Monday, January 17, 2011

In the Beginning...

Being a chronic coffee connoisseur (addict) and Craigslist devotee, it was not long before I found the bargain of a lifetime. Someone in beautiful Parrotsville, TN (near Newport) was selling a 2 group commercial espresso machine. There were no pictures and very little information available, but for $150, I had to jump on it. I was still using the Salton espresso machine my sister had given me to use in college and I had all but worn it out. On my way out, my girlfriend (now wife) Krissy called me to see what I was doing that night.
"Driving to Parrotsville to buy an espresso machine off Craigslist."
After a long 2 hour drive, I arrived at the pickup location... some kind of ranch / wilderness resort / retreat with cabins and a dining hall. They would take people out on horseback rides or fishing on the nearby lakes and creeks. The espresso machine lay inside the dining hall. It was back in a dark kitchen and walking back there I had a momentary vision of the worst possible outcome of being in the middle of nowhere to pick up a deal too good to be true. The walk-in freezer could hold a poker game worth of corpses alone, not to mention the ample rural burial land. But there in the faint light I saw it... or at least something large and appliance-shaped. An ECM Michelangelo A2 commercial 2 group espresso machine. This thing was enormous and I was beginning to question how I was going to fit it in the car, much less carry it.

The guy told me his parents ran the ranch for several years before handing it over to him and they purchased the machine 5 years prior for $500, but never hooked it up or tried it to see if it worked. It had just been sitting in the kitchen waiting for someone to do something with it. With no guarantee that the thing would even work, I was able to negotiate a price of $125 and we proceeded to carry it to my little Saturn 4 door sedan. Due to the height and depth of it, we couldn't fit it in the trunk, so with some considerable man-handling of the 100lb + behemoth, we wedged it in the back seat. I drove home having no idea what I was going to do with it, but thrilled it was mine.

I called a neighbor to help me unload it and get it in the house. We put it on my dining room table and it spanned the width and half the length. I was a little concerned it would collapse the legs, but it seemed to hold. From that point over the next several months, I moved it to the floor, back to the table, and eventually to the garage on a workbench where it sat while I updated my house to put it on the market.

I moved it to the basement garage when I moved in with Krissy, and there it sat while we planned a wedding and repaired various things around the house. Then one day, I had 4 hours completely free in the afternoon and it was time to see what was inside that beast. At the very least, I wanted to drain the water that had been sloshing around inside the boiler for 6 years or more.

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