I’ve been living without an Nespresso machine these past few years—ordering (and responsibly disposing of) the capsules is such a pain, and the machines themselves can be so darned finicky. I was convinced I could do better on my own, with a conventional coffee maker. But it turns out that I make a horrible cup of coffee, just awful, which was not always the case. I blame my thick, sludgy coffee on learned helplessness: the Nespresso makes it so easy to brew a perfect cup, in literal seconds (which is clutch because I need coffee before I do anything in the morning). So last week, I got myself a new Nespresso machine—a cheaper model because I’ve tried fancier ones and they’re not much better—and coffee is good again.