I don’t actively look for espresso machines to buy even though I’m in love with manual machines. I was searching online ads not for any real need, just a curiosity. I stumbled upon a commercial espresso machine that was beautiful, and more importantly, it was a spring driven, manual espresso machine, my favorite type. He wanted $900, which was a lot, but I figured maybe I could bring the price down.
The difficulty of the purchase was the size. It was a beautiful machine, but it was roughly 3 feet wide, 2 feet deep, and 4 feet tall. It was a beast, but what a deal.
I asked about the history and why he was getting rid of it. He said he didn’t know how to use it, and it was missing a portafilter. Whatever I thought, his loss. I wondered why someone would buy such a large coffee machine and not invest in a portafilter which doesn’t cost much.
I went out to see it. By this time, I had shared the phone with my coffee friends. I had dreams of setting it up at work and being more obnoxious than I already am with my work coffee setup. I was torn though because I don’t need to spend the money, I felt hard pressed to pass up such a deal.
We went over to his house in East Palo Alto. Palo Alto is a very rich area, but East Palo Alto has a bad reputation. Even my wife didn’t feel comfortable driving there. The house looked normal, and the machine was more beautiful than the pictures. It was in perfect condition. I offered $300. He said it was too low. I also asked again why he didn’t just buy a portafilter. He said he didn’t want to get the grinder and everything else to do the coffee thing. Strange for someone new to coffee to buy that kind of machine.
I came up to $500. He said $550, and I figured why not. I went back to the car to consult with my wife. She was supportive of whatever I wanted to do, but I still felt something wasn’t right with the purchase and wanted to be extra cautious. She said why not wait a day and see how I feel.
I told him, and he was very nice about it. Then he asks if I’m interested in other espresso machines. He shows me one in his kitchen, but I wasn’t interested. Oddly, it had no portafilter. Weird if you are wanting to use it. Then he said he bought a few to try out what he liked. This particularly made me start feeling something wasn’t right because he clearly wasn’t trying them out.
He went back and brought out a nice, manual espresso machine that was new and in the box. It was a spring driven, manual espresso machine called Ponte Vecchio. He said to look it up, and it cost over a $1,000. He only wanted $700. Why didn’t he just return it if it was so new?
The thought that everything was stolen completely sunk in, and I told him, I was going to think about it. I got in the car and left. I was bothered that I knew it was stolen. Even though I didn’t buy anything, I still looked up online for recent coffee shop robberies. There was one in San Diego at the beginning of 2018. It could have been from something else. I don’t know.
I would like to say I’m a man of high morals, but this coffee machine was on my mind for two days. If only he had taken $300, I would have that machine and not have thought about if it was stolen or not. That was the pervasive thought in my head, and I had to work to let it go. I’d rather have known, and I’m glad I figured out someone was wrong before I bought it.
God bless whomever got robbed.