No matter where you work, the coffee in the office break room or kitchen is probably bad. One of the best hacks you can learn on the job is how to make better office coffee, since what you're drinking is probably bitter, in part because you don't know how long it's been sitting there in the pot, and filled with coffee grounds or some other unidentified sludge. If you've ever wondered how to make office coffee taste better, you're not alone in your quest. Coffee aficionados around the world have been trying to game out the work-coffee challenge, to varying degrees of success.
But there are some very simple things you can do to make better office coffee and save your coworkers, and, more importantly, yourself, from drinking sludge ever again.
BYOM (Bring Your Own Milk)
In a perfect world, you'd be drinking better coffee, but if you don't have any say in how the coffee in your office gets brewed, try bringing your own milk. Change the things you can control, you know? A milk with higher fat content, like half-and-half, will help mask any bitterness from bad coffee. If you're on that dairy-free kick, try a high-fat non-dairy creamer with coconut cream.
Get a Mug Warmer
Perhaps the problem with your coffee is that it's getting too cold, too quickly, or you're not getting a mug until the office carafe is already cooled down a bit. You can remedy that by investing in a mug warmer for your desk. This gadget costs $10 and will keep your coffee hot for hours on end.
Make a Fresh Pot
Sure, this sounds like a no brainer, but one easy way to get better tasting coffee is to make a fresh pot. The longer coffee sits in the carafe, the more bitter it tastes—so if you coffee that tastes as good as possible, be the good Samaritan for your coworkers and brew a new batch.
Clean the Coffee Maker
Part of the reason office coffee tastes so gross is a tragedy of the commons. If everyone is making coffee, no one person is responsible for the coffee maker, which means that sometimes, your office coffee maker could be filled with mold. Yes, mold. It's disgusting and will absolutely change the taste of your brew. So if bad-tasting coffee is the norm, even after you make a fresh pot, try using vinegar to clean out your office coffee maker.
Fill the water reservoir with equal parts water and white vinegar, and "brew" the solution, according to Good Housekeeping. Stop the brew midway, and let it soak for 30 minutes so that all the nasty bits can come out. Finish brewing and then dump out the solution. Brew another pot of clean water to rinse, and then start making better tasting coffee in a hopefully mold-free coffee maker.
Make Your Own
It seems drastic, but desperate times sometimes for desperate measures. If you really can't stand the taste of office coffee, it might be time to bring your own brewer. A French press is the easiest deskside option for high-quality coffee—and it doesn't have to be too cumbersome on your undoubtedly already cluttered desk. This French press from Bodum, for example, makes just three cups. If you bring your own French press, you'll be in control of everything, from the strength of the coffee to the quality of the beans, so you'll have no one to blame for bad office coffee except for yourself.