Back when I first started working in an office I was a hard core tea drinker. Tea and nothing but tea. I used to mock the coffee drinkers while waiting for my tea water to boil with an outsider’s description of their weird habits. “Imagine what the first guy who made coffee was thinking: I’m going to pull these berries off this bush here and leave them laying in the sun. Then I’m going to burn them in the fire. Then I’m going to grind them up and run hot water through the grounds. After that, I’ll throw the grounds away and drink the water. Does any of this make sense?”
Eventually someone responded with “about as much sense as running water through leaves and drinking it.” and that got me thinking about what we drink in the average American office and why. Most offices are coffee-centric; coffee is kept hot and ready to drink pretty much all day long. If you want to drink anything else you pretty much have to do it yourself. Eventually I got tired of doing it myself and started drinking coffee on occasion.
One of the things that struck me right off the bat is that most people’s coffee is actually more like battery acid than it is proper coffee. Pre-ground coffee is evil. If it’s been ground for more than a few hours the flavor of the coffee that you will get has already changed. If it’s been ground, canned and shipped there is no way to get a cup of coffee that isn’t bitter out of that mess. It just can’t happen. I don’t know how many times I’ve wandered into a convenience store and marveled at how many brave people there must be out there, to actually drink anything that looks and smells like that. You have to start with whole beans when making coffee if what you want is a drinkable cup of coffee.
The equipment has to be clean. No one in any office that I’ve worked in for the last 20 years has ever cleaned the coffee maker. This leads to the coffee being even more bitter than it would have been originally. Every few days at least, swirl a little water around in the carafe (which has to be glass, by the way) and rinse out the brewing basket, or perhaps even throw caution to the wind and wash them with soap and water. Your stomach will thank you for it.
Get an electric grinder. Experiment with different grinds to see what you like (I grind the coffee fine, myself) Only grind the coffee when you are ready to make it. Make sure the coffee maker is clean. And get some decent coffee beans to start with. I recommend Capulin. Hands down the finest cup of coffee I’ve ever had. There’s a whole host of reasons why you might want to buy your coffee there, other than the fact that it’s the best. But that’s a good enough reason for me.
Why is Capulin ‘the best’? Because I’ve never had a bitter cup of coffee from Capulin beans, even when I’ve had to reheat a cup. I take my coffee black the same way I like my tea, so I’m conscious of what the flavor is. There is a natural fruity or earthy flavor to the coffee, a flavor that is missing from coffee available at the local markets. I’ve tried the ever-present Starbucks, mail ordered Gevalia beans, and run through all the commercially available brands from the local markets over the years. Only Gevalia comes close in flavor to Capulin. Visit the site and read up on Capulin. Tell Daniel I sent you.
Now sit back and relax for a few minutes. Life is stressful enough without taking the time to enjoy a good cup of coffee.
Now that I’m no longer in a coffee-centric office 12-plus hours a day, I’m back to drinking tea. I drank coffee at home for a few years, but I began to notice an inability to sleep when I drank coffee at all during the day. Caffeine can also cause vertigo in Meniere’s sufferers. Now I either have one cup in the morning to help me wake up or I get no coffee at all. The French press is an amazing invention. The Wafflehouse has hands down the best coffee on the face of the planet if you find you have to get your coffee somewhere other than home.
I’m a purist when it comes to tea, too (no one is surprised, I’m sure) Russian tea you drink hot with jelly (another time when reading SF paid off. Thank you Niven & Pournelle for penning Mote) English tea, hot with milk or lemon and honey. Green tea is good too, just hand it to me straight. Iced tea is definitely not Southern Style in this household. No sugar added, not even during the boiling stage. It is almost an aggravation beyond bearing to have to insist on UNSWEETENED tea in order to get my tea unadulterated at the drive-thru window, but that is life in the South.