Nothing beats a slow day at work to bring you down, and a cup of coffee can work as a perfect pick me up for the day. With coffee at hand, you have the chance to finally put away that pile of paperwork that’s sitting on your desk.
But making coffee at work can come off as a challenge due to issues you face and things you need to consider to make your coffee drinkable.
So before looking at the best ways to make coffee at work, let’s take a look at the significant issues you can face when making workplace coffee.
Anyone who’s tried to make coffee at work has faced these issues at one point or the other. The workplace facilities don’t really inspire barista-class coffee making, and even basic objectives, such as heating your water, can be a problem.
This is the first and foremost issue anyone will face while making coffee at work, including you. I’ve met unfortunate friends of mine who didn’t even have any means to heat the water up at their workplace, let alone proceed with the rest of the brewing process.
Some workplaces might provide you with pre-ground coffee beans, or worse, instant coffee grounds.
But they can go stale pretty fast, and you can bet the people in the office don’t know how to store coffee properly, so it’s going to taste stale and bland by default. And that’s a big no.
Worse than heating the water itself is the issue of finding fresh water. If you don’t have access to clean, fresh water on the office premises, bringing your own bottled water for coffee making is a better option.
Tap water, if not fresh, can ruin the overall taste of the coffee by diluting different minerals and chemicals in the mix.
Now that the water issue is resolved, some workplaces might offer you a water heater or an electric kettle to make things easier. Others will just leave you in your cubicle, letting you defend yourself in a cold, coffee-less world.
If your workplace isn’t providing any means to heat your water up, even when you’re bringing your own bottled water, the best choice is to invest in a small, portable electric kettle. The only challenge left now is to find an empty power outlet for you to plug it in.
The easiest way to go would be to buy pre-ground coffee beans, but average coffee can’t help you with workplace struggles. You need something better.
The most consistent way to grind any type of coffee beans is a burr grinder. You can choose a blade grinder, but those are not reliable choices if you are looking for an even grind.
Another thing to take note of is the noise of your grinders. Burr grinders can be really noisy, and it’s not a good idea to annoy the entire office with you grinding your beans, trying to get a morning coffee fix.
Even after securing a water source and getting some beans ready to go, you need a proper brew method to get the brew completed.
Choosing the right method can be a tricky one. But it depends on your personal preference of your taste palates, the type of coffee you like the most, and your means of using it. That’s why we’ll discuss the options in greater detail in another section.
Even when you have everything ready, the biggest issue that can undermine your preparations is the portability of your gadgets. Practicality is what you should be going for.
In an office environment, the most practical choice is a portable choice, and that’s what you should be going for.
As promised earlier, now we’ll be talking about the most common brewing methods for brewing a perfect coffee in the office. All of these choices have been made focusing on portability.
A pour-over drip method that is really easy to follow through. The V60 isn’t any specific filter cone type. It’s just a brand of filter cone that’s produced by Hario. Think of a non-electric drip-maker funnel that sits on top of your mug. That’s V60 for you.
All you need to do is:
- Set the filter on your favorite mug
- Put the coffee grounds in the filter
- Pour hot water over the grounds slowly
- Collect the extracted coffee when you’re done pouring enough water
If you want to control the pouring, any ordinary kettle can do the job for you. But if you’re going to take it one step further, use an electric gooseneck kettle for the process. That way, you can just heat it up and pour it.
Though this is a fast way to make coffee, the coffee coming from pour-over methods is usually delicate and mild.
There isn’t much to be said about the king of all portable coffee makers that hasn’t already been said, so let’s get to it right away.
Think of a giant upside-down syringe made of a plastic cylinder and a plunger. The cylinder holds the water, and the plunger pushes the water through the coffee grounds that are held on a filter.
Here’s how you brew a cup with the AeroPress:
- Preheat water
- Place the paper filter inside
- Set the coffee grounds on top of the filter
- Pour hot water on the grounds and close the plunger lid
- Place the AeroPress over the mug, and slowly push the plunger down
- The water pushes through the filter along with extracted coffee; collect your coffee when you’ve pressed it all out into the mug.
Like the filter cone, you need to set the AeroPress on top of your mug to collect your prize. But there’s the added risk of coffee scooting out of the sides, but that’s nothing a wide mug can’t fix.
With AeroPress, you don’t have to worry about the strength of your daily brew. Due to the extra pressure you can apply on the plunger without breaking the coffee brewer or your mug, you can get a decent, low-pressure espresso-like experience.
Anyone at your workplace can mistake this for a flower vase if they aren’t familiar with coffee culture. The look of Chemex is just that, a vase with a funnel-like top for holding paper filters and occasionally having a handle to make the pour-over easier.
For a cup of Chemex coffee, you need to:
- Set a filter on top of the Chemex brewer
- Put coffee grounds on the filter
- Slowly pour water over the bed of coffee in a spiral motion, so it goes through the filter, and the vase collects the coffee.
- Throw the filter and the used coffee grounds away, and now you have a vase of coffee.
- Pour water through ground coffee on top of the filter
- Throw away the filter when you’re finished pouring over and get yourself a vase full of tasty brew.
Chemex also offers you a brew similar to a V60, but Chemex is better at bringing out the different flavors of the coffee beans you use.
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Though this option requires a stove to make a cup of coffee, it’s such an accessible method that I couldn’t leave it out of here. So this option is for the fortunate ones whose workplace has a stove.
