my mother called me around 3:00, all freaking out because their espresso machine has been broken for more than a week and the loaner machine given to her by the repairman ended up breaking too. she asked if i could go online and look for some deals on espresso machines, nothing too fancy, just something that will work until the old machine gets fixed. too difficult to show her the models over the phone, i rode down to the cafe since it'd stopped raining temporarily.
through craig's list, there was a brand new in-box briel for sale in boston for $400. i thought that was on the expensive side, but their original espresso machine (now being repaired) cost a few grand, so $400 was small amount in comparison. there was also a seller in somerville with a used gaggia for $200. i telephoned the boston seller (got a voicemail) and e-mailed the one in somerville. we also found some good new machines in places like amazon.com, but the problem with that is even with next day delivery (which is expensive), it wouldn't arrive until monday, which means another weekend where customers are deprived of their espressos. so it was imperative that we buy a machine today.
i went back to belmont with my mother and sister, where we paid a visit to the watertown target in the hopes that they may carry a few espresso machines. they had a few mr. coffee models for less than $100, and although i'm sure they make fine espressos, they also looked rather cheap. my sister wanted to make a run to the burlington mall, but we suggested it might be a more time effective idea if she just called them instead, asking if they carry any espresso machines. so the whole time she was driving (in the rain i might add), she was also texting on her blackberry. i just rolled my eyes from the backseat, counting the minutes until we got back home to relative safety.
running out of options, my mother decided we just should order a machine online and pay for the faster delivery. it was at that moment that the $400 briel seller in boston called me. my mother and i decided that for the sake of urgency, it was worth buying the machine today. so i agreed to meet in the seller at her place in the longwood area. my mother drove to the cafe where my father then drove me to the pickup place.
the woman lived in an apartment that was a part of the longwood food court mall. i called her when i arrived, and thought it was strange she wanted to meet inside the food court, until i saw the small entrance to the foyer area of the apartments. it took her a few minutes to come downstairs with the machine, and i noticed a few suspicious glances from tenants when they saw me just loitering around their entrance. finally the woman came done, nothing like i thought she'd be, sort of a college student. earlier on the phone she told me the briel was originally a gift (wedding present?). i asked her if she could drop the price to $350 but she was firm at $400, saying that the same model sells for as much on amazon.com. i gave her the $400 in $20's, and asked her to count it to make sure she had everything. i went outside with the box - which was in kind of a rough shape - just as my father pulled up around the block.
despite the poor condition of the outer packaging, the expresso machine inside was in pristine unopened condition. although the model looks similar, it wasn't the briel ES200APG that was advertised in the craig's list posting, but rather the newer ES200APG-TB model (which made it a better deal). instead of buttons, the newer model had knobs. the newer model was also entirely stainless steel with a pressure gauge missing in the advertised model. compared to their commercial espresso model, the briel was tiny, about the size of 4 stacked toaster ovens.
up to that point (7:00) i hadn't eaten anything yet other than a bowl of oatmeal. my mother quickly made some chicken noodle soup for my father and i. afterwards my father tested the machine, figuring out how to work it. several cups of espresso were made, all unsatisfactory. that is until my father realized he was using the machine wrong (wasn't giving it enough pressure). once that was corrected, the next cup was a work of art, delivering a serving with a beautiful topping of frothy crema. after adding some cream and sugar, it didn't even taste like regular coffee anymore, more like a wispy cloud of delicious flavor. my mother even said it made better espresso than their normal commercial machine.
even though i was about a mile away from my house, my motorcycle was still parked in belmont, so i left with my mother when she went home. fortunately by then the rain had stopped again, and i managed to get back uneventfully.
later in the evening i took a dip in the tub, soaking in my spearmint eucalyptus aromatherapy bubble bath with my redwood scented incense. i took a blood pressure reading when i finally got out, something like 117/73, the lowest i've ever seen it at. maybe if i spend all my days in the bathtub, i wouldn't have anymore blood pressure issues.