Friday, October 19, 2012

When All Else Fails, RTFM

A few weeks ago, I bought a shiny new Mr. Coffee Burr Grinder.  It's red, like a sports car, and it has a big hopper on it for holding lots of coffee beans, I can choose how fine or coarse the beans are ground, and it'll grind up eighteen cups' worth of beans at once.  Let me put it in a way that conveys my excitement: IT'LL GRIND UP EIGHTEEN CUPS' WORTH OF BEANS AT ONCE!

I know that if you're Really Into Coffee, you grind your beans right before you brew them.  Well.  I'm not Really Into Coffee like that.  I'm Really Into Coffee in that when I want coffee, I want coffee.  I don't want to stand there, dragging out coffee beans, grinding them up, and then finally getting them to the coffeemaker.  My old coffee grinder from 2001 was a little tiny thing.  It ground 3 coffee cups' worth of beans at a time.  I usually ground up enough beans to fill my Fresher Longer container, so I could just scoop out two cups' worth and set my coffeemaker going.  It took a long time to grind up enough beans to fill up that Fresher Longer container.  I always made a mess, too.  And it just wasn't the kind of coffee grinder that you could leave out on the counter.

So I got the shiny new red Mr. Coffee Burr Grinder with the big hopper and the holding chamber for the ground beans, and the prettiness and design to be able to stay out on the counter, full of beans, and today, I could FINALLY try it out, because I'd used up all my already-ground beans.  So I took the lid off the hopper, filled it with Tim Horton's Medium Roast to the "Max Fill" line, and pushed the start/stop button.

Nothing happened.

I started to panic, because here it was, brand spanking new, this coffee grinder, bought weeks ago from, and it wasn't working.  Amazon's good about taking returns... if you still have your packing slip and the boxes the merch arrived in.  Don't you know that three weeks ago when this coffee grinder arrived, I ripped open the box, high-pitched, maniacal yet delighted laughter ringing through the house, tossed the packaging and shredding the packing slip!  Because how could something so beautiful not work when I need it to?  How could it?

Today, I was starting to feel just how something so brand new and so beautiful could not work, and it made my stomach sink.  I looked through tear-filled eyes at my red coffee grinder, wondering if I had a $50.00 paper weight sitting on my kitchen counter. 

Then it dawned on me: even though I sent the box to recycling and shredded my packing slip, I still had the manual around here... somewhere.  Yes!  Right on the kitchen island, which hasn't been de-cluttered since about three weeks ago!  Oh my goodness!  What a nice looking owner's manual!  Maybe there was a trick to getting the coffee grinder to do its thing!  I could read all about it now!

There it was.  Instead of guessing when I had the hopper installed correctly, I learned that I have to tighten it down so I'd hear a "series of clicks," and then have the arrow line all the way up with "Fine."  Then I could fill it with beans, select how fine or coarse a grind I want, select how many cups to grind up, and use the attached scoop and brush to get the burr-ground beans into my coffee maker.  Right there, in five seconds, I knew for sure what I'd been trial-and-erroring for a good twenty minutes, and still not getting it right.

I've made this mistake too many times to be proud of.  I try to hurry and figure I'm saving myself lots of time by not RTFM, and then dozens of minutes or even a couple hours later, I get the manual out, and there in black and white, is everything I ever needed to know, and the only frustration I suffer is kicking myself for not reading the flippin' manual sooner.

So that's that. Now that I've RTFM, that burr grinder works beautifully.  It looks so nice, sitting on the counter, full of Tim Horton's Medium Roast.  It makes the whole kitchen smell like Starbuck's when it's ground up some beans, and is so much fun to use that I think instead of grinding up a bunch of beans ahead of time and keeping them in my Fresher Longer container, I'm going to keep the hopper full of beans (it looks so pretty and hip!  I'm never hip!) and just grind up enough for my 2 cups every day.  I don't think I'll ever be a Coffee Snob, but I might just come to appreciate the superiority of a big latte bowl of coffee made with just-ground beans.  I might just, anyway.

I wish I could say this is the Last Time Ever that I plunge headlong into something before I read the directions.  I really wish I could.  But we all know that's an unrealistic expectation for myself.  But right now, I'm basking in how much easier life is when you just RTFM.

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