CRACK, splat, splatter.

I turned back around and saw my ceramic cup, now in two halves on the floor in a pool of frothy coffee. It had happened again, another cup broken.

For the past three years, we’ve been the proud owner of a Nespresso coffee machine. It works wonderfully; I enjoy the frothy head on good coffee. My favorite is the espresso. I love that I can get a tiny jolt of coffee in a petite espresso ceramic mug, savoring every ounce from the creamy foam to the dark brown liquid gold to the last drops, then bounce out the door for a run without having to take the time to drink an entire cup of coffee.

In these three years I have lived out this scenario three times. I set the tray for the height needed for the cup, place the cup, then start the machine, only to turn back and see my coffee and cup shattered on the floor. At first, I blamed myself. Obviously I was in a hurry and had not properly secured the tray. The final drop was the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. I scolded myself for my carelessness, practiced the correct way, and started giving it an extra push to make sure it was secure. Understandably, I was upset when it happened the second time well over a year ago. When it happened this morning, I shrugged it off — it was my favorite cup and the last espresso pod in the house.

My original assumption about user error has given way to skepticism about the quality of the tray design. Could it be that the vibrations of the machine shake the tray loose? Would a satisfying snap or click when I moved the tray give me better feedback that I had, indeed, anchored the tray correctly? Was the hook on the tray a mere millimeter or two off, therefore providing insufficient support? Was the vibration of the machine simply too much for the design? Consider, the estimated use for this machine is about 300 times a year (sometimes I have iced coffee or drip-brew), yet I’ve only had three incidents, 1 in 300. Why today, but not yesterday?

My intention is to have a cup of coffee, but the result is the loss of my property — a delicate double-walled glass coffee mug, a hearty glass coffee mug, and a demitasse cup — along with an urgent need to clean up glass or ceramic and carefully mop the floor. This is not the experience the designers or the company intended, and yet here it is. Leaving me with the choice, will I abandon my favorite coffee maker in order to play it safe?

Looks like I’ll be taking my chances, we just ordered more pods.

Writer, researcher, observer