Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Drinking a Celebratory Cup of Beanstock Coffee

Sometimes, things don't go as planned. The first few days of our annual August vacation were cold, rainy, and dismal. Instead of opting for cool spritzers, I found myself craving hot coffee. I found great comfort in Beanstock Coffee, a remarkable line of beans brewed by a company that started roasting coffee in 1996 in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

Three days into our vacation, the sun came out. People swarmed the beaches, runners took to the streets, and there were glorious shouts of joy from the bike paths.

Like many others, we took to the beach to watch the sunset. I brought Beanstock along. It was satisfying on every level!

Here I am at Duck Harbor drinking combo hazelnut/Wellfleet blend, the best of all possible worlds--combined in one cup.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happiness Is…Buying a New Coffee Maker & Getting a Refund for the Old One

About a week ago, the unthinkable happened. One mid-August morning, my Barista AromaTM 8-cup coffeemaker broke. It became essentially unusable. My first reaction was denial. The large rubber lip of the thermal carafe had become completely unhinged. I tried to meld it back together, but this coffee maker was almost 4 years old. Indeed, if ever there was ‘planned obsolescence’ this was it---because it was definitely NOT abuse. Over the years, I have loved that coffeemaker. On some cold winter mornings, I would practically coo at it as it competently brewed my coffee. I loved many of its features. It’s black and silver sleekness, the gold mesh flat filter, the fact that I could yank the carafe away from the case before it finished brewing in order to pour myself half a cup. I loved the shushing sound it made as it brewed, the strategically placed water canister, and the digital read-out. Ours was a warm respectable relationship informed by my primal addiction to coffee.

After I got through the denial phase, I jumped into action. I went online to attempt to replace the carafe. I encountered a few Web posts suggesting that my Barista had been recalled. That seemed really strange, so I physically walked to the Starbucks near my house to find out where to buy another Barista. When I arrived, I made sure to stock up on VIA--when it comes to instant coffee, VIA truly is best-in-class---to get me through the next few days. (I had originally purchased my Barista coffeemaker at Starbucks in 2007, but was well aware that Starbucks no longer retails coffeemakers in their stores. I have since found out that they don’t retail coffeemakers at all anymore….but, they do give EXCELLENT customer service.) The barista told me to contact customer service in Seattle . I did and less than 24 hours later, they responded suggesting I call using a specific case file number. Within 10 minutes on the phone with Daniel, my problem was resolved. My Barista had been recalled; Daniel promised to send me a shipping label and a full refund of $99.90. Now that’s what I call incredible service and accountability. Thank you, Starbucks!

Next step: I purchased a Black & Decker 8-cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker.

Tomorrow, I start my relationship with my Black & Decker 8-cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker. First, I have to buy filters! It’s been a long time since I’ve had to do that… and then there is the ceremonial hot-water cleansing. And this time, I plan to master the delayed brewing feature. So the question is: Is this the start of something special? Who knows---it may very well be a love match.