How to Make Better Office Coffee

Although we work all day in tiny, lifeless gray cubicles, there’s no reason we need to tolerate that nasty brown swill called office coffee. Anyone can make rich, great tasting office coffee with some know-how and a few simple supplies.


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    Get a standard 8-cup French Press (also called a Press Pot or Cafetiere) and remove the lid and plunger screen.
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    Measure in eight slightly rounded tablespoons of coarse ground coffee.
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    Set a digital timer for 4 minutes and press start.
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    Add hot (195-205 degree F/95 degree C) water up to about one inch below the top. If you have on-demand hot water in your office (that little red spigot on the water cooler), you are ready to go. If not, use an electric water kettle to heat your water just below boiling.
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    Mix until all the coffee grounds are wet. You’ll notice some light brown foam (called crema) on the surface, which is a sign of good fresh coffee beans.
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    Carefully place the lid and plunger assembly back on top, but do not push down the plunger yet. Place the pot on top of your file cabinet or desk and let it brew.
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    Check your email or do something strategic for 4 minutes until the timer goes off.
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    Slowly push down the plunger screen until it reaches the bottom, trapping all the coffee grounds.
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    Pour and enjoy your delicious coffee.[[Image:Make Better Office Coffee Step 9.jpg}}


  • A burr grinder will give you better results than a whirly blade grinder. Consistent grind size is important. If you don’t have a burr grinder, ask your local barista to grind the beans for you.
  • Be prepared for other cubicle coworkers to stop by whenever you brew. Ask them to contribute to the coffee fund so you don’t have to bear the total cost of beans.
  • Don’t let it brew too long – after 4 minutes the coffee may begin to get bitter.
  • A standard eight-cup press pot holds 32 ounces/950 milliliters (32.1 fl oz) of water and makes 2-3 standard US mugs of coffee. The Bodum Chambord brand is one of the most popular.
  • If you are forced to use a microwave to heat your water, put a chopstick in the container before putting it in the microwave. This will prevent the water from becoming super heated. Turn off the microwave when you start to see bubbles collecting/creating around the chopstick.
  • If you're not going to drink it right away, pour the coffee into a thermal carafe or thermos to keep it hot and stop the brewing process. This will allow you to enjoy hot, great tasting coffee throughout the morning.
  • Glass press pots lose heat quickly so don’t let it sit around too long.
  • Make sure to use coarse ground coffee. Standard grind for an automatic drip coffee maker is too fine. It will cause "sludge" in your coffee and may clog the plunger screen when you try to push it down.
  • Heat can be retained during steeping by filling the press pot with hot water then emptying it right before you start (preheating), and by insulating the press pot during steeping.
  • Stainless Steel French Presses are available. These presses are typically a bit more expensive than their glass counterparts, but are much less likely to break. Many metal presses offer double-wall insulation to help keep the coffee warm for up to 2 hours.


  • Do not use boiling water in your coffee as this makes the coffee bitter. Let the water sit for a few moments after boiling.
  • Do not stir with a metal spoon if you have a glass carafe French press. The carafe may break.
  • Keep your press pot and filter screen clean. Coffee oils can build up and go rancid over time, making your brew taste bitter.
  • Some offices forbid the use of electric appliances. If you rely on an electric kettle to heat your water, be careful and only use it in the employee lunchroom.
  • If the plunger screen gets stuck while pushing down, your coffee grounds are probably too fine. Be very careful not to force it -- hot coffee may shoot out the top or the carafe may break.
  • Avoid pulling the plunger screen back up once you begin pushing down, as this can cause coffee grounds to escape back into the drinkable top section.
  • Studies have shown that coffee made from a french press can raise cholesterol levels. Persons with high cholesterol levels should avoid this method of brewing coffee or, as an additional step, filter it through a paper filter.

Things You'll Need

  • French Press (Press Pot/Cafetiere),
  • Digital Timer,
  • Coarse Ground Coffee,
  • Plastic teaspoon,
  • Hot water,
  • Coffee mug.

Sources and Citations

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