How to hack a coffee machine

In my office, we have black and red ones. Nescafe, it brags with large white lettering. There is a white girl enjoying her drink pasted across its side. She looks like having too much fun, almost as if the contents of her cup is something much stronger than coffee.

The machine’s facade has a tiny 8 bit display, black dots against a yellow lit background. Below it runs a column of options. Touch buttons that leave you unsure if you have pressed them or not. But not for long, because the baby dying shriek of steam soon announces that aye, it is alive.

Don’t be dazzled by all the option. Don’t be fooled into wondering what the difference between espresso and cappuccino is. It only means whether you want it more diluted or extra more diluted. One thing that all the 4 castes of coffee and 3 types of tea have is that 80% of it is water. The 8th button is hot water, so no compromise on promise there.

Everyone bows to the coffee machine’s tyranny. From the incurable sugar addict to the one who just wants to hold something in his hands instead of a cigarette, everyone is equally disappointed by the tasteless colored hot water that the machine dispenses. Nothing deters the shameless freeloaders though.

For the rest of yous though, I have found a hack recently. Now I make decent coffee and tea in this very machine.

A lot of times our lives run on unsaid assumptions. A lot of people think that all it takes for getting the beverage of their choice is to press a button. They press, accept the warm piss and walk off. Instead, I say, press the button several times, remove the cup and wait whenever the stream becomes watery. Hold it under only when the stream is dark black(coffee), or solid white(milk) or a thick mud brown(espresso). Any hint of transparency in that flow, you yank that cup away. That’s all there is to it.

Now that we have the technique sorted, let’s talk about discovered combos.

For an OK coffee.

Press Espresso, hold till the stream remains thick mud brown then remove and let it trickle out till it’s just clear hot water. Then press milk and repeat. Then Press Black Coffee and repeat. If your yank timings were right, this should fill a standard paper cup till about an inch from the top. I find this sweet enough, since the milk is actually dried sweetened milk powder and… wait for it, more hot water. If you want, maybe half a cube of sugar won’t hurt. (Though how you can split a sugar cube into halves remains a mystery. My email is …. I remain all ears, or eyes? to ideas. )

For an OK tea, take an empty cup and put a teabag in it. Press Milk and do the yank. Repeat. Two times is good. Three if you are greedy, but go ahead, no one is judging. I like it just how it is, and find a cube of sugar makes it too sweet. Let the bag steep for at least two minutes. This can turn it a bit cold for your liking though. With the little plastic stirrers, press the bag against the cup walls and juice out as much of the tannins as you can. Keep stirring till that dark brown juice makes it through the foam on top and is well mixed. At this point, I really miss the steam spout on the coffee machine from an earlier office. The steaming can really make a difference to the taste.

So these are the ways for an OK coffee and OK tea. I want to find out a combo involving the cardamom tea option, but nothing has struck so far. But with all the ennui around this place, I am optimistic.

Oh, and by the way, I know the paranoia that everyone must be staring. They all must be knowing I am pressing that button 5 times and there are 5 times that baby is dying and oh god and what not. Trust me, all white noise to most people. Half the people have earphones shoved anyway, and the rare few who still pay attention to the world in front of them, if any of them find out what you are up to, they will probably just chuckle and tip an imaginary hat. Forward this on Whatsapp if you want to. Save people from the tyranny of the coffee machine!