Office Survival Tip: Always have a backup source of coffee

9 Nov

I will preface this tip by stating that office coffee is truly the dregs of the dregs. I believe this is due to the fact that office coffee grounds are always some kind of mystery off-brand. The name usually sounds vaguely promising (something along the lines of gold medals, or cafés, or refers to some grandmotherly sounding lady), but ends up tasting like battery acid.  I have no idea where the stuff comes from. You can’t buy office coffee in stores. I know. I’ve searched before out of curiosity for how much the god-awful stuff actually costs. I have a theory that office coffee is actually made from used grounds from McDonalds that have been dried out and repackaged, but I haven’t been able to substantiate it yet.

Despite its awfulness, we all drink office coffee, many of us in mass quantities. Once you get past the gag-inducing taste, the stuff works just as well as normal coffee* caffeine-wise, and quickly becomes ingrained into our daily office routine, along with checking the Google Hot Trends and tearing off yesterday’s date on our Dilbert desk calendar.

In fact, office coffee has become so ingrained in cubicle culture that any disruption in its delivery can send ripples of panic through its dependents. This is why you need an emergency plan, kind of similar to the fire escape routes you’re supposed to plan with your family, only more applicable to your immediate health. The location of your backup coffee isn’t important (the 3rd floor kitchenette, the convenience store across the street, the Starbucks 10 miles away, etc.), you just need to have a plan of action written out BEFORE the crises occurs. Don’t wait until you’re out of coffee to form a plan. By then your body is already deprived of caffeine’s emotional buoyancy effect and you will quickly become overwhelmed by tiredness, foggy-headedness, and a growing sense of irritation at anything around you with a pulse. Upon entering this state you are completely incapacitated by your own crabbiness and unable to employ sound judgment, so it’s best to plan ahead.

I believe the 7 P’s say it adequately, if not with excessive alliteration:  Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance

*Note: I know “normal coffee” can cover a broad spectrum according to who you ask. Personally, Folgers does me just fine (or if I’m feeling snazzy Folgers  Gourmet Selections), but I know for some of you “normal” equates to a venti double-shot hazelnut latté with soy milk, or for some reason Dunkin Donuts. I really don’t understand you Dunkin Donuts people.

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16 Responses to “Office Survival Tip: Always have a backup source of coffee”

  1. FC Wanner November 9, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Us Dunkin Donuts people are usually older and pre date the ‘gourmet’ coffees that are such the rage. We want our coffee, hot, strong and now. Maxwell House, high test, is our back up plan. It is never more than ten feet away.

  2. sharkables November 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Maybe its just the lack of control over the fixin’s that drives me nuts. I just cant hand my coffee over to the Dunkin Cashier and blindly trust her to provide me my perfect ratio of milk::sweetener::coffee…

    • FC Wanner November 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

      I should have mentioned, black coffee is the only coffee. No opportunity for screw up by staff (MWDSLs)

  3. lams21075 November 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    I have been known to forego coffee for Diet Coke in the office, especially if I did not get here in time and someone has put a half pound of grounds in the filter to make a 10 cup pot. Folgers is my preference, and since I am the one who has to schlep to the big box store to purchase the coffee supplies, that’s what they are forced to drink around here.

    At home, there is fresh Starbucks in the percolator every morning. Occasionally, I feel so inclined as to take some with me in a travel mug. My significant other takes some for the road, then promptly stops at Starbucks to refill his cup. Yeah, that makes sense because you know, they use “special” water there and it tastes different.

    • sharkables November 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      Makes sense. After all, Starbucks coffee has a unique burnt tree bark aftertaste that is kind of disgusting, but comfortingly starbucks-esque.

  4. Bbbbrennan November 11, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    Haha. I like it. I keep a cup in drawer just in case the coffee machine runs out of crappy paper cups.

    • sharkables November 12, 2011 at 6:57 am #

      Mmm that’s pretty crucial as well. I gave up the paper cup idea and just brought in a mug a few year ago, but now I have to deal with that whole “washing” thing before I drink my morning cup.

  5. lifeshighwaygame November 12, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    I gave up washing for swishing the cup in the sink. Swishing counts, right?

    • Fred Wanner November 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      Of course ‘swishing’ counts, so does rinsing. Washing will ruin a good coffee mug.

  6. Jean November 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    We picked up a Keurig KCup Vending Machine for our office. I highly recommend people mentioning the idea to their office manager if you are stuck with generic coffee grounds. We used to do Starbucks in the coffee pot, but cleaning the pot was always a bother, and the employees still opted to go across the street to Starbucks because ours wasn’t fresh. With the KCup Vending Machine, employees have their coffee in 30 seconds, and are not late coming back from Starbucks! We also SAVE money because we are better able to focus on cost control.
    http://kcupvending.com/

    • sharkables November 18, 2011 at 7:06 am #

      Oh wow, thanks Jean. Your comment both includes a valid suggestion and is not overtly dripping with sarcasm. I think we should all give Jean a subdued golf-clap or slight tilt-of-the-haed for that.

      • Lifes Highway (@lifeshighway) November 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

        I have problems with a suggestion that would take away valuable goof-off time like watching the coffee drip.

        Also… bad form if you pull out the pot and stick your cup under the drip. You are not fooling anyone with your productivity.

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