Make Your Office Coffee Taste Better

Many people make the mistake of thinking more expensive equipment is the key high-quality coffee. Coffee shops typically have the best tasting coffee and they have large, expensive commercial machines. That must be the solution, right?

-Wrong. Let me explain why.

First, coffee shops typically have those expensive for two reasons: 1. Volume – coffee shops need to make lots of coffee very quickly to serve their customers. 2. Consistency – Machines are just more consistent than humans, it’s just that simple.

However, there are several other things that coffee shops do that help produce great tasting coffee that you can take with you to the home or office.

1. Great Coffee Starts With Great Water

Coffee is 98% water. It is near impossible to take mediocre tasting tap water, brew coffee with it, and then transform it into something incredible. If you’re starting with water that doesn’t already taste great, you can’t expect much out of the coffee.

The water filtration systems in coffee shops are intense. I’m not suggesting installing a café-quality filter system, but maybe use bottled water or RO water to brew coffee. Chances are you’ll be able to taste the difference immediately.

2. Fresh Coffee Matters

The fresher, the better. Coffee begins to degrade after being roasted. Whole bean coffee will maintain its freshness for about four weeks before you begin to notice any loss in quality. Grinding the coffee in advance speeds up this process even more. If you can, grind coffee just before you brew with it.

One time I saw a small engineering firm purchasing coffee from a large California coffee roaster. Most of the employees were from California, so I’m sure it was a brand they were familiar with. The unfortunate part was they bought their coffee at a grocery store where it ships and then sits on shelves for a long time. By the time you get it at the store, it could be several weeks to several months old. My suggestion is purchasing coffee at your local coffee shop, directly from the roaster, or getting it delivered by a coffee service.

3. Your Grinder is the Unsung Hero

Coffee grinders are typically overlooked in the coffee brewing process because they aren’t as sexy as the brewers themselves. However, having a quality burr grinder can make a world of difference.

A burr grinder, as opposed to a blade grinder, works with bladed burrs that spin around and pulverize the coffee into a consistent grind size. Blade grinders just chop at coffee in a random fashion, leaving you with grounds of all sizes. This is important because having a consistent grind size helps to get the best extraction from your coffee.

4. Coffee to Water Ratio

A major mistake in coffee brewing is that adding more coffee grounds will make the coffee “stronger.” In this case, “stronger” is a very subjective word, but also, throwing off the coffee to water ratio will result in poorly extracted (bad tasting) coffee.

The ideal ratio is 1:14 or 1:15. That means for every one ounce of coffee grounds, you are using 14 or 15 ounces of water to brew it. This ratio will result in the best coffee extraction, resulting in a flavorful cup that is neither bitter nor sour. To achieve this ratio, I suggest using a kitchen scale to measure your coffee and water.

Take some or all of these tips with you and start making better office coffee. The coffee you drink at the office should be great, and doesn’t require adding expensive equipment.