When Trouble Is Brewing

: Tracy Beckerman on

My husband was never much of a coffee drinker, but after a business trip to Italy, he became enamored with espresso. At first he would just order it in restaurants. Then he started frequenting fancy coffee shops. Eventually he bought his own machine, and not just one of those pop-in-a-pod-and-call-it-espresso machines. No, he went full-on caffeine-crazy and ordered a high-end professional machine. Before I knew it, he was a stay-at-home barista with his own monogrammed apron and an espresso mistress he named Audine.

"Something's wrong with Audine," he said one morning. "She making a very weak macchiato."

"Can I help?" I asked, sipping my much less glamourous cup of tea.

"No," he said. "She's a very complex machine, and you don't know how to work her."

"You could show me," I said.

"I don't think so," he replied. "I only give out that information on a need-to-brew basis."

I was actually relieved to be cut out of their affair. Audine was a very fickle espresso machine, and I really couldn't be a party to her mood swings. Weeks would go by where she was reliable and devoted to my husband. But then she would turn on a dime and make bitter, acrid espresso. I would sit to the side, silently cursing Audine as she toyed with my husband, keeping him occupied for hours while he blew out the grinder and cleaned the machine. Eventually, he would get her to start working properly again, but not before our evening date night plans had been dashed by the harlot Audine.

Sadly, this was not the first time he'd been infatuated with a machine. Years ago, we had a GPS in our car with a sultry English accent. My husband stopped taking directions from me and only listened to her. Even when she took us onto a road that wasn't there, he would let her off easy, citing computer error. But then one day she got us lost on a road trip. We ran out of gas, and there was no Wi-Fi and no one around to help except a herd of heffers. I'm pretty sure that was the beginning of the end of their love affair.

Meanwhile, back at espresso central, more than the milk was starting to steam as my husband tried unsuccessfully to get Audine to make a decent macchiato. I suspected she knew he'd cheated on her with a Starbucks the previous day, and she was taking her revenge.

"I don't know why Audine isn't working right," he said in frustration as he tried cleaning out the grinder for a third time.

I sat on the sofa reading a book and pretending not to notice all the coffee drama.


"Maybe I should try a different bean," he said, mostly to himself.

"You probably have oils clogging up the portafilter," I said, not looking up from my book.

He stopped tinkering with the machine and stared at me.

"It's probably from that dark Ethiopian blend you bought," I said. "A natural orange oil cleanser would remove the oil accumulations pretty easily."

His jaw dropped a little.

"How do you know about this?" he finally asked.

"Oh, you know," I replied, pointing to my laptop. "Just a few things I picked up from my handsome computer, Pierre."


Tracy Beckerman is the author of the Amazon Bestseller, "Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble," available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online! You can visit her at


Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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