things aren't always as they seem

Coffee-Flavored Water

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Coffee-flavored water. That’s what I get from the break room sometimes.

There are four carafes and one professional coffee maker machine (office capacity). One carafe has an orange top for the decaffinated coffee. One has a black top and two have brown tops. I want the (hot) water to always be in the black top carafe. To my thinking, if water is the only substance ever in this carafe, it will have a better chance of not tasting like coffee. That leaves the two with brown tops to always have caffinated coffee. A place for everything and everything in its place.

Commonly, whoever takes the carafes off of the coffee maker in the afternoon sits them on the counter without rinsing them out. Occasionally they will already have coffee baked into the bottom because some coffee drinkers put them back on the warmers when they are mostly empty. What little coffee is in the carafe evaporates and leaves a film of coffee in the bottom.

The next morning arrives, and the people who come in early to make coffee try their best to get the baked-in coffee out of the carafes. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The coffee drinkers can’t tell the difference (probably) because coffee tastes like coffee. But using a carafe with baked-in coffee for water makes the water taste like coffee. And I don’t want coffee-flavored water for my tea. I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that people who get hot water for their oatmeal have the same aversion to coffee-flavored water.

And that brings us back to the idea of always having the black carafe for water. If water is the only liquid in that black-topped carafe day after day, then no coffee can be left in it overnight and we have a good chance of the water that goes through the coffee machine for heating purposes to come out tasting like water.

You know that saying that goes something like “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change how you think about it?” Well, this is something I could change, so I did. I’m an early arriver to the office, so now I go into the break room, rinse out all the carafes to my liking and make hot water, one carafe of decaffinated coffee and one carafe of caffinated coffee.

Voilà! Water that tastes like water!

But unless I stand guard at the coffee maker, it’s not a foolproof plan. Yesterday I went back into the breakroom to get some water about mid-morning. Bleck! It tasted like coffee. What happened? Someone who made a subsequent carafe of hot water must have thrown out the coffee grinds from the filter holder and put it back in without rinsing it. Voilà! Coffee-flavored water. Again.

Postaday2011 #43


Author: Tresha Barger

Writer (blogs, humor, short stories, poetry) and artist (miniature art quilts, watercolor paintings, soft sculpture dolls)

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