After 5 years in the coffee business, you’d think I’ve either a) seen it all or b) narrowly escaped severe injury when working with 200-degree beverages.

Well, I was wrong.

Sure, I’ve poured my fair share of scalding coffee on my fingertips while in a sleepy daze at 5 a.m., but that just helped increase my pain threshold when pulling cookies out of the oven.

This is much worse.

One evening while brewing espresso, I noticed the steam wand wasn’t hissing as usual. Quickly I realized something was wrong.

Was it lack of water? Was something wrong with the pressure?

I knew I had to be cautious, as the warning label clearly stated, “Warning: To avoid injury, relieve pressure before removing cap or brew basket.”

Well, the machine had been on for about 10 minutes, so I thought it a good idea to let it cool before I investigated.

I didn’t wait long enough.

As soon as I slightly twisted the cap, a rush of steam exploded from the top of the machine. The lid wobbled violently as if it were about to shoot off.

My initial thought? If I don’t do something to remove this lid, I am going to be crying on the way to the ER after a violent injury from a deadly espresso machine cap.

So I bravely continued unscrewing the cap as steam cooked my flesh.

Lessons learned:

1. ALWAYS read the warning label.

2. Obey the warning label to the highest degree.

3. Grab a towel or some sort of shield when close to steam.

4. Steam burns hurt.

The aftermath

Immediately after the initial cold water treatment

The warning

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