February 15th, 2005

default, pepper

(no subject)

The last two jobs I’ve been at have had something relativelyunusual for offices: drinkable coffee. Not great coffee, but drinkable. One place had the typical packets of ground coffee, but it was Starbucks’ French roast; the place before that had coffee from Peet’s, our regional equivalent to Starbucks, which came pre-ground in big plastic containers. Bashing Starbucks is fashionable and not entirely undeserved, and Peet’s thinks more highly of themselves than they should. But, either of them are a lot better than the generic brand the company that services the coffee pots will bring you.

Alas, the company I’m at now doesn’t do that. They have coffee service coffee.

I’ve been thinking of doing something about this for a while, and I was toying around with the idea of buying a Senseo for the office. These are little machines that make single servings of “crema” coffee, which is essentially coffee made with an espresso-style brewing method but with several times more water, that can normally only be made with relatively powerful espresso machines. They’re neat little things, excessively European, and given their “pod system” (little single-serving packets of coffee), very convenient for an office.

On the down side, at $60 the machine’s fairly expensive (although not compared to espresso machines!), and it can only take its own coffee pods. I’ve heard they’re reasonably good blends, but if you buy a batch, how fresh is it? When coffee’s exposed to air, its flavor degrades fairly quickly. And what if you want a different blend? “Medium roast” is like “red wine.” You can find some nice red table wines, but a whole new world opens up if you get more specific. (And anyone who doesn’t think the wine and coffee comparison is valid has never had a freshly roasted estate Ethiopian Sidamo.)

So, after some waffling, I decided to get:

  • a $3 plastic cone filter holder that sits on a mug
  • a $3 box of paper filters
  • a $15 electric kettle

I ground about a half-pound of Casa Segura coffee this morning and brought it here in a Mason jar. In retrospect, this was probably too much, going back to the “exposure to air = bad” problem, but the chances are that even after a week it’ll be better than the coffee in the kitchen.

And, it’s always entertaining to get stares from coworkers. “You set up your own coffee brewing station?”