you agree with me that this is a very serious issue. You know, you may be on to something. Maybe it ‘does’ tap into Google. Lord knows we’re all ‘on the Google grid’. hee hee

  10. $3,000 for a coffee maker?!?! And you were condsidering it!?! Holy catfish!

    I detest coffee, so this is an absolute no-brainer for me. How can they even justify that price?

    I’m glad you were able to find one you like though. I know the coffee holics need their fix and in a hurry. I hope it’s everything you’d hoped it’d be!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Well, my taste buds were considering it. My true self is FAR too pragmatic to spend that much on a coffee maker. There are a few things I spend ‘more’ on than others might seem necessary, like good jeans, but not this. I’m already going to spend more than is comfortable for this bargain hunter, but I’m just going for it. Money-back guarantee, so I have my escape plan.

  11. A good cuppa can fix almost anything. I’m willing to splurge in this area, too – as much as I can, anyway.

    I LOVE a good froth. Like, love love. LIke, want-to-marry-it-and-make-something-with-both-of-our-skins love. (Well, that might be taking it a LITTLE too far, but you get the idea.) For Christmas, T and the kids bought me Keurig’s frother. Just a little pitcher that you fill and push the button. In about 45 seconds, you have perfect, foamy, yummy, hot froth. OR, you can just steam the milk if pillowy goodness isn’t what you’re after. It is a little bit of a bummer that it’s an extra thing to sit on my countertop, but it’s so easy to use, and so fast at what it does, that I’ve determined it’s a keeper.

    Myndi’s infomercial is over. 🙂

    Happy sipping!!

    • Myndi, Myndi, Myndi, we have GOT to stop having so much in common. We saw a frother thingy like you’re describing. It came with the Nespresso machines. Uber-coolio! Since we don’t do too much dairy, we’re holding off on that for now. (and it was $99) I do have one of those bodum ones that you pump. I can get a decent froth with that when we’re feeling fancy and I get a mini-workout in too. hahahahaha!

      Funny that William was more interested in the frother than I was. Maybe that should be his birthday gift. I mean, since he wanted it so much. Not for me … for HIM!! 😉

  12. I have actually been thinking a lot about this lately. My coffee maker is a hand me down from my parents. It was quite nice and very expensive when they got it 20 years ago. But it is starting to break down. And I can’t decide what to replace it with. My parents now have the new K-cup thingy, but I don’t think the coffee is very good and I usually (ok, always) want more than one cup. I like a pot in a stainless steel thermos. But I also like the idea of frothing up milk. SO, does that mean I should get an espresso machine instead? And what about when I do want just one cup of coffee? I can’t make a decision so for now I’m hoping my old, perfect machine keeps on keeping on. Fun post!

    • You sound like me. I didn’t know for sure what I wanted, so I just took my time and considered all the different things. If you went with a machine that only did the k-cups, and you like more than one cup, it would get pretty expensive. That’s what I liked about the Breville, you can use your own ground coffee too, which is what my husband will do when he fills his travel mug up for the commute to work — is about 3 cups of coffee in his mug.

  13. lynnkelleyauthor

    Wow, that blows my mind, a coffee maker for $3,000. And you know what? I’m sure I’d never be able to get it to work, no matter how smart it is. And I bet the manual is a real pain in the butt to read, which I wouldn’t take the time to mess with. I’d need the sales lady there to push the button every time. I think the one you settled on is a good choice. I don’t know if I could get that one to work either, but my hubby could. Technology is not my friend.

    • I hear ya, Lynn. It can’t be a ‘challenge’ to make my coffee. Makes me thing of the original cappuccino maker we bought with the little frothing wand and the pressure knob. Lord, I could never get it to work right.

  14. This was hilarious!! (And I use the Christmas-special $5 pot that makes 5 cups because all we do is make hot water for tea or hot chocolate — and I’d lose the power struggle with a machine, too!)

    • Funny Carrie, we got a little 4-cup machine as a wedding gift. (In Feb, married 18 years!) I used that little machine a bunch in this interim because it equated 2 mugs of coffee. And, in October, I was at a writers’ conference with 3 of my writing partners and we are all coffee and tea drinkers. We ‘brewed’ water a ton in our room since we all travel with our own tea bags. 🙂

  15. $2,899. For coffee. Thank God Bob never saw that – I am afraid he might have bought it!! He was constantly in search of the newer better coffee maker, although he did not care about the frothy stuff. Just a good strong black cup of coffee. He eventually decided it was all about the grinder. Eye roll. For me, a nice red teakettle and my favorite mug … got it for Xmas – it says “Here’s to Peace, Joy, and a Faster Metabolism.” Amen.

    • God love Bob!! He would have loved a burr grinder. Apparently they are the new IT thing. Or maybe they aren’t new and he already had one. He probably started the trend. 🙂 Love the mug.

  16. I would like the coffee maker you described as well, but I went with something similar to you:) Machines can get scary, have you looked at some of the super duper washers and dryers out there. If they could only make one that runs around my house picking up dirty clothes and washing at will…well, that might get a little scary:)

  17. That pricy pot might have so much technology it would take all of my brain power to figure it out. Or… it has treasure hidden inside? I agree with Tameri. If it does laundry and other chores, I’d consider it!

    As I read your post, I kept thinking of Rodeo Drive. The shops are so crazy! I swear some people buy “things” simply *because* they’re pricey…I, on the other hand, prefer coupons, thrift stores and Target. LOL Sounds like you made a wise choice, Ginger! Bon appetit. 🙂

    • Clearly I’m a thrift store/Target kind of girl too. I like your idea of there being a treasure inside. You know, not a bad idea! You know what’s funny, when I visited New York, my favorite spot, bar none, was SoHo, and then China town, Little Italy. I love little shops with lots of treasures to find and a good bargain to be had. That’s fun and exciting to me.

  18. Did the pricy pot come with a six month “how-to” course taught by a cute airline pilot? eek! Actually, I faced a similar choice many years ago. Sonny got his car. If I had my time back….. Anyway, truly enjoy the post, as I always do. I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger award. See details here.

    • Prudence, there may have been something to consider if it had come with my own personal barista. I should have asked! ((Already visited your blog, but I’ll thank you again for my award. SO thrilled!))

  19. Oh I am so sorry Ginger to be late to this coffee party or is this coffee talk? LOL!!

    Good lord three grand? Wowsers!

    Okay, listen up. I have to tell you that Hubby and I have a Capresso coffee machine that grinds and brews. That baby makes the best coffee and listen to this. We have had this coffee maker for, and your not going to believe it, but we’ve had this thing for 15 years. Serious! It still makes the best coffee and no problems with it. It was worth every penny. And not three hundred thousand pennies mind you.

    Hope your coffee dilemma gets worked out real soon. BTW, how’s writer’s butt going Ginger? Acquiring minds want to know! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: