The coffee machines at work can do all kinds of magical things, like make espresso, hot chocolate, mochas, etc. I’ve only ever had black coffee, though, because that’s what I drink and I’m regimented and boring. I’m also a little scared that I’d find something else that I like and then wind up drinking like seven hot chocolates a day and then I’d be the one who has to tell the admin that the coffee machine is out of chocolate potion, or whatever, and then she’d be like, “Are you the one who’s using up all the chocolate potion?” and then I’d be like, “No, gosh no; I just wanted to try it. It’s my first time.” and then I’d smile and there’d be chocolate between my teeth and she’d scowl at me and I’d wish I’d never brought it up, but what I’d really wish is that I was holding a cup of hot chocolate, which the machine clearly offers; it just needs a little more potion, so why don’t you drop what you’re doing and just refill the machine? I mean, it’s your job, right?!
So: black coffee. It isn’t even that good. I get a little sad when I drink it.
I recently found out that our lease on the machines is almost up and will not be renewed. “What’s going to happen to the machines?” I asked. Nobody knows. But they won’t stay here. In the spirit of investigative blogging, and to broaden my horizons, I decided to try each of the different selections before they’re gone. Then, to broaden my horizons even broader, I’d go out for a run after each one and see what happens.
This is one of the fancy coffee machines:
And this is what it can do:
We’ve got two of them.
I love good coffee. At home on a Saturday morning, I’ll spend 10 minutes making myself the perfect cup of coffee. I keep my coffee beans in an airtight, space-age container and then grind them, by hand, moments before brewing. I spend more time making the coffee and cleaning up than I do drinking it.
Like I said, this coffee isn’t great. But it’s not the worst I’ve ever had and it’s what I’ve got to work with.
I drink enough coffee that there’s always at least a little jiggling around in my blood. So this just felt like a normal run, which is to say: it was baconelevent in every way.
The best thing about Puerto Rico is that when you order a black coffee, your waiter, after eyeing you blankly for a moment, will walk away and return a few minutes later with an entire mug of espresso. Mrs. B and I were there a couple of years ago and spent our time alternating between moments of vacation perfection and maddening stress; there was no middle ground. It was gorgeous, but neither of us speaks a word of Spanish, there were no road signs anywhere and more than once we saw a dog on the roof of a house. The entire time I had enough caffeine in my body to give a pony a heart attack.
A couple miles in, I passed a middle-aged man walking the opposite way with a boom box. He was holding it at his side, like a briefcase. As I got closer, I noticed that it was the real deal – silver, AM/FM radio, cassette player – and that it was playing Boston’s “More Than A Feeling.” He was nearly strutting and well on his way to rocking out. I closed my eyyyyyyyyyes and I slipped awaaaaaay! I smiled and gave him a thumbs up. He ignored me.
“No Sugar Tonight” on the way back, by The Guess Who. He was owning it.
Up to this point I had no idea what a cappuccino was or what one tasted like, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to look like that. Anyway, I still have no idea what it is but it tastes like weak, foamy coffee and, if your office is quiet enough, sounds like Pop Rocks. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen when it jostled around my insides during a run.
I saw a bald eagle! What a patriotic cappuccino! I was running on the Chester Valley Trail and it flew over my head from behind and then turned off into a wooded area. It couldn’t have been more than 100 feet off the ground and it was HUGE, easily big enough to swoop down, pick up a dog and carry it into space. Holy cow. I’d never seen a bald eagle before.
This was actually pretty good! I’ve been working thirty feet from this coffee machine for 4 years and I’m just trying this now? In a week I’m back to a communal pot of weak coffee. What was that movie with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro? Awakenings? Remember Awakenings? Dammit.
I was out for an easy 6 and it was a beautiful afternoon. I realized a couple of miles in that I was going to have to pee before I got back to the office, so I found a secluded spot and went behind a tree in the woods. By woods I mean parking lot, and by tree I mean dumpster. By dumpster I mean van. It was a turquoise Ford Windstar.
This was the hardest button for me to press. Decaf coffee is a perversion of nature; it shouldn’t exist. And it’s sneaky, too, because it looks just like real coffee. I know what you’re going to ask, and yes, I drank it. Yes, it was stupid. There’s no point to decaf coffee; it’s like brushing your teeth without toothpaste or having sex with a condom. (I’m kidding, it’s just a joke. Safe sex rocks, you guys. Stay in school.)
Just took a nap in my car.
This wasn’t bad. A little gritty. The potion tastes like sand.
There were four or five turkey vultures picking at a raccoon in the big field in front of Immaculata College. Lovely.
I had no idea what to expect, but this was delicious. Very frothy. Is it coffee? A latte? It tastes like whipped up, hot vanilla milk. Which is fine by me!
I spent most of this run thinking about what it would be like to own a boat. Like a little speedboat. I was figuring out how to make it work and then remembered the phrase “boat shoes” which killed it for me.
Booooring. I don’t know how people drink this.
Fittingly, this run was unimaginably dull. It could only have been more boring if it had been longer.
Yesterday was the last day; the machines are gone. I’ll probably never see a bald eagle or that turquoise Windstar again.