The day the coffee machine exploded


Some time ago, Microsoft began installing Starbucks coffee makers in the kitchens, and caffeine addicts waited anxiously for the machines to reach their building. Or at least that's what happened on the main Redmond campus. But what about the satellite offices?

I'm told that each satellite office qualified for an iCup machine when the number of employees at the office reached some magic value. One of my colleagues who works at the office in New York City told me that they eagerly awaited the arrival of the machine when they learned that they reached that threshold. The long-anticipated day arrived: The coffee machine was installed in the kitchen.

And it exploded.

Okay, it didn't really explode. But the receptacle for holding the spent grounds overflowed and burst, spilling its guts out onto the kitchen floor. If you didn't know what happened, you'd have thought it had exploded.

The reason it exploded was that, although the New York office is rather small, it does have a very high number of visitors. As you can imagine, clients pay visits to the New York offices for meetings, presentations, all that stuff that clients visit offices for; but the underlying algorithm for determining how many coffee machines each office receives doesn't take into account how many visitors each location receives.

Oh, and happy Guy Fawkes Day. Try not to blow up any coffee machines.

Comments (19)
  1. Andrew says:

    V For Vendetta would probably be less eventful (but potentially more comedic) if V just went around blowing up coffee machines.

  2. V for Vista says:

    I’m not here for what Vista failed to deliver; I’m here for what Vista delivered.

  3. nathan_works says:

    v for vendetta ? I think you mean v for venti latte.

  4. Dave says:

    Heh, iCup. Can you spell that out?

  5. configurator says:

    Drug tests and coffee always work well together.

    ( http://www.usscreeningsource.com/icup_drug_test.htm )

  6. bmathew says:

    Am I the only person who prefers the Farmers Bros stuff over the iCup?

  7. 1+1=2 says:

    If you didn’t know what happened, you’d have thought it had exploded.

    I spilled cup. 2 girls?

  8. That sounds like a pretty dodgy design – and I thought my current network scanner/copier/printer was bad, with a full waste toner bin being a "fatal error" which requires an engineer visit to clear, preventing even scanning until their engineer empties it! (On the bright side, it’s covered under the service contract and has always been same-day service, but still a crazy implementation.)

    We recently salvaged an old coffee vending machine for our staff common room – one which uses single-serving pouches of coffee mix (or tea, chocolate etc) then dumps them into an internal bin. It’s bright enough to detect if the bin isn’t in place properly or is full, then refuses to vend until it’s fixed.

    To be fair, I suppose the iCup things will be similar to the machines Starbucks uses in their own stores, which have maintenance routines which include checking the bin and cleaning regularly so this can’t happen; if the waste bin has slightly greater capacity than the input hopper and you empty the bin each time you fill the hopper, this won’t be an issue.

  9. dzandkamp@hotmail.com says:

    That sounds like a pretty dodgy design

    Sorry, the conveyor belt for waste disposal is an optional extra ;)

  10. Boo says:

    I’m not being nit-picky.. I really do have a serious question.

    Is it proper English to say "Try not to …blah blah"?  Or is it proper to say "Try to not …blah blah"?

    The first one always bothers me.  How does one "try not"?

    Thanks.

  11. John Elliott says:

    @Boo: It’s "Try not to do x." If you break it down as "Try (not to do x)" rather than "(Try not) (to do x)" you don’t have to wonder what "try not" means.

  12. J says:

    OK…I’ll bite

    iCup

    eye sea ewe pea

    whats so funny about that?

  13. Mark (The other Mark) says:

    J-

    Try "I see you pee"

  14. Lorenzo says:

    Some months ago, I tried tried these Starbucks coffee machines in Redmond when I was a visitor at Microsoft. Their coffee is so good! But I liked so much the cinnamon tea, too!

  15. Peter says:

    Yes, the coffee is surprisingly good for machine made coffee. The beans are freshly ground for each cup.

    There is a maintenence schedule, so the machines are emptied frequent;y. I suspect the large volume of visitors in the NYC office + the novelty of trying out the new machine resulted it the machine getting full well before anyone expected it to, hence your machine asplode.

  16. maemo? says:

    Technically, it’s Guy Fawkes *night*, we celebrate in the evening. Fireworks don’t really work in daylight, y’see :-)

    (Though to nit-pick it can also be refered to as "Fireworks night" or "Bonfire night" too.)

  17. Anonymous Coward says:

    I always get a laugh out of exploding appliances. At our place just last week, the shower head exploded in the hands of the cleaning lady.

    Of course she took it way too seriously. It’s hard to be all understanding when something similar has happened to oneself – sure, the first minute I was pretty pissed, but then I just laughed it off.

  18. AlexanderGrigoriev says:

    The coffee machine even comes with its own blue display, which sometimes shows "out of order". Blue screen of Death.

  19. Ron says:

    My "Mr Coffee" actually did explode back in the early 80’s   Luckily no one was in the kitchen when it happened.  The heating coil area of the machine was the most damaged.  Might of been the heavy calcium build up.  I’d forgotten about it until I read the title.  

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