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.
-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!