When it comes to office coffee, the simple ways are still the best.
It is very difficult to replicate café-style coffee with a domestic coffee machine, and automated espresso machines rarely release the full flavour of the coffee bean. All is not lost, though. You can still have sublime coffee in the office.
This week, I’ll be sharing my top 3 ways to have coffee in the office and, get this, none of them involve a machine, steaming wand or any fancy gadgetry. There isn’t a capsule in sight!
The French Press, or Cafetiere, has been around in some form since 1929 and, if brewed correctly, is still one of the best and most simple ways to enjoy coffee at home or at work. All you need is a kettle and some ground coffee.
Here is how to do it to get the optimum flavour from your cafetiere:
Step 1: Preheat the cafetiere vessel by swishing some boiling water around inside it.
Step 2: Empty the water out. If you are grinding your own coffee, you’ll need around 17g for every 200ml of water, coarsely ground. If you don’t have a grinder, you can buy coffee ground especially for a cafetiere in most supermarkets and coffee shops.
Step 3: Add water just off the boil to your cafetiere, deposit the coffee on top and agitate.
Step 4: Leave to ‘bloom’ for 1 minute, then place the filter press on top of the coffee, and push lightly down until the filter is sitting just below the surface. This will incorporate the ‘bloom’ into the flavor of the final brew.
Step 5: After 4 minutes, push the plunger slowly, all the way down. Depending on how strong you like your coffee, you can leave to brew for more or less time.
Step 6: Serve. Be sure not to pour out the last bit of the brew, as that will contain the dregs of the ground coffee, and will compromise the flavor and texture.
Do you have a gas stove in the office? If you do, a Moka pot, or stovetop, could be the best option for you. It produces a beautifully-rich, full flavoured espresso-like drink that tastes great with a little milk.
The Moka pot, or Stovetop, produces coffee by pushing pressurised water by steam through ground coffee. Whatever anyone tells you, a Moka pot DOES NOT produce espresso, but rather a similar product under much less pressure. It utilises basic principles of coffee extraction that were adapted and compounded to build the espresso machine later on.
First patented in 1933, the Moka pot has become iconic in design, and makes a nice feature in any office or kitchen – as well as making damn good coffee! You’ll hear a lot of conflicting opinions about the correct way to brew a stovetop. Here is the best way in my opinion:
Step 1: Bring water to the boil, and then set aside to rest. Ideally you want the water to be at around 93°C when you pour it into the chamber.
NOTE: You’ll see a lot of people putting cold water in the lower chamber of a stovetop. I don’t recommend this. In the time it takes to heat water from cold in a stovetop to brewing temperature, the coffee will have stewed, ruining the flavour – always use heated water.
Step 2: Grind enough coffee to fill the Moka basket. Your coffee should be ground reasonably fine, at a similar consistency to table salt.
Step 3: Add the water to the bottom chamber, to a level just below the pressure valve.
Step 4: Place the basket on top and add the coffee. Spread evenly but DO NOT TAMP. Like I said before, the Moka is not an espresso machine, and tamping will create too much pressure to effectively brew your coffee. Remove any excess grounds from around the rim that may compromise the seal.
Step 5: Screw the Moka pot together, and place on a moderate heat with the lid open.
Step 6: Once the coffee begins to run out of the holes into the top chamber, reduce the heat, and close the lid. Allow to brew until you start to hear a gargling sound. Turn off the heat.
Step 7: Run the lower chamber under cold water immediately to stop the extraction.
Step 8: Enjoy short or over some hot water as a long black.
Unlike the cafetiere and Moka pot, the Aeropress is a relatively new phenomenon. Invented in 2005, it is a fast, convenient and simple way to brew excellent coffee in the office. It’s lightweight, streamlined design makes it perfect for camping or slipping into your workbag to be used at home and work.
Here is the recommended technique for brewing coffee with an Aeropress. You’ll need a countdown timer to hand for this one:
Step 1: Grind 17g of coffee to the fineness of table salt.
Step 2: Place the plunger upside down in the outer tube with the rubber black part at the number 4 level.
Step 3: Rinse the filter and preheat the brewing tube. Add your coffee to the inverted brewing tube.
Step 4: Set your timer to 1 minute, start the timer and pour water around 30 seconds off the boil slowly over the coffee to the top of level 3. Stir thoroughly.
Step 5: Add more water, enough to bring the level above number 2. Place the filter on top of the tube and screw on tightly.
Step 6: Once the one minute is up, tip the Aeropress to 45 degrees and spin for a few seconds.
Step 7: Flip the brewer right way up, and place on top of your cup. Plunge with a steady and gentle pressure, stopping as soon as you hear a hissing sound.
Step 8: I recommend diluting the brew with hot water to taste. Start with 50/50 mix, but adjust as you need.
For a little inspiration, I recommend watching this video, Aeropress: A Coffee Ritual – it’s a work of art!
There you have it – 3 simple ways to enjoy sublime, fresh coffee in the office without a machine in sight! As long as your coffee is fresh and you stick to correct brewing techniques and temperatures, you’ll never need any other method of brewing coffee in the office!
Why not experiment this week with a new and simple way to take your office coffee?
I’d love to hear about your experiences with cafetieres, Moka pots and Aeropress. Write to me in the comments section below, or even better, send me photos or videos of your early attempts! Tweet them @GreenerMediaUK using the hashtag #betterofficecoffee.
Next week, I’ll be looking into which industry drinks the most coffee. If our fellow media professionals are anything like us, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that our industry will rank pretty highly…!