Pisani tries to get a full cup of Joe from a K-Cup
In my quest for a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, I’ve been taken hostage by technology and the infamous K-Cup — you know, those pods that create a lot of plastic waste and make a cup of coffee about the size of a miniature porcelain cup of Earl Grey at Buckingham Palace.
Why weren’t these things designed so you could get a full-sized mug of coffee from one pod? This is totally un-American. Where would this great land of ours be if Thomas Edison designed the light bulb to burn out after a week? Broke and in the dark, that’s where. And where would we be if the food industry hadn’t invented preservatives that gave hazelnut Coffee-Mate a shelf life of three years? I can’t fathom how that’s possible, although those R&D people in the food industry are geniuses in the tradition of Clark Griswold (aka Chevy Chase) in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
In a futile attempt to get a full mug of coffee out of a K-Cup, I started breaking the manufacturer’s rules, so I may be subject to criminal prosecution by telling you this. You see, I use the pod twice ... with disastrous results even when I use the darkest roast Starbucks ever concocted.
The people in product development never took the little guy into consideration. No matter what you do, the most coffee these pods will brew is half a mug. I suspect their idea of a cup of java came from Italy, where people sit around in the piazza with shot glasses of espresso and have absolutely no idea of what constitutes a REAL cup of morning Joe ... or anything related to “morning” for that matter.
Breakfast is something the Italians don’t do well, which means to say you can’t get a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Instead, they’ll serve you leftover rigatoni or a cannoli.
The K-Cup quandary is an issue I want political leaders of both parties to take up after the current frenzy dies down, if ever. To me, it’s a matter of national security if not economic security and ecological security because the K-Cup will eventually become a climate issue — like single-use plastic bags — once our state legislators realize they can tax us for single-use coffee pods.
Even the word “pod” troubles me because it makes me think of that movie “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” where the aliens took over an entire town and turned them into pod people.
However, there’s no denying that the invention of the K-Cup by Vincenzo Marconi Galileo Keurig was a milestone in coffee brewing technology worthy of a Nobel Prize in Physics or at least an Emmy. And it sure beats my four other devices, from the electric percolator to the coffee pot, the drip system and the French press. The problem is I don’t like to be outsmarted by a machine with a computer chip because I believe in the supremacy of man over the machine, unless the machine is the Terminator or that smooth-talking Alexa Amazon.
The K-Cup also prevents me from drinking an entire pot of coffee by myself, the way I did during the hardscrabble days of my youth in the newspaper business, when we had enough caffeine in our systems to power the entire Metro-North Commuter Railroad, or at least the Danbury line. For most of the day, I’d be bouncing around the newsroom like Iron Man in a suit that had a faulty fuse, going from my desk to the men’s room to the coffee pot and back again. There was a lot of activity but not too much productivity, and by afternoon, I crashed so bad, I’d be lying under my desk snoring or shaking from too much caffeine.
The other day, my wife suggested I try a different approach. Leave it to her to find a solution. “How about a large cup of Sanka?” she asked. Actually, it wasn’t that bad.
Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.