Photograph credit score: Sergi Alexander/Getty (I added the circle and slash)
The way you make espresso is, you convey the dried and roasted and doubtless floor seeds of a Coffea plant along with some water, usually sizzling, for some time period, and this turns the water into espresso. That’s it. It’s not an advanced process.
You are able to do this all forms of methods. Turkish espresso, for instance, is ready by simmering the extraordinarily superb grounds in a bit of pot and serving the ensuing beverage unfiltered; once you drink Turkish espresso, you’ll discover some bitter sediment simply chilling on the backside of your cup on the finish. Your typical American cup o’ joe is made by pouring sizzling water slowly by means of grounds held in a paper filter, to drip down right into a pot sitting on a sizzling plate. Espresso includes tightly compacted grounds and near-boiling water pressured by means of beneath excessive strain. A French press includes coarser grounds and the mechanical motion of your arm urgent a metallic filter down by means of a column of sizzling water. However in all circumstances the fundamentals are the identical: Water + Grounds = Espresso. For all of the tons of of years that people have been consuming this beverage, in case you had water, and dried and ground-up seeds of Coffea vegetation, and a few means to mix the 2 aside from dumping them each on the bottom, then you might have some espresso to drink.
My spouse had a Keurig coffeemaker. Usually our household just isn’t the everybody-gets-their-own-appliances sort: All of us watch the identical TV in the identical room on the similar time; no one has a small fridge stashed of their closet for the stuff solely they like; the grasp rest room has a his-and-hers sink however either side of it have my toothpaste foam encrusted on them. The Keurig was hers within the sense that I, a Luddite, didn’t use it and regarded it with some suspicion, preferring the analog ritual of the foolish French press I purchased as a approach of creating my frankly obscene espresso consumption really feel extra like self-indulgence than like self-medication. Whereas my spouse simply likes to drink espresso and took a flier on a brand new gizmo, a choice admirably unburdened by paranoia or existentialist dread. That is all a bit of inappropriate.
In all probability you might be acquainted with the Keurig coffeemaker.* In case you are not, what the Keurig does is, it brews—it solely brews; it solely can brew—a single serving of espresso at a time. You insert a bit of individually packaged pod of grounds right into a particular opening within the Keurig, you push a button or a few buttons, and contained in the Keurig a collection of mysterious digital mechanical issues occur, after which a single serving of espresso pours out of a spigot into the mug you may have positioned beneath it.
* The Keurig firm has been within the information over the weekend, because of some form of shit involving right-wing media buffoon Sean Hannity. I don’t know what it’s about and I don’t need to! I began this weblog a number of days earlier than this information peg arrived to make it well timed!
On the purely individualistic degree at which our tradition’s current doctrine of techno-libertarianism encourages us to view our lives, that is Comfort and Ease and Effectivity. You, the person, do not need to measure portions of water and grounds; you do not need to interchange a paper filter or clear a metallic one; you do not need to observe water temperature; you do not need to flex your elbow to press a filter down by means of the water. The Keurig machine will do all of this. All you, the person, should do is choose and insert your most well-liked single-serving grounds container, place your mug beneath the spigot, and press a button or a few buttons. The closest factor to the plebeian drip coffeemaker’s vile, antiquated communitarianism the Keurig machine calls for of you is that you just verify and presumably refill the water tank.
After all, at any degree even barely extra holistic than pure individualism, the Keurig seems fairly completely different. The machine itself is exponentially extra refined and wasteful than even a industrial espresso maker, costly to make and involving rare-earth computing supplies and so forth. A field of plastic single-serving grounds containers (“Ok-Cups”) multiplies the packaging of a easy bag of espresso beans many instances over. After which, to supply a amount of espresso equal to that produced by, say, a single iteration of a drip coffeemaker’s brewing cycle, it should energy by means of its far more mechanically elaborate brewing cycle again and again, consuming electrical energy all of the whereas, throughout which period it’s of no use to anybody however the one one who will drink that serving of espresso. The farther again you pull from the speedy expertise of 1 libertarian end-user unconcerned with something past his personal speedy expertise, the more serious it seems: For the person, the Keurig has some declare to comfort and ease and effectivity; for, say, an workplace, or a family, it dramatically slows down and complicates the method of making ready espresso for everyone who needs some; for human society, it’s a wasteful inefficiency; pound-for-pound, for terrestrial life as a world organism, in case you are foolish and nostalgic sufficient to nonetheless entertain the concept of such a factor, it’s an outrage.
