Why Does Office Coffee Suck?

Oh man, let me count the ways.

Whenever you’ve had a full time job over the years, you can almost guarantee that the office you spend most of your time in has some sort of putrid blend of coffee-like crap on offer to keep the natives from getting too restless. Usually the mix varies somewhere between molten tarmac and three-day-old coffee grounds in taste and texture, the temperature of the beverage is somewhere just above freezing, and the cups are always just a little too close to dirty.

Yet, we continue to drink the stuff. In fact, we suck it down by the gallon. But why? And why is it so damn awful?

The lack of quality on office coffee can come down to several factors, but none is more important than the guy or girl making the cup. Chances are that Phil in Accounting isn’t a barista in his spare time, so when he heaps in a big spoonful of instant coffee powder into the percolator, throws in some old rusty water and uses a two-day-old filter to sift through the resulting sludge, he’s not exactly doing you any favors. Phil has the best of intentions – he just wants a coffee – but when he cracks open the lid on that two gallon, Office Depot-brand instant coffee drum, he’s on a road to tastelessness.

The first thing you need to do to cure the office sludge dilemma is bring in a better option. Okay, maybe you shouldn’t HAVE to buy your own coffee, but if you’re going to convince the office that it’s worth investing in real coffee, you might have to spend a little cash first and show them what they’re missing.

A 39oz. drum of Maxwell House Coffee runs about $12 at Office Depot, and Folgers is about a buck cheaper, which makes them about half as expensive as the better Lavazza brand (8.8oz for $4.99). Meanwhile, the really good stuff, such as Illy Café, comes in 8.8oz cans that retail for as the same price as the 39oz bulk-sized Maxwell House option.

So how can you convince your boss to go gourmet? Simply follow our plan:

1: Buy the office a can of good coffee. Don’t make a big deal out of it, just buy the coffee, leave it out and wait for the reaction.

2: Wait for the coffee to run out. As soon as your officemates have had a week on the good stuff, going back to the bulk option will be unthinkable.

3: It might also help if you keep an eye on the percolator, ensuring that the filters are fresh and the pot isn’t sitting all day without a refresh.

Getting your boss to pay for good coffee requires you to spend a week running your PR campaign like a military machine. You need it to be a week of the greatest coffee your workmates have ever imagined, without any politicking, and by the end of the week, the gourmet caffeine fix will be yours. Guaranteed.


  1. When it was my boss’ turn to buy the coffee, he would buy GENERIC. When it was my turn (that’s the way we do it… just him and me in the office) I would buy a high quality brand. Now, he buys a high quality brand. You have to expose them to the good stuff!
    Interesting story: My Church has a member who is a Chaplain in Afghanistan, and we asked him what he needs, and he said “GOOD COFFEE!” So each Church member brought a pound of gourmet coffee, and sent it all to him. Soldiers were willing to hear preaching… just to get some good coffee.
    Hey……. it worked!

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