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The Villages
Wednesday, March 15, 2023

A lot more goes into a pot of coffee

Lisa DeMarco

The other day at work, I pulled an epic rookie waitress blunder. I started a pot of coffee in the service area, as I have professionally done for decades, before going into the kitchen to do setups for my shift. All of a sudden, my manager Mark walks into the room complaining about the mouthful of coffee grounds he just ate. “Who just brewed coffee?” he questioned.

Slightly embarrassed to admit it was me, I smiled and said, “I even checked the filter first.”

Then I sheepishly walked out of the kitchen to go fix my error. I dumped out all the freshly brewed, undrinkable juice I had just waited patiently for to make my own morning concoction before realizing there were no grounds to be found. “Mark must have eaten them all. That should have been me,” I whispered. 

Either way, I decided to clean out the kettle before starting the next pot in case the mess was from previous use that needed to be properly rinsed out. No worries. I cleaned and shined everything up and brought it back to the service area to start again. I neatly lined the metal basket with a filter before filling it with another bag of premeasured coffee grounds. Unfortunately, when I put the urn back under the basket this time, I unintentionally closed the cap while cleaning where the coffee was supposed to drip through. So, I had muddy water spewing out everywhere. Desperately trying to uncap the lid while the machine was LOCKED and in BREW mode, I finally had to turn off the machine to make it STOP!

Unfortunately, now I had at least a couple of dozen cups of coffee floating on the countertop and dripping down onto three shelves filled with clean cups, saucers, carafes, and napkins. Yet still, I hadn’t even brewed enough to fill my own cup. 

“Third time’s a charm,” I thought as I grabbed a stack of bar rags. From top to bottom, like a good little Cinderella, I cleaned and polished everything before putting it back in its proper place. Only then did I get the mop and bucket to suck up all that remained.

Mark showed up just as I finished swabbing the decks. “I have fresh coffee ready,” I said with a smirk. 

“No thanks,” he said. “I’ve had enough Java for the day. I’m ready to switch it up to soda.”

“Wow,” I whispered. “What a giant waste of time and coffee.”

At least 40 cups of gourmet coffee went down the drain or now rested in the bottom of my bucket. Still, even I was no longer in the mood for my daily dose. The smell on my clothes now permeated the stench of high-grade rocket fuel. Even worse, not one customer ordered a cup of coffee all day. Until, of course, 15 minutes before closing, just after Mark emptied and cleaned down the coffee station. 

Just then, a gentleman came in. He was a member, and Mark knew him by name. “I know you’re getting ready to close, but can I get two black coffees to go?”

Mark and I just stared at each other for a few moments before he, as my supervisor, answered, “Naw, sorry, we’ve already closed down the dining room. How about a cocktail instead? The bar area is still open for another 45 minutes.”

As his buddy approaches, overhearing Mark’s reply, he grabs a seat in front of the big screen TV and says, “Works for me. How about an Irish Coffee?” he asks.

Mark looks at me, and I just giggle and jerk my shoulders. “I guess I’m brewing one more –  single pot,” I said, shaking my head. “But I’m getting a handful of the whipped cream after you’re done making those cocktails,” I said, handing him the can of Ready Whip from the refrigerator. “After swimming in coffee all day, I’ve earned a little cream and sugar.” 

Laugh on! Peace Out!

Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com

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