Coup in the kitchen

In a surprise move last week, Mr Coffee and Moulinex Coffee and Spice Mill were deposed without ceremony, and Krups and Capresso were installed as mainstay appliances Chez Paul, Palm Springs.

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Mr Coffee had served as chief morning coffee brewer since January 2000, when he was first called to serve Chez Paul, attending to the caffeine needs of the First Guests (to sleep on the floor).

Moulinex had been in service since the mid 1980s, first joining the household in Oswego, New York, where he prepared finely ground coffee for espresso on a daily basis.

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From exile below the kitchen sink, Mr Coffee deplored his deposition: "There was never any suggestion that my service was lacking in any way. In fact, I received glowing performance evaluations. It's shocking. Simply shocking."

The successors, Krups and Capresso, arrived separately Chez Paul in the days before their surprise installation. According to sources close to the kitchen, there was no indication of anything unusual until the morning they assumed the duties of Coffee and Moulinex without prior announcement or warning.

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"While we have a great deal of sympathy for Mr Coffee and Moulinex," Krups and Capresso said in a joint statement, "we are delighted to bring the latest technological advancements in coffee grinding and brewing to Chez Paul."

Capresso in particular emphasized that its burr "pulverizes coffee beans to maximize flavor/aroma, minimize heat." She also touted her automatic shut-off and multiple grinds for any brewing method.

Krups boasted of her Aroma Control that steeps coffee "nearly two minutes during brewing for full flavor" and her "double walled insulated stainless steel carafe" that keeps coffee hot "for hours."

Asked to respond to the comments (boasts, really) of Krups and Capresso, Mr Coffee sniffed, "Aroma control, what's that about? You boil water, you let it seep through coffee grounds, that's it. Did anybody complain about the coffee I brewed whenever asked? No."

Moulinex, reached at an undisclosed location, sobbed uncontrollably. "What am I going to do?" she asked. "It's very hard for older appliances like me to find a new position. I'll be lucky if I don't end up having to chop disagreeable things like garlic or hot peppers. It's shameful the way they treat appliances that have served faithfully and have many years of service left in them.

Asked about functionality, Moulinex professed to be equally bewildered. "What's the big deal about grinding coffee beans? You take whole beans, you make them into small bits. Burr, schmurr. What matters is, the coffee ends up in little pieces."

Reaction amongst the other appliances was mixed. Refrigerator said, "Of course I was surprised. It was totally unexpected. There was no hint of dissatisfaction with Mr Coffee or Moulinex's performance whatever. For myself, however, it was only last month that I was to asked to serve Chez Paul, so I can't imagine my position is in any kind of jeopardy."

Cooktop was not so sanguine, however. "I'm very worried," she said. "I'm one of the oldest appliances here, and now that I see what can happen to even youngsters like Mr Coffee and Moulinex, I'm very anxious, indeed." Pressed as to the source of her anxiety, Cooktop allowed that "in the past year I've had my ups and downs. I'm just afraid Chez Paul will use that as an excuse to replace me with something newer and more stylish." She continued, "It's not my fault, you know. We all get older, but that doesn't mean we don't try our best."

Hand Blender, Braun, hastened to add, "It wouldn't surprise me to find that I'm next on the block. I get the job done, but it doesn't look like that's what matters any more."

Food Processor agreed, apprehensively, "It won't be long now before I'm shown the door, replaced by some sleek young apparatus." Processor seems resigned: "Garage sale, flea market, whatever," Processor said, "I'll cope. I can still reduce an onion to mince in less than 7 seconds."

Unrest threatened to spread to neighboring households as word quickly spread of events Chez Paul.

Chez Paul was unavailable for comment, but a spokesperson said that suggestions of a systematic plan to weed out older appliances were "ludicrous.... It is simply a question of changing needs and how those needs can best be fulfilled."

Others in the household, asked to comment, responded, "No comment. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."