Are you the Office Barista?


Coffee at the desk v2It’s a common term these days but we probably hadn’t even heard of a Barista five years ago. Now coffee making is a serious business and every high street is full of different coffee shops, each with the ability to create a clever pattern in the milk froth. It’s actually 17 years since Starbucks opened their first shop in the UK and although it’s taken us a while to catch on, for many people a latte on the way to work is now part of the daily routine. It’s such big business that every year we spend £6.8 billion on takeaway coffee. That means the average coffee buyer will spend nearly £400 per year.

But does our love affair with coffee extend to the workplace too? Perhaps you’re no longer content to drink the sludge from the vending machine or a quick cup of instant delivered in a chipped mug? Maybe you see it as your mission to deliver the perfect cup of coffee to your workmates…

Coffee making for the connoisseur

So just what does it take to produce the perfect cup of coffee? Here are the six most important rules - but keep them to yourself if you want to secure your place as the king or queen of coffee making:

Rule 1. Buy fresh beans

Coffee is at its peak when freshly roasted. So buying from a local roaster or roasting your own is the best way to ensure the absolute freshest beans. Once you’ve bought the beans, ensure they’re stored in an airtight container, ideally at room temperature. Glass or ceramic jars with rubber seals are a good choice. It’s not a good idea to keep them in the fridge. Roasted beans are porous so will take on moisture and odours from other foods.

Rule 2. Choose good coffee

Like wine buffs, there’s a certain snobbery amongst coffee drinkers. There’s a huge choice out there and you could experiment forever with coffee from different countries, regions or estates. A general rule of thumb is that 100% pure Arabica beans are the best. Cheaper alternatives tend to contain Robusta beans – whilst high in caffeine they’re known to have a much harsher flavour.

Rule 3. Grind your own

For the best brew, don’t grind your beans until you’re ready to use them, as they’ll start losing quality straight away. Expensive burr mills are the crème de la crème of grinders but cheaper electric ‘whirly blade’ grinders will do a decent job. Basically, the finer the particle, the better the taste.

Rule 4. Use good water

Yes really! If you use highly chlorinated tap water or softened/distilled water, you can end up with awful coffee. Aficionados use bottled spring water as the minerals help create a richer flavour.

Rule 5. Beware the heat

heat warning sign v2The correct water temperature for brewing the perfect coffee is 200° F, or about 45 seconds off a full boil. If it’s hotter than that, you’ll extract compounds that are bitter rather than pleasant. No matter how good the coffee, if it’s reheated, boiled or kept on a warming plate it will never taste good.

Rule 6. Keep everything clean

Coffee beans contain oils so make sure you clean your storage containers and grinders regularly to prevent any buildup. You can also run a specialist cleaner or a strong solution of vinegar through your coffee maker every month to dissolve any mineral deposits and keep everything clean and fresh.

Our local roaster

Our favourite coffee comes from the very wonderful people at Clifton Coffee Roasters. Although they set up the company in 2001, they only started roasting their own coffee beans a couple of years ago. Today, they produce a range of seasonal espresso blends as well as rotating single origin coffees that can now be found in some of the UK’s finest coffee bars, restaurants, cafes & hotels from Cornwall to Glasgow. You can find out more about them and their coffee here.

Ed Buston, Director, says he thinks the company’s success is down to offering their customers the complete package. He says: ‘the fact that we roast our coffees and really passionately focus on that, but then we also deliver our coffees and look after our customers in terms of training, making sure their equipment is calibrated properly and that their staff are making it properly. There’s no point in having great coffee beans if you can’t turn out a great drink. That’s the kind of knowledge we want to pass on to our customers’.

It’s good for you

So should we even be drinking coffee at work or is it a bad habit we should try to avoid? Recent studies have shown that coffee can actually be really beneficial to our health. Here’s why. It’s an excellent source of antioxidants so can help combat cancer and liver disease, it’s good for your heart (two to four cups a day can lower your risk of heart disease) and coffee has been shown to boost the memory and reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Put the kettle on

So what are you waiting for? Put the pouring coffee v2kettle on and make your colleagues a seriously good cup of coffee. By the way, if you’re looking for a great new coffee table, take a look at our range of office furniture, storage and accessories or call us on 0800 092 1985 and one of our team will be happy to help you.



Posted by Paul Randall
26th October 2015