I used this quote on a coworker the other day and got a completely blank stare…absolutely no glimmer of recognition of this line from one of my favorite all-time work movies. Oh well, thats not what I’m here to complain about today.
Today my pet peeve is office coffee, and its general poor quality of production that usually leads to bitterness, acidity, and sadness (both in the brew and in the people who have to consume it). It never fails that the more advanced the facility and the business is, the less attention is paid to the most important part of the brewing process. No matter how sealed you auto-filling vacuum carafes are, how clean the automatic filtration water systems make your primary ingredient, the fact remains THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVE NO CONCEPT OF ACTUALLY MEASURING OUT THE COFFEE.
This is even more of a travesty when the office pays a premium for high-quality beans (or at least high quality grounds). For years I thought that Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend was absolutely fetid and bitter, until I had a properly brewed cup at a friend’s house one morning. I think I ended up drinking almost the entire pot! The problem in office environments is that there’s always some yahoo who thinks “the more grounds you use, the better the coffee”. Or worse, the more caffeine (there’s Red Bull in the fridge for that if you need it). Look people, there are well formulated ratios for ground-to-water combinations, and they’re not that hard to find.
Then there’s the old wives tale about keeping coffee in the freezer. The problem with this is that every time you take the bucket out and open it, more moisture will concentrate on the already staling grounds. Its not hard to disprove this one. For an even deeper understanding of this topic, Alton Brown is, as always, a fantastic resource.
Due to this sadly fixable problem, I find myself rarely drinking coffee at the office. I have however started bringing in some basic equipment to make a proper cup of tea and buying small portions of well-sealed leaves for my hot beverage fixes. There’s a lot to be said for the therapeutic properties of waiting for a nice pot of tea to brew in the afternoon. It’s a much better break from your day than the typical mad dash to the lukewarm, overly bitter, often empty pot of sludge that curses us from the kitchen.