Duct coffee fluff piece

by Yule Heibel on November 7, 2003

I would not be able to have my morning coffee if it weren’t for duct tape.


Ok, here’s the story: I have a really cool coffee maker that grinds the beans and then makes filtered coffee, all without my having to intervene. Except for initial ministrations of duct tape, that is.

The machine is a Melitta Mill & Brew, which is probably the best breakfast friend that a person can have, short of just a little lovin’ early in the mornin. You fill it with water, you put beans into the grinder-filter combo, you close it, you set the timer, you switch it on. You go to bed or wherever else you go before returning to fill your need for coffee. At the appointed time, the machine grinds the coffee and makes hot java for your pleasure.

However, within months of buying the Mill & Brew, a little tab broke off the lid of the grinder-drip filter combo. This tab was essential to letting the machine “lock,” which allowed it to turn on to grind the coffee. Without proper closure, the machine couldn’t turn on and therefore didn’t work. Daily duct taping allowed me to continue using the machine without having to repair it (read: buy a new one since it’s literally impossible to repair anything these days). This sordid business of ripping at the silver-grey roll has been going on for at least 18 months, perhaps longer (I tend to block distressing memories). However, about 4 or 5 months ago, I banged the glass carafe against a countertop corner and broke a triangle-shaped piece of glass out of the carafe’s lower half. Hmmm… Duct tape to the rescue. Every other day I have to replace the tape, and aside from occasional hissing — when the duct tape fails and hot coffee leaks through the interstices, hitting the hot plate — it’s not so bad. …Not really so bad.

But now I’ve broken down. I ordered a new Mill & Brew. I can’t really afford to spend money on inessentials, but even I had to draw the line at nearly half a year of duct-taping my coffee-maker carafe. It was no longer a fashion statement, it was a nuisance. And while some people might be ok with buying preground coffee, I wanted a new Mill & Brew. I’d rather duct-tape my biscotti, my brioche, my pain au chocolat than buy preground coffee or hassle with grinding my own (a locally roasted bean, exceptionally good) in a separate machine.

My new Mill & Brew, incidentally, has a steel carafe. This is a good thing, especially for those hot & heavy mornings, all that banging and grinding around. …Glass can be so dangerous.


Betsy Burke November 8, 2003 at 5:06 am

I can dig it, living in a place where coffee is not so much a culture as a religion. A word to all those of you who use the Moka espresso maker. Get the preground Lavazza or Illy coffee (both available in Victoria) The Italian way is to fill it up and pack it down so the coffee’s really concentrated. Don’t throw any leftover coffee away. Put the cold coffee in your latte the next morning. You’d be surprised that it tastes quite good through sitting. No waste.

Yule Heibel November 8, 2003 at 4:37 pm

You know, I think you need to be Italian (or French), or have a decades-long apprenticeship in Italy (as you have, Betsy) to be able to use those handy stove-top Moka espresso makers properly. I at any rate tried and failed miserably. The old northern filter-coffee self that is me burnt the freakin’ coffee everytime. You made coffee in a Moka last year when you were here, and it tasted great. If I do that, it comes out as liquified dirt. Is it a question of experiencing time differently, do you suppose? And that’s why gadgets like that Melitta-thing were made for North Americans? 😉

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