Joe on the go

Joe on the go

In America, coffee and cars go together like rednecks and mullets

By Jennifer Hadley 07/17/2013

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When I sat down to write this week’s column I intended to focus on how Tesla’s fight to sell cars directly to customers was their right, in accordance with the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. I’m not kidding, that was the plan. However, I astutely realized that just because I got an LSAT prep test book for my birthday, I’m not automatically qualified to be interpreting a 123-year-old act that the US Supreme Court has both shredded and upheld in various cases. Maybe after I open the book I will have a leg to stand on, but I’m sure you’ll agree that doing so prior to studying is a bit premature. 
Plus, I recalled the time that I got volumes of hate mail after innocently suggesting that LA’s bus system left a bit to be desired, because I couldn’t read the bus schedule. Next, I used that handy degree in philosophy to apply logic, which proved that I would be bombarded by emails calling me an idiot, when I’d merely tried to interpret and apply a law I had recently become reacquainted with, through my work as a tutor. So I did what anyone would do in the same situation: I sat back, had a cup of coffee and decided to write about coffee. Because in my book coffee and cars go together like rednecks and mullets. 

Specifically, I started poking around to find out if there were any new coffee-on-the-go innovations. Lo and behold, finally there are solutions to the age-old dilemma our forefathers surely faced. Namely, the need to brew scalding hot liquids while in transit.  

Indeed, back in June 2012 Fiat announced that espresso makers would be available in their 500L model cars in Europe. Those Italians sure are sophisticated, aren’t they? Unfortunately, here in the States, that option wouldn’t be available to us. That is, built-in espresso makers are just a bit avant-garde for us.

“But I neeeeeeed fresh espresso while I’m driving,” you’re thinking, right? No matter that there are three Starbucks, two Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and two Peet’s within Pasadena proper.  Disregard the fact that Yahoo! Local lists 57 places to get coffee within our fair city’s limits.  You want it fresher than that, right?

Fortunately, the French understand the need for the finer things in life and have gifted our savage-like senses with the Handpresso Auto ( The nearly two-pound contraption sits in your cup holder, plugs into the 12V outlet (which in France is still likely a cigarette lighter) and within two minutes, voila! Fresh espresso on the go. Of course, you will have to buy special Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods, which can be tricky to find in retailers, but are readily available online.  

The Handpresso Auto sells for just under $200, but for another $50 you can upgrade to the Handpresso Auto Set Premium, wherein you’ll also receive two unbreakable cups and a napkin in a convenient little suitcase in which to also keep sugar, spoons and your ESE pods. Because how gauche would you come across with pods just strewn willy-nilly about your car? We may not be able to handle built-in espresso makers, but we’re not complete hillbillies in ‘murica, are we?

Actually, now that I think about it, this does all seem just a tiny bit urbane for most of us. Which leads me to wonder if that idea I had about installing refrigerators in cars actually does have some legs after all. We may not be ready for espresso makers in our cars in the US of A., but a fridge to keep our 900 trillion milligrams of caffeine-enhanced energy drinks nice and cool would probably sell like hotcakes.  

But rest assured, when I do decide to sell my car refrigerators, you better believe I’m only selling them through authorized dealers. Because antitrust acts be damned, that’s the way we do things in America.  

Contact Jennifer Hadley at


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