Coffee Cup
"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2007 - All rights reserved

Coffee Cup
Every End Has A Beginning

      An important era is about to come to an end. At the end of 2000 I decided to purchase an espresso machine and shortly thereafter Silvia came into out lives along with Rocky and a Hearthware precision Roaster. How thing s have changed in that six and one-half years. At that time I was so naive about all things coffee that I had originally settled on a Saeco MC2002 but, thankfully, David R. talked me out of it and I ended up with Rocky. My wife thought I was fairly well out of my mind spending that much. At the time I was not so sure whether she was wrong or right.

      But just as the world of coffee has advanced so much in that time, so I have as well. I now am the owner of a Vibiemme Domobar Super espresso machine that sells for nearly 200% more that that entire initial purchase and a new grinder will be arriving shortly of which much the same can be said.

      As the years have passed, so have I taken more and more kitchen space. it's a familiar story, and a universal one as well. First machine arrives, spouse is researching "rest homes," just in case. Spouse tast4es coffee... Yummmy. OK, you can have this one shelf for the cups and such, and before long a cabinet and two drawers are filled with cups, portafilters, cleaning supplies, towels, bags of green coffee, jars of roasted coffee, steaming pitchers, and more. One end of a counter is covered by an espresso machine, a grinder, and a knock box. Another grinder is added later and a place to tamp, then a scale for weigh9ing green beans and it goes on and on.

      For at least a year or three we have talked about installing an espresso bar of some sort. Plans, such as you an have over a cappuccino and biscotti, ranged from a complete wet bar to kitchen cartsó basically, anything that would clear some of the space in the kitchen and reclaim some counter space in a kitchen that didn't have much to begin with were met with approval.

      Once the Vibiemme arrived in all its 60 pounds of counter-hogging glory the talks of expansion became more serious. The final straw was the decision to get a commercial grinder, the size of which would not allow it to be placed under any counter being that the grinder weighs in at about 40 pounds and is the height of a small child. Before it arrives something had to be done!

      I had been watching the various online sales of carts and saw one on a closeout that looked promising, particularly for the price. It is called the "Texas Kitchen Cart" at J.C. Penny's. Most of the carts like it, in various finishes and top materials, sell for about $275 to over $500 plus S/H/T. We got this one for $235 delivered to the store.

      Because my home phone has anonymous call rejection the JCP automated phone system could not contact us, so the cart sat at the store for a week before someone decided to call us to tell us it was available for pickup. I decided to have it shipped to the store to keep it out of the hands of UPS.

      I went down to the JCP loading dock and rang the customer service bell. I waited for about three or four minutes, and just as I leaned over to ring the bell again, the PBTC kicked the heavy, steel door open, not realizing that someone was standing on the other side. The door swung past my face, missing me by inches. I was told that I had to go upstairs to have the order finalized, and I mentioned to the upstairs folks that I missed having my face rearranged by the door. Then it was back to the dock to get the cart loaded, where the gal who worked there apologized as she had not heard the bell and did not know anyone was there. "Why not use the peep hole in the door?" I thought to myself.

      She found the box and just moving it across the floor made it clear that it was massive and unwieldy enough to make the use of a hand truck a good idea. I rolled in carefully down the steps to my waiting car, and through the tailgate it went.

      At home I waited for Val to arrive to assist in moving the box. I got my hand truck ready and slid the box out and we stood it up. The printed gross weight on the carton said "53.1 Lbs":

      But somehow that just did not seem right. Once we got it onto the hand truck. I examined the weight printed on the box, and peeling back the JCP warehouse-to-store shipping label I found the following:

That explains a LOT!

      I opened the shipping carton to find... three separate flat-pack boxes. They contained a total of fifty various wood parts and some 215 various hardware bits (screws, wood dowels, hinges, latches, handles, etc.) . I removed the instructions to familiarize myself with the assembly procedure before beginning. Looking into a few of the cartons I was pleasantly surprised to see that the top was a 7/8" thick, butcher-block style of hardwood. It was quite unclear from the pictures on the website as to what the top was made of, so I assumed it was a laminate.

      I went to work on Saturday morning. I was pleased to find that the instructions listed the parts in sections depending on which carton they were contained, all the parts were stickered with number tags which matched the instructions and the hardware was packaged into individual bags similarly marked. Very little time was spent finding parts or hardware and so I had the cart completed in about three hours. All the screw holes were accurately pre-punched (very small holes which appeared to be made by a penetrating needle of some sort). I used my drill-driver set at the lowest torque to run the screws in then seated them all by hand. About one additional hour was spent cleaning the area where it would be placed, and another spent in moving the machine, grinder, and the other related things to the cart.

      When it was all done I tested it by laying on top, and it is sturdy, indeed! It had better be, being that it needs to support over 100 of gear on top, not including the thirty pounds or more of green coffee inside, a spare jug of water, empty jars, and more. Total gross weight, in service, is probably around three hundred pounds! Here's what I ended up with:

      Future plans for the area include some shelves on the wall, an overhead light, and a hardwood floor for the area. I am not committed to leaving the cart in that location. On the backside it has a flip-up leaf that extends the top into a wonderful serving area, so we might make use of that. We are also talking about a small sink that is plumbed in. One thing for certainó that cake-pan knock box with the oak knock-bar has got to go!

Coffee Cup
  -   -   - Silvia
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