How to Make Better Office Coffee

Coffee in the office doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, with so many options today, it can be downright thrilling! Not only does it give you that much-needed afternoon pick-me-up from the caffeine, but there’s a certain magic surrounding the process of making it and the all-around anticipation for your coffee.

Here are a few jumping-off points for making even better coffee at the office.

Deciding On Your Office Coffee

Your journey to a more productive morning and afternoon, fueled by coffee, starts with the coffee selection process.
In an office setting, this can get tricky. Here’s one way to get creative about picking coffee for the group: assign a rotation of people to pick the beans or varieties of coffee each week or month, depending on how frequently your office makes an order. Call it a coffee club.

When it’s your turn to select a coffee, identify what it is you most often crave: dark roasts, light roasts, or maybe you’re a Goldilocks and a medium roast suits your palate. Whichever coffee(s) you select matters for a variety of reasons. For example, a darker roast will be the most agreeable to blend with milk, so if you’re a person—or an office culture, at large—that tends to keep a container of Half & Half or milk in the office fridge, you may want to steer closer to the medium-to-dark roast range.

You’ll also want to purchase whole beans, to avoid premature deterioration of the coffee’s flavor. Though pre-ground coffee is convenient for offices that don’t want to be bothered using a burr grinder each time a pot is made, it does eliminate one of the variables the maker has to control what the coffee tastes like. That is, your coffee is automatically more likely to be under-flavored by way of having been ground early; it’s like anchoring a runner with an ankle weight at the starting line.

Another no-fuss option is to opt for K-Cup pods, which have an air-tight seal that keeps your pre-ground coffee impressively fresh and ready to pack the maximum punch of flavor when it’s time to brew them. An added perk? Offices can order a variety pack, easing any potential tension around the office surrounding flavor preferences. And they’re also fast and easy to store. There’s also less cleanup, eliminating that awkward question of who will clean the carafe that’s been sitting on the counter all day.

Ways to Brew Coffee at the Office

There’s no shortage of ways to brew coffee — and most of them translate just fine to office culture.
For starters, there’s the trusty drip-brew method with a pot and hot plate coffee maker for the office. This will do the job just fine, especially for those darker roasts. Much like with grinding, this method generally does a lot of the work for you, eliminating the opportunity to refine a cup of coffee to taste. Here, you’ll need to identify what you want more: a fast cup of coffee, or one that’s leisurely and the most tailored to you?
To make your coffee experience more interesting while still being convenient, the French press is, in some ways, the best coffee maker in the office and likely the best bet—particularly for a non-fussy desk-side brew. Once you’ve ground your beans to be slightly coarse, simply measure out your preferred ratio of coffee to water—do some experimenting with this, as everyone’s recipe truly is different—and let the hot water and time do the bulk of the work. After three minutes of letting the mixture linger on your desk, plunge to filter and pour. Voila. (Pro tip: You don’t actually have to stir the coffee crust that will rest on top—gravity will pull your grinds down to the bottom as time goes on and the beans extract.)

It’s also entirely possible to do a hand pour-over at your desk, if you’ve invested in the extra equipment like a Chemex or any number of manual pour devices that rest on your coffee cup and pour right in. The major piece of equipment your office will need, otherwise, is a coffee kettle, like a Bonavita, that measures coffee temperature and doubles as a gooseneck pourer. The time to make this pourover is approximately the same as a French press, but with the extra step of more deliberate pouring and some equipment cleanup. (Note: In general, don’t let coffee oils build, as they’ll show in the flavor of your future coffees—use a water and vinegar mixture to clean if you don’t want to buy a name brand cleaner.) This brew method is especially valuable during lunch hours when you have more time to brew and are less likely to disturb office peace with any associated activity noise, while also versatile enough to execute at just about any time of day after the office’s initial batch brew has run dry.

You may also find that the best solution is a Keurig machine. These coffee-brewing machines have become increasingly more popular in recent years, are easy to use, and require very little clean-up. It’s a fast and efficient way to brew coffee without sacrificing quality. Whether you’re running off to a block of back-to-back meetings or trying to crank out a report before a deadline, simply popping a K-cup pod into the machine can give you a well-made cup of coffee in under 30 seconds to help you power through.

In short: There’s no wrong way of how to make coffee in the office; it’s really a matter of preference, time, equipment, and your office’s unique culture.

Building On Your Office’s Eco-Friendly Culture

If you’re trying to be more serious about your coffee culture at work, your human resources department or sustainability office will be thrilled about coffee’s eco-friendly, composting potential. Coffee is about 2 percent nitrogen per volume and pH neutral; so, weighing the standard brown-to-green nutrient balance for a compost mixture, you’ll want to layer the coffee with even amounts of leaves and grass, covered with bark mulch or an equivalent. Coffee is conducive to maintaining an aerated static compost pile.
Many coffee filters, too, can be shredded and thrown into the mixture. Coffee grounds also retain their composting potential over time, so if you haven’t developed a composting process or setup yet for your office, simply save the grounds in a large container for when you do.

We might be slightly biased, but at Victor Allen’s Coffee, we believe coffee has the potential to make the world better, not to mention your time at the office. Keep the good vibes and good coffee flowing with a coffee subscription for your business. Get as much fresh, Victor Allen’s Coffee as you like in convenient pods in single flavors or convenient variety packs.