And all of this for a objective that’s, on its face, extremely doubtful. Widespread defenses of the Keurig go one thing like Yeah, however once you’re staying by your self in a lodge, it’s actually handy, or I dwell alone so it’s actually nice for me. However the factor is, you’ll be able to brew a single serving of espresso with a drip coffeemaker that includes no computing elements by any means; even on the degree of pure individualism, it solely slows the method down by a couple of minutes, tops. You may brew a single serving of espresso with a French press involving completely no shifting elements; I do it every single day, and it takes perhaps 10 minutes from the time I flip the warmth on beneath a kettle of water to the time I fill my absurdly giant journey mug. To no matter extent folks didn’t brew single servings of espresso previous to the arrival and widespread adoption of the Keurig machine, it was not as a result of they couldn’t do it; it was as a result of it makes extra sense to simply brew a pot of espresso so all people can have some.
However right here is the factor. My spouse’s Keurig machine, a barely fancier mannequin than probably the most fundamental Keurig machine, had on its entrance a bit of touch-screen LED, perhaps two inches throughout. With the Keurig machine plugged in and powered on, the display would mild up, and also you used it to lock within the settings for the subsequent brewing cycle: How a lot espresso you wished, and the way sturdy it must be, and so forth. First you locked these settings into place, then the precise bodily button on the entrance of the Keurig machine would mild up, signaling that, with its knowledge fields now adequately populated, the Keurig was able to brew your espresso. You then pushed the button and the Keurig brewed your espresso.
When you didn’t use the display to enter your espresso settings, the button wouldn’t mild up; the Keurig wouldn’t brew your espresso. You see, to be able to have a declare to comfort and ease and effectivity, the Keurig needed to be programmed simply so, to your specs. Or else, what would it not do? What would inform it to cease brewing espresso? Or how sturdy to make the espresso? Your entire conceit is, the serving of espresso you get from the Keurig is exactly and solely the serving of espresso you may have informed it to offer you; with out this, the Keurig is nothing.
This isn’t solely and even largely an ontological level. The LED display on my spouse’s Keurig started to flicker. You powered the Keurig on, and the display remained darkish for lengthy, ominous seconds, after which flickered, dimly. Ultimately it could determine its shit out and lightweight up, after which you might use the display. Till the day, a pair weeks in the past, that she powered the Keurig on and the display remained darkish, and remained darkish, and solely ever remained darkish.
The Keurig machine was not lifeless! You would hear it heating water inside itself, in preparation for brewing espresso. The mechanical elements concerned within the means of brewing a single serving of espresso, as far as anyone is aware of, have been superb. However the touch-screen LED was lifeless. What had failed, contained in the Keurig machine, have been elements fully unrelated to the brewing of espresso—the bringing collectively of sizzling water and dried and roasted and floor seeds of the Coffea plant. After all, with out the touch-screen, you might not enter your brewing settings. With out your brewing settings enter, the Keurig machine couldn’t be ready to brew your espresso. The button wouldn’t mild up. The Keurig machine, lowered to a degree of technological sophistication nonetheless far surpassing that of, say, a daily drip coffeemaker, with apparently completely intact and operable coffeemaking equipment, was, in fairly literal phrases, ineffective. You would not make it brew a serving of espresso. From now till the tip of time, except and till somebody repairs laptop elements that don’t have anything, by any means, to do with brewing espresso, that Keurig espresso machine is not going to brew one other serving of espresso, ever. I’m wondering if that ever will occur, on the landfill!
(My French press, in case you have been questioning, works superb, regardless of a totally nonfunctional and nonexistent touch-screen LED. I may even program it to brew espresso on the similar time each morning, by setting an alarm clock and getting off the bed when the alarm clock goes off after which utilizing the French press to brew some espresso.)
The world has plenty of very silly concepts in it. One in every of them, some of the dangerous, is the prevailing concept of what it means for one factor to be technologically superior to a different. Solely a tradition sunken to a extremely horrifying and apocalyptic degree of libertarian stupidity would regard the Keurig machine—a complicated, automated robotic designed particularly and solely to brew a single serving of espresso, reasonably than a giant environment friendly pot of it; which presents solely illusory ease and comfort solely to whoever is utilizing it for the time being of his or her use and to nobody else, and solely through fragile technologized mediations it wears atop its main operate like an anvil, or a bomb collar; which will be rendered actually unusable by the breakdown of pointless elements fully ancillary to that main operate—as a technological enchancment upon the drip coffeemaker, or the French press, or placing some espresso grounds in a fucking saucepan with some water and holding it over a campfire for a short while till the water smells good. It’s not technologically superior to any of these! It’s vastly technologically inferior to all of them. It’s a wasteful piece of trash. It’s not a machine engineered to enhance something or to resolve an issue, however solely and fully the pretext for a gross sales pitch, a way to separate somebody from their cash.
Appropriately, then, it additionally makes shitty, bad-tasting espresso! The Keurig machine is the stupidest machine in the complete goddamn world; it’s as silly because the society that known as it into existence. I might recommend taking your Keurig machine outdoors and smashing it with a fucking sledgehammer, however the unique supplies inside it in all probability would irradiate a watershed. Bury it in a salt cavern. Jettison it into area.