You be the judge: should my girlfriend stop upgrading our coffee-making equipment?

<span>Illustration: Igor Bastidas/The Guardian</span>
Illustration: Igor Bastidas/The Guardian

The prosecution: Will

Granted, her expensive machine makes great coffee but it takes up half the remaining counter-space we have

I love coffee as much as the next person, but Livvy, my girlfriend, is obsessed and constantly looking to upgrade all the coffee-making bits in our kitchen.

We have everything you could possibly want – but Livvy wants more. We had a cafetiere when we moved in together four years ago, which I thought was perfectly adequate. But when Livvy went to Colombia two years ago, she returned with all these beans and bought a grinder. Fine, I thought. I was OK with it because I could taste the difference of freshly ground coffee.

But then Livvy got a coffee machine. Instead of researching which one to get, she nabbed one for a tenner, but then we had to spend loads on the accompanying pods. This machine also took up a lot of space in our very small kitchen because Livvy bought the pods in bulk and they came in several large boxes. The pods also weren’t biodegradable so they were terrible for the environment.

Livvy says it has a built-in alarm clock. But who even needs that from a coffee machine?

Livvy was enthralled by all the different flavours for a while, until she got bored. Then she got her mum to buy her a really posh Italian barista machine last Christmas. I think it cost more than £1,000, which is obscene. I call it “the Stallion” because it’s huge and flash and the first thing you notice when you walk into our kitchen. Granted, it makes great coffee, but it takes up half of our counter-space.

Coffee machines are middle-class status symbols these days. A simple cup of coffee has become this huge thing, and it’s unnecessary. The Stallion is a bit pretentious but Livvy loves it. She’s a coffee connoisseur and loves selecting our beans from specialist shops, and asking baristas where their coffee originates.

I’d like to simplify. I doubt I’ll get my way, but I’d love to throw out our old machine and grinder at least, as the Stallion grinds coffee for us. But they’re still in storage. Livvy now wants to get a “smart” machine, whatever that even means. She says it has a built-in alarm clock. But who even needs that from a coffee machine? This has all gone too far.

The defence: Livvy

In my mind, having both a big machine and a cafetiere is not too indulgent. Will has two games consoles

The Stallion has been a great addition to Will’s life, so I don’t know why he likes to pretend otherwise. Yes it’s a little cumbersome, but it really is the best in the business. There are loads of nifty settings and I really value having a quality cup of fresh coffee. I love getting the beans from a sustainable producer online, and seeing where my coffee comes from. At the minute it’s Costa Rica.

I got more into coffee after a 2022 trip to Minca, a coffee-producing region of Colombia. I realised that our old coffee machine with the pods wasn’t eco-friendly at all. Will should be happy that the Stallion is better for the environment – and makes him better coffee. Instead, he’s focused on how big and fancy the Stallion is. Perhaps it’s because he feels threatened by it, his masculinity challenged.

I hate the phrase ‘coffee connoisseur’, but that’s what I am

I don’t have a problem with throwing out our old machine, I just haven’t got around to it yet. It’s stored under the stairs, so I’m not sure why Will is bothered by it. I’m less inclined to throw away our coffee-grinder – it’s only small, and it’s wise to keep a grinder in case the Stallion ever breaks down or we revert back to the cafetiere.

The cafetiere is a great back-up – a classic, fuss-free way to make good coffee. In my mind, having both a big machine and a cafetiere is not too indulgent. Will has two games consoles so why can’t I have two coffee machines?

When I mentioned getting a smart coffee machine in the future, Will freaked out. To me it sounds awesome. I want one with an alarm clock, so you get woken up by your machine and by the time you walk into the kitchen your coffee is waiting for you.

I realise I’d probably have to chuck out the Stallion before Will lets me add to our coffee-making collection, and anyway, for now I’m happy as we are. I am the one who drinks the most coffee and does all the research into procuring the beans, so I should have the final say. I hate the phrase “coffee connoisseur” but that’s what I am. I’m not ashamed of taking pride in my coffee.

The jury of Guardian readers

Should coffee-lover Livvy press on and hold her grounds?

The Stallion should be more than enough to satisfy Livvy’s needs; it’s ecologically irresponsible to buy so much coffee paraphernalia. However, it seems like Will has some unresolved issues with the Stallion. Perhaps he needs to reflect on why he feels so threatened by this large piece of kit.
Maisie, 29

Will seems to be viewing Livvy’s coffee making equipment through the lens of necessity, rather than seeing it for what it is: a passion. He should be pleased that this hobby also benefits him, and be encouraging of his girlfriend’s interest rather than feeling self-conscious about a “flashy” machine.
Haydon, 39

Will’s got a backup game console, so why shouldn’t Livvy have a backup coffee gadget? His only grounds for appeal is an anticipated lack of counter space. Livvy should ensure future purchases do not encroach on that space.
David, 32

Addicted, afflicted Livvy is wasting time and money, and treats two-console Will with contempt. His only option is to go tea-total: mash up masala chai, sip dan cong oolong, explore assam and hit the hibiscus. He could also go retro with a vintage teasmade. Nick, 68

Livvy’s coffee habit sounds obsessive and risks taking over the couple’s limited kitchen space. Buying a machine more suited to a cafe than a home is OTT and self-indulgent.
Steve, 43

Now you be the judge

In our online poll, tell us: should Livvy press on and hold her grounds?

The poll closes at 10am GMT on Thursday 29 February

Last week’s result

We asked if Meera should rent her flat to her brother, like her mum says.

45% of you said Meera is guilty – mum knows best

55% of you said Meera is not guilty – her flat, her rules