Brewing Better Office Coffee
We've all been in a situation where the only option for coffee at the office is a sad Keurig or Mr. Coffee maker. Think styrofoam cups with powdered creamer and those grotesque Splenda packets. While convenient, these options, at best, produce weak or off-tasting coffee and, at worst, add to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, making one think—what is the point of having access to coffee at my fingertips when it’s this bad? Brewing better coffee at your office is much easier than you think, so by the end of this blog, please do the whole office a favor and ditch the pod brewers. Let’s consider an excellent option for a batch brewer and grinder combo.
Invest in Good-Quality Equipment that Can be Repaired
There are two main drawbacks of consumer-type coffee brewers, including pod-brewers. The coffee they put in those pods is generally some of the lowest quality coffee around, which means that while it may be super easy to brew, the resulting coffee will never taste fantastic. Even though the coffee is on the low end of coffee quality, the price per pod can be prohibitive, costing an average of $35 – $55 per pound.
Another setback to these brewers is the plastic pods used for brewing, which cannot be recycled. There are reusable pods where you can put your own ground coffee, but the brewer's quality also negatively impacts coffee flavor. Over time, this accumulates catastrophic waste in landfills and will take millions of years to degrade. Let’s consider an excellent option for a batch brewer and grinder combo.
The Ratio Six is compact, attractive, and easy to use—you can brew a full or half pot of coffee at the touch of a button! Inspired by the Techivorm Moccamaster, the Ratio Six aims to brew a cup of coffee at a consistent temperature (to Speciality Coffee Association standards) each time you brew. The die-cast metal shower head even performs a bloom cycle before the full brew cycle, gently agitating the coffee grounds like you were making a pour-over. One of the most significant issues with consumer coffee makers is that they use weak heating elements and cannot consistently brew coffee to extract flavor throughout brewing. This machine includes a 1,400-watt heating element that is more than sufficient to get the water hot enough for optimal extraction, uses BPA-free plastic components, and we love the thermal carafe, which keeps the coffee hot for a long time without needing to sit on a hot plate. Also, the Ratio Six is designed in Portland, Oregon, and covers all five-year warranty work.
Now that you have chosen a better coffee maker, the grinder and the coffee grinder you’re using will impact the flavor of your coffee the most. We can suggest many grinder options here, such as the Baratza Encore or Virtuoso. Still, the Fellow Ode ticks all of the boxes regarding reliability, user-friendliness, and overall grind quality. Internally the Ode boasts massive, 64mm stainless steel flat burrs, which are nearly identical to what you might find inside of a large commercial grinder. Those hearty burrs will reduce your grind time and lessen the heat and friction on the grounds, resulting in remarkable and delicious clarity inside the cup.
What’s a Good Starting Recipe?
At Clive Coffee HQ, we generally brew 60-80g of coffee per liter of water. This ranges because we often change coffees.
Step 2—Weigh 60g of coffee and grind at a medium-coarse setting. Put the coffee in the filter and shake from side to side to ensure an even coffee bed.
Step 3—Press the brew button to brew.
Step 4—Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!
Brewing Espresso in the Office
Brewing for espresso in the office setting is more difficult because the best options require a standalone grinder and using a few different accessories to make it a worthwhile experience. Only some people in the office will be interested in the amount of effort that goes into producing good espresso. Still, the equipment we suggest below will make producing cafe-quality lattes in the office a breeze and a welcome luxury. Once again, we’re avoiding consumer-based machines like superautomatic machines that prize convenience over coffee quality and end up being money pits in the long run and, eventually, landfill machines.’
LUCCA A53 Mini & Direct Plumb
The LUCCA A53 comes in two options. The Mini version is reservoir only, meaning that when the machine runs low on water, you just need to re-fill the front loading reservoir, making it more mobile and versatile in where you can put it. On the other hand, the LUCCA DP connects to a hard water line, which gives you access to water on demand and a smoother and quieter pump. No filling a reservoir. Beyond the water source and pump style, the LUCCA A53 shares many features that make it tailor-made for office life.
The LUCCA A53 series is the perfect machine for multiple users because it has volumetric dosing, allowing delicious shots at the touch of a button. This programable feature works via a flow meter, which essentially uses rotations to count the amount of water flowing through the group head correlated to volume. Volumetric dosing allows repeatable results within an acceptable window, shot-to-shot, allowing your shots to extract and stop automatically at the set volume. If your shots get too out of spec, these settings can be reprogrammed on the fly. For milk or alternative milk-based coffee drinkers, the A53 has commercial steam power and can steam many drinks back to back, perfect for those who get morning caffeine jitters.
It is important to remember that to keep those espresso shots tasting great, you’ll need an espresso-focused grinder to go along with it.
The Eurkea Zenith and the LUCCA A53 are simpatico. We often suggest the Zenith to go with the A53 for offices because they’re built well, are properly ventilated, can produce consistent results, and are easy to clean and adjust on the fly. The best part about the Zenith is its infinite adjustment dial, allowing fine-tuning to be simple and allowing you to make small adjustments to get your espresso tasting fantastic. The most important thing about brewing espresso is that you’re grinding fresh beans each time, which helps guarantee the best possible experience. We recommend purchasing beans with a roast date, not a best-by date, and brewing coffee within a month of the roast date for the best results.
Clive’s Guide to Perfect Espresso
We mentioned earlier that leveling up to making espresso is a bit more difficult than brewing a pot of coffee. Yet, it doesn't have to be! Just like any great dish, making espresso starts with a recipe, and grounding yourself within a few basic parameters will help set you up for success and make it easier to nail that perfect extraction in no time.