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Last Christmas, I was thrilled to receive a Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine, a do-it-yourself, money-saving, Sayonara-Starbucks way to make my own caramel lattes.

The novelty of grinding and tamping my own espresso and steaming my own milk quickly wore off, but every now and then I would pull out the machine when friends came over and wanted a homemade cup of Bren. I would experiment with different flavors–Cinnamon! Chocolate syrup! Caramel drizzle!

In these tough economic times, when saving up for wedding things ALWAYS comes before spontaneous shopping trips and chai lattes (hmmm…sounds nice, doesn’t it?) I thought I would be economical on this chilly Saturday afternoon and make a latte while I read up on Carbohydrates and Digestion.

The machine has this giant magic reservoir that needs to be full of water in order to make the steaming and espresso making work. It was full, the machine was plugged in, and everything was ready to go. I flipped on the switch, and suddenly lights started blinking.

But then, instead of pulling a nice, neat cup ‘o espresso, the whole things started clunking. And then I smelled burning rubber.

And instead of steaming my milk, steam was coming out of the nooks and crevices.

And I started thinking that maybe this was my payback for spending too much money on coffee. Maybe the machine was angry that it had spent the past few months collecting dust in the pantry. Maybe I should be hitting the gym instead of steaming a fattening half-cup of milk.

And then I decided I would just have a cup of tea.

Starbucks: you might have won the battle, but I’ll win the war. As I angrily sip tea out of a mug blaring your namesake.

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