I've written about office coffee in the past, but this column supersedes that one, because I've learned a lot since then.
One thing I've learned is that drinking coffee actually makes you smarter.
Confession time: I'm a total coffee snob. I buy coffee beans like some people buy fine wines. I didn't start out that way, though.
Like most folks, I started drinking coffee at work. I hated it at first but since where I worked it was the either the coffee or Los Angeles tap water, so I choose coffee.
Even back then I knew it was lousy coffee but I covered up the wretched with four sugar packages and a couple of fake cream packets.
Eventually I trained myself to take it black (mostly to avoid the extra calories), but I still found myself wolfing it down.
When I started working for myself, I switched over to (I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this), coffee bags... those little tea-bag like things.
I soon got a coffee machine (a lot like the ones where I used to work) and started buying packaged coffee, usually with some kind of flavor.
Anyway, I ended up rereading a science fiction novel where one character was a coffee aficionado and, thus inspired, started researching what makes good coffee.
I discovered that coffee, when properly prepared, is a naturally sweet beverage. The bitterness of coffee is the result of making it badly.
The primary reason that office coffee tastes bad is the coffee machine isn't cleaned properly. It accumulates tar, which ends up going into every subsequent cup.
The other reason office coffee tasted bad is that it's made from cheap coffee that's ground up and exposed to the air, which makes the coffee go bad.
Once I learned this, I started making coffee using the Chemex system, which was invented by a chemist specifically to make coffee retain its natural flavor.
I also started buying the best coffee beans I could find from a place that roasts them on premise. I never ground more coffee that I can use at one time.
As an unintended consequence of learning how to make good coffee, I realized that not only is office coffee bad, but most restaurant coffee is pretty bad, too.
Personally, I think that the reason people make all those fancy orders at Starbucks is because the raw coffee they serve is average, at best.
Like I said, I'm a coffee snob.
Anyway, I was perfectly happy with the Chemex until the other day I went to buy filters at my local coffee store and they were out.
Ordering from Amazon would have taken a couple of days, so on the recommendation of the barista, I bought an Aeropress.
Now, I have a French press that I use occasionally, but the coffee it makes has a layer of sludge at the bottom and it tastes, well, like restaurant coffee.
The Aeropress is different. I don't exactly know why it works so well (I haven't checked out their website... maybe they explain), but wow!
The Aeropress makes Expresso by default which I turn into American coffee by adding additional hot water.
The results, IMHO, are spectacularly good. Totally not bitter but with all the taste of the specific beans coming through.
I was so impressed I made the following fairly cheesy video as a public service for people who are sick of lousy coffee at the office.
Just to be clear, I have no association whatsoever with whoever makes the Aeropress; I bought it on a whim.
I view publicizing it as something of a public service. Here's my video: