I drink office coffee twice a day, which is a lot less than I used to consume. The company I work for (CondeNet) has installed a Flavia pod system in the communal kitchen. And it's considerably better than some of the drip machines you see in other office settings. Flavia is fast, non-messy, and certainly drinkable; you drop in a flavor packet, insert cup, and press a button. I can honestly say I enjoy the nutty Colombia flavor (more than hazelnut or other flavors any day), but, admittedly, the coffee doesn't come close to what you can get at Starbucks or if you made your own using fresh grounds or a French press. Still, for cheap, impatient workers like me, this system works well.
The key to making delicious coffee at work is to tweak the process. The tips below have helped me in offices throughout the country. Let me know if you have any other suggestions, finds, or bright ideas.
1. Use twice as much coffee (either two bags or two pods) and click "espresso" mode for every serving (prepare for major jolt)
2. Mix instant hot chocolate into the cup with the coffee (pour into cup after brewing and add milk)
3. Opt for creamier dairy: heavy cream, half & half, or whole milk, for example (you're not going to lose weight by skimping on flavor in your coffee)
4. Try sprinkling a pinch of salt into the grounds before brewing (not into cup, please)
5. Brew with filtered water only
6. Cleanse the palate before consuming (coffee may seem bitter after especially sweet foods)
7. Make a fresh pot (who knows how long that liquid has been sitting there?)
8. Clean the pot (who knows the last time that thing was cleaned?)
9. Drink as soon as possible; the coffee changes flavor over time
10. Ask your company to experiment with new vendors (preferably fair-trade, organic, and shade grown)
James Oliver Cury is the executive editor of Epicurious.com. He is a member of the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee and has been a judge at the Culinary Institute of America, the Jack Daniels World Barbecue Championship, and the Food Network's Iron Chef show. He's written for dozens of magazines, including Esquire, Playboy, Details, Entertainment Weekly, Maxim, Men's Journal, SPIN, Glamour , US Magazine, Food & Wine, and Every Day with Rachael Ray.
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