Coffee Makers Made in Hungary

Stovetop Coffee Maker
New stove top espresso maker

I like my coffee. I know I probably drink too much, and I have been trying to cut down. So this makes it even more important to have a really nice coffee when I do make one. What I like in a coffee, is a dark, rich espresso, black, no sugar. I don’t mind at all the time it takes to make one of these in my kitchen. I have an electric grinder and I grind the beans, and enjoy the process of putting it into the coffee maker and waiting while it does it’s thing. It’s my early morning meditation time.

For various reasons, I have settled on using a stove-top espresso pot to make my brew. I am a bit of an environmentalist, so the pod coffee makers (as in Nepresso and copy cats) are out for me. The small electric espresso machines are good, but not as energy efficient as the stovetop models on a gas cooker. And in my home in a small village, the water is very hard and hard water corrodes and builds up sediment and limescale in every hot water appliance in short order. We seem to battle it constantly in our hot water boiler and radiators, and even in the shower heads in the bathroom. So I’ve decided I against buying any electric espresso maker that might not survive long in my kitchen.

But even the little stove-top pots can develop a problem. They all have a little relief valve in them that can clog, corrode or fail after a while. I had a stove-top pot that I had used for over two years, from Ikea, and it worked fine, until I started noticing the relief valve relieving every time I used it. So I went shopping for a new one.

At a local supermarket, I found a shelf with a large selection of these little stovetop wonders. All sizes and several shapes. Some in traditional chrome /aluminum colours, other with bright colours and designs. But I finally settle on one that had a different design altogether. The coffee gets shot through a swan-neck shaped metal tube straight into a little ceramic coffee decanter. I’d used one with a similar design in Spain in an Airbnb I stayed in once, and thought it was really cool.

And what made it even better, the box said that it was made in Hungary. I always like the idea of supporting local industry instead of importing from China, who in turn have probably had the stuff contract manufactured in deplorable conditions in Bangladesh. So I happily carried my find to the checkout and took it home.

When I got home and opened the package, I discovered that there were extra parts, two extra screens that have to be fitted in carefully to make the coffee maker function properly. Most stove-top espresso pots have these screens fitted into the larger parts, so you don’t have to worry about them. However in this case, if the screens aren’t properly in place, the pot malfunctions in spectacular fashion, spewing coffee all over the place, across the cooker and up any nearby walls or surfaces.

Coffee mess
Picture taken after cleanup. Note splatter on white wall.

-As you can see from the picture, the only thing left to do is to do a little touch-up painting on that section of the wall. This will happen tomorrow morning, to make sure it is finished and dry before herself returns to the house.

Now the reason for the title of this article is that this is not the first time I’ve had to repaint a wall due to a Hungarian-made coffee maker. The first was a little electric espresso machine that I got for an office. It had a habit of erupting once in a while and blew coffee over a wall, but it only ever erupted in one direction, so after the first repainting, it was always aimed away from the wall, just in case.

And a few years ago when we first bought the house in the country where we now live, I bought a Hungarian made stovetop pot. And it had exactly the same flaw as the latest one (perhaps built in the same factory) that the screens that should be integral are separate and have to be fitted carefully to avoid disaster. The wall I am painting tomorrow is the same one I painted back then.

So what do I do? Go back to Ikea or an Italian cookware shop and buy an espresso pot that is safer to use? Or just be really conscientious and careful with this one? I think I’ll try the latter for a while, because it is a rather cool looking coffeepot!

A cuppa joe, anyone?

Tired of Facebook and a New Year’s Resolution

A lot of people are talking these days about removing Facebook from their lives. I used to like it, but now, like many others, I’m finding it very annoying. The misuse of my personal data is a big thing, but I also just hate using it anymore. The adverts are overwhelming. There are far fewer things that I enjoy reading.

So what I want to try is to post my stuff here in this long neglected blog. I want to see if friends will connect with me here, and if this will work as a place to show off my photography, do a little writing and have a little fun, in place of the intrusiveness of Facebook.

