The original intent of The Liquid Diet was to wax eloquently about all things potable, but more often than not I write about beer, because that’s the most interesting thing, in my opinion, to write about and that seems like what my audience likes. I do drink lots of other fluids, however, coffee being way up on the list.

I hit Broadway Cafe yesterday to pick up some beans for French press and my espresso machine. Broadway has THE BEST espresso I’ve had outside of Italy, so it pleases me to have it right here in Kansas City. While my homemade espresso isn’t quite as good as it is off Broadway’s perfectly set up system, it is DAMN good and as good as most shots you can get in a coffee shop. I’ve compared a LOT, so I know! LOL

I just went to turn on my machine to brew a shot this morning and was shocked to find the water reservoir was bone dry. I gave it a good fill a week ago and haven’t used it since, so maybe the dry air has something to do with it. I always run a little water through the machine when I first turn it on. NOTHING. Loud noise, so I knew the pump was working, but no water, so I freaked out, of course. I got this machine as a refurb from Whole Latte Love back in 2007 when I moved to KC and it seemed like a big investment at the time. I’ve taken pretty good care of it and it has taken pretty good care of me, but parts do break, etc etc, so I immediately thought the pump had kicked the bucket.

I struggled for a while trying to work the black top off the machine so I could peek at its guts. It comes off pretty easily IF you are observant enough to notice that there is a screw holding it down. The screw is at the bottom of the reservoir where you pour water in. Took me a while of struggling to figure it out, so there is lesson #1!

Lesson #2 is that if the pump runs dry, you have to prime it, which I must have forgotten after doing it once when I first bought the machine. Turn the machine on and let it heat up some, open the steam wand all the way, and then turn on the “make espresso” and the “make steam” button at the same time. A bunch of water will pour out the steam wand, so have a cup ready. Let a cup of water blast through and that will fill the pump and get it primed so it can use physics to continue to pump water when you need it.

Lesson #3? Don’t let the reservoir run totally dry or physics won’t work anymore (well, you get the drift).

Lesson #4? Thank God for people who upload user manuals for free use online. Here’s the manual for the Gaggia Espresso.