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Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Great Coffee Mystery: Solved!

About a month ago or so, I got a new coffee maker. Prior to this, I'd been using a 4-cup maker without a timer function on it, so getting a full-sized coffee maker with a timer was a big deal for me. Anyone who follows me knows how much I love my coffee! How cool would it be to wake up on the weekdays to fresh-brewed coffee?

Once everything was all cleaned out, I read the instructions on setting the timer and went at it. And I woke up to discover that I had less coffee in my cup than I had with my old maker. Huh? It wasn't overnight evaporation because I set up the other maker the night before, too, so that when I woke up in the morning, I could just turn it on without have to measure while I'm blurry eyed.

I shrugged it off the first time and thought, hmm, maybe I didn't pay attention and the water level was less than I thought it was. Okay, so about 4 ounces is a long way to mis-measure, but you never know. I tried again.

And got the same results the next morning.

I took my old coffee pot, measured the correct amount of water and poured it in my new pot, thinking that maybe the measuring was different for some odd reason. But no, the measurements were equal. I checked to see if the water was sitting somewhere in the pot and everything else I could think of, but nothing seemed off. Not knowing what else to do or where else to check, I started adding extra water to make up for the difference.

Now, I was getting the right amount of coffee, but the mystery remained unsolved. This was something sitting in the back of my brain, nagging me. Not enough to investigate further, but enough so pop into my mind at odd moments.

And then, out of the blue, the question was answered. I made coffee on Tuesday afternoon when I got home from work. I generally don't do this. If I'm going to have a second jumbo cup, I usually make it at the day job, but that day, I had a must-do project and I was drooping. I knew I needed a boost.

As I'm putting everything together, I glanced at the clock on the front of the coffee maker. It's not a digital clock, but an electronic face clock, without any numbers on it. The time on the maker said it was an hour later than it really was. Huh? Did the power go off while I was at work? But a quick glance at the other clocks showed they were still set correctly and nothing flashed at me.

I looked back at the coffee maker. Still an hour fast.

Yes, I set the time on the coffee maker wrong. Instead of starting to brew 15 minutes before I get out of bed, it was starting an hour and 15 minutes ahead. That's where the missing water was going. The coffee was being heated away while I slept!

Embarrassing, yes. I do know how to tell time, but once I set the clock, I never looked at it again. It never--not in a million years--occurred to me that I'd set it wrong. Sigh. I moved the clock to the correct time, and this morning as I was getting up, I heard the beeping telling me that brewing was complete. I've never heard that before, but then I'm usually sound asleep an hour earlier.

The mystery is solved. I'm relieved to have this out of my head now, but my face is red.