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Advice for Making a Good Single Cup of Coffee in the Office

After following a few threads in The Café, I've taken a greater interest in the coffee that I drink. I bought a Brew & Save and some fresh beans, so that I can at least get some fresh coffee from my Kuerig at home for the drive to work each morning (hey, it's a start!).

However, coffee at the office is another story. We only have Kuerig machines here and they're the type that "swallow" the k-cups, so I can't seem to use the re-usable cups. Also, we don't have garbage disposals in the sinks, so I can't put coffee grounds down there. This makes French Press a real pain, since cleaning up a French Press when you can't simply rinse everything down the sink seems to be pretty difficult.

So, I was wondering if any of you guys had any thoughts on how to go about making a decent single cup of coffee at the office. I was starting to look at pour-over set-ups, but wasn't really sure where to start or if they were even the right way to go. I figured you guys would happily weigh in (I mean, I've already come to this site for advice on backpacks, washing machines, etc.)! Anyway, any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated!
 
Hey David,

This is even another rabbit hole.

I faced the same problem when I travel and didn't want to have to pack a lot. I stumbled on these little portable/disposable pour over items at Sweet Maria's. They work great and you don't need to rinse or wash anything. Just toss them into the trash/recycling/compost...whatever is there at work.

https://www.sweetmarias.com/store/b...alita-kantan-one-cup-drippers-pack-of-30.html

The only other thing is what do you do about a grinder at work. I can recommend the Hario Skerton as a good inexpensive solution.
 
A couple of different companies made small hand-powered espresso machines that are perfect for the office ... Google "handpresso" for one of them. They can use either ground coffee or espresso pods; some of them are hand-powered and others generate the needed pressure using nitrogen cartridges. They really work surprisingly well.
 
I have been using a Breville for years that uses the K-cups. I guess for me I would just use regular k-cups at work, they have so many varieties and are very good. Using a refillable filter like one in pic below with your own coffee never has quite measure up to an actual k-cup.

I do have one idea for you though and that is to bring a #4 cone filter, place it in a cup and add your coffee to it leaving in the existing k-cup if there is one, something I do a lot with my favorite k-cups as they can not be reused other than in this fashion.

$WP_20150206_001.jpg

make sure you choose a #4 cone vs a #2 cone as it is too small, then just throw away the filter in trash with grinds and none down the drain. I am a mad lover of k-cups and strong coffee, my wife uses the green refillable filter in pic.
 
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I use one of these about 80% of the time. I initially got one for traveling and IME it is the best "Americano" style coffee brewing method. Better than any drip coffee maker (from Zojurushis to Osters), fancy french presses, Chemix ... you name it.
You bring the cone, some filters (it works better with properly folded regular filters) and your preferred ground beans and you only need access to boiling water.

Note on the side: I don't think sink garbage disposals do much to coffee grounds from the french press. Just saying.
 
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I've used Aeropress and the Clever Coffee Dripper at work in the past. With the Clever you can lift and dump the damp filter into the trash and with the Aeropress, you can pop out the coffee puck and filter into the trash. If you want coffee with more mouthfeel, you can use a metal filter on the Aeropress and slide it off the puck before cleaning which usually leaves very little coffee on the filter so cleanup is not bad.

Both of these brew methods are pretty forgiving and don't require a special pouring kettle, the Clever will allow you to use more coffee to make a larger batch (brew up to 450 ml for a 400 ml net). I have some of the Kalita Kantan disposable drippers and they'd be great for camping or travel but require a careful pour, best with a pouring kettle, to avoid overflowing.
 
Note on the side: I don't think sink garbage disposals do much to coffee grounds from the french press. Just saying.
I should have been more clear. It's not that we don't have a disposal. It's that, instead, we have this bucket contraption thing underneath the sink that, I guess, is supposed to catch solids so they don't go down the pipes (seriously, I have no freakin' idea what I'm talkin' about here). Anyway, if anyone puts anything non-liquid down the drain, the stupid thing clogs up and the whole office stinks for days.

By the way, thanks for all of the great tips so far!
 
I use an AeroPress everyday at work, probably going on 3 years now. Just pop the grounds into the trash and Bob's your uncle.
 
What about Illy Pods.

A little unorthodox but if you have access to boiling water, drop one in the bottom of your cup and add water. Use it like a tea bag.

Hey what do I know?!?!?!?

 
The Aeropress gets my vote. The pros use them in Barista competitions.

Am I missing something, I thought where the OP worked they had a Kuerig in Office, why not just use k-cups, I thought OP was too cheap to use k-cups and all these alternatives seem to be much higher.
 
Am I missing something, I thought where the OP worked they had a Kuerig in Office, why not just use k-cups, I thought OP was too cheap to use k-cups and all these alternatives seem to be much higher.
I think it's the realization that the coffee you get from a disposable k-cup kind of sucks.
 
Am I missing something, I thought where the OP worked they had a Kuerig in Office, why not just use k-cups, I thought OP was too cheap to use k-cups and all these alternatives seem to be much higher.
It's not that I'm "too cheap to use k-cups", I'm just looking for a better cup of coffee.
 

gearchow

Moderator Emeritus
I use a clever coffee dripper now. There is a microwave at work, I heat water up in that. I grind enough coffee for a couple of days at home and bring it in a sealed jar. It's not optimum, but that's why they call it work.

-jim
 
I'd vote aeropress as well, and have used it at work and on the road for years. The puck goes in the trash and s-filter, residual rinse goes in the sink. Never saw coffee grounds be an issue in pipes.
 
Have you tried some of the botique roasters who do Kcups? Peets Coffee puts their Major Dickinson's in Kcups. Not bad.
 
Good suggestions have already been given. My first thoughts were to consider Melita plastic pour-over (cheap), Clever dripper (easier to use), Aeropress (easy to dispose of dry puck in trash). Which one would partly depend on how easy it is to get hot water and office dynamics.

If you like French Press, have access to hot water, and only want to make a single mug of coffee and not multiple single cups throughout the day then the Impress brewer could be an option. The metal wall makes it stealthy option, so that looks like you are bringing in brewed coffee from the outside (much like a thermos), rather than in-your-face brewing that fellow coworkers are more likely to comment on. You might be able to get a satisfying cup by pre-grinding beans at home and then brewing in the office hours later, then dispose the grounds after going back home at the end of the work day. The grounds left in the bottom of the Impress are sloppy wet, something that you could probably dump into a plastic bag lined trash can while at work to do multiple brews, but a rinse of a few remaining grinds is still needed, since it will not produce a dry puck like the Areopress.
 
A Melitta or Clever Dripper are your best bets. They are easy to use and clean. When your coffee is done brewing throw the paper filter and grounds in the trash or green bin and rinse the cone and go enjoy your brew.
 
A Melitta or Clever Dripper are your best bets. They are easy to use and clean. When your coffee is done brewing throw the paper filter and grounds in the trash or green bin and rinse the cone and go enjoy your brew.
I agree with this and am adding explanation to my first post here.

It may have looked odd but I thought a picture is worth a thousand words. In it I have a #4 cone filter that one would use in a Melitta filter holder over cup BUT due to the limits of room under a Keurig/Breville/single cup brewer, there is not enough room to place a Melitts on top of a cup however when placing filter alone in cup, it fits nicely and when I run the water through my Breville, I then remove cup from Brewer and slide the Melitta in between filter and cup to allow to finish draining/dripping into cup.


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$WP_20150208_001.jpg

The reason I use a #4 cone filter is there is plenty of room and is easy to put in as much coffee as liked, a #2 cone filter is too small and makes for a mess IMO BUT I still find K-cups to be the best all around for a single cup brewer.
 
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