Here’s how to make a cup of java with a Moka pot:
- Place coffee grounds in the upper chamber along with hot water
- Set the pot on the stove. The process should take 3-4 minutes.
- You don’t need to pre-heat water since you place the coffee and the water together in the pot on the stove
- Once the brewing is done, the finished brew will gather at the bottom chamber that you can pour into your cup.
Coffee brewed in a Moka pot tastes really close to espresso, despite less pressure than a traditional espresso machine.
Manual espresso machines use 9 Bars of pressure, while a Moka pot builds up only as far as 1.5 Bars. Still, the achievement in taste and flavor profile is impressive.
This coffee-making method can come to mind even without reading the list since it’s the go-to choice for home brewing. The ease of use is what makes this one accessible.
To put it simply, a French press is just a little mixing jar that can brew you coffee. All you have to do is:
- Put the coffee in the jar over the filter
- Pour in hot water
- Let the coffee steep for around four minutes if you want the perfect brew
- After waiting, press the plunger down to get your coffee.
Remember how we were talking about practicality earlier? This one is the most practical option to consider for the best cup of coffee you can brew in the office.
And since everyone has a basic idea about a French press, you are less likely to get weird looks from your colleagues. Let’s admit it, at least one person is going to give you a weird look for trying to push coffee out of a giant syringe in a mug.
The ideal temperature for the French press is still up for debate. But the most critically acclaimed temperature is 205ºF (96ºC), which is just below the boiling point.
If you’re using a French press to brew coffee in the office, it’s best to let your water sit for 30 seconds to cool it down to the right temperature.
Even after you’ve made the perfect choice for a brew method that suits both your coffee taste and work environment, there are a few things you should look out for to ensure the best coffee experience from your favorite method.
This is the most simple trick in the book to get the best taste out of every brew, no matter the brewing method. You can always make it easy on yourself by getting pre-ground coffee beans, but that cuts down the overall experience.
Always remember to timestamp your pot. That way, you have an idea if your coffee is still drinkable or has turned into stale sludge.
If you are sharing a coffee maker in the office, this trick also helps your colleagues. With a timestamp, your coffee enthusiast colleagues can determine if the current pot is past its prime time or not.
It’s very easy to fall down a rabbit hole of office procedures while your coffee sits on the table, slowly losing its heat and flavor in the process.
Invest in a thermal carafe for your personal coffee so you can keep it in a better, drinkable state for a longer time.
A French press coffee machine can easily take care of the “better coffee brewing” itself. All you need to do is brew accordingly.
All you need is great coffee, enough hot water, and the French press itself, so it’s a great option to save space when it’s already limited in any workplace.
When a coffee maker is passed a certain point, even getting quality beans won’t save it from producing poor-quality coffee.
If you have a shared coffee maker in your office that is really old, and the coffee is already tasting bad despite your best efforts, it’s time to upgrade.
Discuss with your colleagues, and decide on a coffee maker that suits everyone’s convenience.
If you’re the only coffee drinker in the entire department, a moment of silence for you.
If this is the case, invest in as little equipment as possible, as it’s not a very cost or space-efficient idea to buy a bunch of equipment that no one will use, and you will have a hard time storing it in your current office space.
Invest in coffee equipment that can offer you a single serving of coffee for your everyday needs, like a cubicle coffee maker.
Another obvious tip, but it’s a necessity if you want the maximum amount of refreshment from your brewed cup.
High-quality ingredients can get you a high-quality cup of coffee that can refresh you for the rest of the day if it hits the right spot.
The pour-over method might get messy every once in a while; there’s no better way to maintain consistency in your everyday coffee.
Any stainless steel pour-over coffee maker can give you the best pour-over experience, along with travel compatibility, and you get to be environment friendly too!
Workplace coffee machines don’t get cleaned even half as coffee machines in different coffee shops, and that’s a fact.
This is why there’s infamy surrounding workplace coffee. But the reason lies behind the untidy state of the machine itself. Taking the time to clean up the coffee machine can save you and your colleagues during crunch week with the clean taste of fresh coffee.
Let’s assume you are in a very unique situation where none of the tips and tricks mentioned above suit you. There’s only one way left for you, and that’s cold brew.
All you need to get yourself a cup of fine cold brew is to leave ground coffee to steep overnight in cold water and filter the coffee before you bottle it up to take away for work.
From what I can see, the most challenging part of this whole process is to remember taking your coffee with you.
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Workplaces can be stressful and overwhelming. But there’s nothing like a fresh cup of coffee to take your mind off of things, even if it’s for a few minutes.
We hope your coffee ventures at work are successful, and you have an amazing coffee experience.
If your coffee maker is offering you stale coffee despite using high-quality coffee grounds and freshwater, it’s a sign that you need a new coffee maker as this one is past its prime.
If several coffee enthusiasts in your office are looking for a better coffee experience, pitching in together for a drip coffee maker is a great decision.
Considering work pressure can get out of hand quickly, it’s understandable if your boss likes coffee and is willing to help out.
Several coffee makers are perfect for workspaces. It entirely depends on the type of workplace you have, the kind of coffee you prefer, and your convenience.
Cold brew can easily offer you a coffee fix if brewing coffee at work is too much work. All you have to do is just let your coffee steep overnight and carry it over to your office for everyday coffee needs.