A single serving Black and Decker coffee maker sat around in its box for a year or two. Finally I decided to try out this appliance, which had been a gift and I had been unsure of its usefulness. After a false start or two, I produced coffee deemed “the best I’ve ever tasted” by a friend who had certainly drunk certifiably gourmet coffee, living in France and then in Madagascar where her housekeeper roasted the beans fresh daily.

I used and used that coffee maker, even though the pods were an extravagance, until I stressed out the machine and it wouldn’t go anymore.

Months later, I tried to find a replacement. No store in town carried single serve coffee makers. Finally, my brother found one—the discontinued display model from a hardwre storage room. The bargain price ($4.50) seemed too good to be true. It was.

The new machine produced coffee that was vile and bitter. I bought different types of pods—Colombian roast, classic roast, decaf—both Folgers and another ritzier brand. All were terrible.

I tried shopping at other stores. Nothing made a difference. The coffee was bad, bad, bad.

Yes, a good tasting cup of coffee is elusive. We sip our way through mediocre quantities in search of that one “good coffee”. But this brew didn’t come close, and I wondered if another factor was at play. Maybe my tastebuds? Or did companies manufacture good pods at first to get people hooked, then switch over to an inferior product? Or were these machines so unpopular in this town that all the stock on the grocery shelves was dried up and again?

Coffee pleasure goes through stages. Sometimes, even a jumbo can of store brand tastae delicious. At other times, beans ground at home produce an indifferent brew.

I liked the way that coffee smelled during the one minute brewing process and I’m determined dto repeat the sensation even if I have to go online and special order a high end product, at whatever price. I wonder if it will make a difference

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