A Casualty in the Battle of Ethiopia

This post started out as your basic coffee comparison. I somehow ended up with three different types of green Ethiopian coffee beans and thought it would be really interesting to roast some of each and compare the three. In the process, though, I lost an old friend.

The little black Braun coffee grinder, aka “Grindy”, has been with us for over twelve years. With the exception of a couple of vacations where Greg and I went away together (circumstances and dogs tend to make this a rare event), and a brief period where I tried to pretend that I could live without the precious black elixir, old Grindy served us daily, sometimes twice a day, turning shiny black coffee beans into a magical “just add water” kind of powder that we revered. He came into our lives at a time when even the idea of grinding coffee at home was unheard of. At dinner parties, I’d step into the kitchen and fire him up and guests would come running to see what the noise was.

We gummed up his blades with nasty flavoured coffees, dented his plastic exterior with many taps of a teaspoon to get all of the coffee out, sometimes went weeks without cleaning him properly. Yet he still soldiered on, grinding our morning brew like the trooper that he was.

For twelve long years, he held out and then finally Grindy could take no more. His blades spluttered, he groaned with effort. I performed some last-ditch EMS, cleaning out the area around the button in case he had just gotten clogged. He gave me good grind yesterday, but this morning, he could do no more than utter a tiny repeated “whrrr” noise before the life went out of him.

Whore that I am, I mourned him only briefly before pulling out his cousin, a curvy little white Procter-Silex job used exclusively for spices. She stank of cardamom and garam masala and even after a good wash, the smells of India still enveloped her. I used her anyway, desperate for my fix, and my cup of beautiful Yirgachaffe tasted only faintly like chai.

Armed with a gift card he sorely wanted to get rid of, Greg hit Canadian Tire at lunchtime to find us a new Grindy. His choices were a newer version of the trampy Procter-Silex machine (which I suspect is not nearly as sturdy as the Braun) or a couple of uber-expensive birr grinders complete with bean holder and specific cup measurements. And while the lure of a birr grinder is enticing (I’m not a real coffee connoisseur without one), all I really want is dear old Grindy back. Another one of those basic mid-range models that I can get at least a decade out of. A machine that will not only serve me well and do its job with little fuss, but will fit into the cupboard and not hog much-coveted counter space.

The autopsy showed nothing, at least not to me, given my utter lack of knowledge of electrical repairs. When I dropped one of the screws down the sink, I knew it was time to say goodbye.

Dear old Grindy, you will be missed. Thank you for your constant companionship these many many mornings. Thank you for your hard work and diligence in ensuring we obtained our daily caffeine fix. Thank you for the coffee, Grindy, thank you for the coffee.