Day 2: Soaked

It rained. A lot. All day. And the wind blew. The rain came at us almost horizontally. Fortunately the strong winds were at our back, or walking would have been impossible. It soaked my trousers and plastered them to my legs. Water dripped from my cuffs into my shoes. Socks got soggy and blisters started to form.

That night, after looking at the forecast and seeing that there was only rain to look forward to for days, I laid awake thinking of all the reasons that this Camino thing was a bad idea. All the reasons I should just get a quick flight home. Save money, get work done, avoid suffering.

But morning came, I got up and started walking again.

A day in Porto

I met my sister and we spent the day wandering around Porto. A very interesting city. I can see why V and K are attracted to the idea of living here.

According to my phone, we walked 18 kilometres around the city. The third member of our party was delayed, stuck in Amsterdam, and then had a long journey via Lisbon to finally get here in time for dinner. For the second evening in a row I had Porto’s special comfort food, the Francesinha.

By the end of the day I was so tired that despite good intentions I was too tired to write. If that’s any indication, I might not keep up with my plan to keep this diary.

Today we are starting the walking in earnest. Hopefully I’m up to it

The beginning of the pilgrimage – April 3

I spent the morning today running errands, repacking for the fourth or fifth time, and finally working right up to ten minutes before walking out the door. I’m now on the plane to Porto, tired before beginning.

I think we’re flying over the route of the Camino Frances now, with the Pyrenees below, still covered in snow. I wonder what it was really like in centuries gone by to make a real pilgrimage. I’m sure someone must have begun in old Buda and walked the whole way to Santiago de Compestela.

It makes my plan to walk a couple hundred kilometres along the rather pleasant coasts of Portugal and Galacia seem by comparison a lark.

And to make it e even more pleasant for me, I am now sitting alone in an exit row. Room to stretch in all directions!

And so here I am, at the beginning, despite the lack of readiness, the lack of a proper spiritual preparation for any kind of pilgrimage. I’ve thought about doing a Camino for a long time, especially since seeing Martin Sheen’s ‘The Way’ years ago. Who knows, it may open the door to something completely new.

A quote from Goethe that I saw recently:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it”

So here I am, at the beginning. No, I don’t feel bold or genius or magical. But I am looking forward to a few weeks of breaking the mold of my life, slowing down, doing something completely different. I’ll be largely cut off from the always connected and online world I usually inhabit. I hope for face to face time with real people in place of Facebook. Who knows? Maybe this will be the beginning of a new phase of my old life. Maybe I’ll be like Forest Gump and just keep on going. Except instead of running I’ll be sauntering.

Easter Monday: Camino minus one.

Tomorrow I will be flying to Portugal. We will probably spend the next day or there before starting to walk towards Santiago de Compostela.

I restarted this blog mostly to keep a diary of the Camino experience. A few days ago I wrote briefly about being spiritually unprepared. Now that it is almost here, I feel just plain unprepared. I didn’t finish the work I planned to have done by now. I haven’t trained enough. I haven’t gathered everything on my packing list, but the backpack I bought for this trip is already full. I’m feeling tired and a little stressed.

But by this time tomorrow I’ll be in the air winging my way to Porto to begin two weeks of ‘sauntering’ towards Santiago de Compestela.

When contemplating this trip, I really wasn’t sure if be up for it physically. Then I read somewhere that the origin of the word saunter has its roots in the French word for saint. To saunter originally meant to walk on a pilgrimage, or to ‘saint-er’. Hiking 250 kilometres sounds a little intimidating, but when I realized I could saunter, I thought ‘I can do that’.

Pilgrimage

One of the reasons I am restarting this blog is that I am leaving next week to walk the Portuguese Camino and I want someplace to journal. I’ll also be able to upload photos and have a nice record of my journey.

The Camino is supposed to be a spiritual experience. But as the day to leave gets closer, I’m feeling less and less spiritual. Too much to do. I’ll be missing a couple of project deadlines, and then going dark for three weeks.

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