Lifestyle & Culture

A Not-So-Simple Cup of Joe

July 16, 2014




AS THE PROPRIETOR of a new art gallery opening soon, I’m hoping to keep my customers, if I’m lucky enough to have any, happy. Short of laying out deli platters of lox and bagels which I normally would under similar circumstances but which would require a separate permit from the town–not to mention having to explain to the Mainers what lox is–I decided to invest in one of those new coffee contraptions that makes one cup at a time, and can even do tea and hot chocolate.

I started with a phone call to our local kitchen supply store, which is high-end but not all the way to fancy-schmancy. Still, they carry All-Clad, and Martha Stewart would definitely shop there. Best of all, the store is only three miles from my home.

To my shock, I struck out. I was told that although they once sold the Keurig, they discontinued it after K-Mart, Walmart and the local supermarket started to stock it. “You can buy them anywhere these days,” the owner intoned, apparently quite miffed. “Staples, Hannaford, Bed, Bath & Beyond—anywhere. Then there’s the Cuisinart, too, and they all take the same coffee pods. It used to be a gourmet item, but now….” His voice trailed off. I apologized for bringing him down and hung up.

My next call was to a truly high-end cookware shop a good half-hour and three towns away. This is where my husband and I go when we’re up for a weekend drive and are looking to drop some serious cash. Julia Child would have a running tab there, were she alive, of course. Fortunately I was on the phone and not there in person, as the saleswoman fairly hooted when I asked if they sold the Keurig coffee pot. “Coffee pot? Actually it’s a coffee maker, and no, we don’t carry it. You can pick that up in any supermarket.” I feared she was done with me, but she went on to say, “But we do carry the Nespresso.”

Worried that Nespresso only makes espresso, since that’s what we make with the one we already own, the saleswoman told me about their new line, available in the United States and Canada, that makes regular coffee. “If you are serving people who care about their coffee, go with Nespresso,” she said, adding that the VertuoLine Single Serve Brewer is “very intuitive.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but then she elaborated by saying it works on centrifugal force, and the whole experience is so much better than the Keurig. “And it costs $300, whereas the Keurig is much less.” I could tell by her tone that $300 was good and “much less” was bad.

Since the Nespresso lady had sounded downright snooty and not my style at all, I stopped to consider what Rachael Ray, celebrity chef for us commoners, would do. Naturally I called Staples. The store manager said they only carry coffee pots, not coffee makers, and suggested I either come in and get a Mr. Coffee or try the Walmart down the road a piece. (We are near the Canadian border, after all.)

Finally, like all those forehead-slappers on TV who realize they could have had a V-8, I went online and in no time flat had ordered my Keurig Vue in a stunning cobalt blue, along with four kinds of coffee and some tea and hot chocolate. Everything will arrive at my door in just three days, and with free shipping to boot just because I entered the coupon code LUCKYSEVENS.

The moral of the story: When in doubt, go online.

— Andrea Rouda

Andrea Rouda blogs at Call  Me Madcap!



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