Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Office Coffee

Must it always be so?

Must mass-brewed office coffee, simmering in the same brown-stained bulbous pot, always be bad? Is it the little pre-measured foil packets of stale grounds? Is it the never-been-cleaned, circa 1967, industrial-sized strainer? Is it the crunchy rusty water that gets fed into the strainer?

I don't know.

What I do know is that office coffee almost universally tastes like dirty socks. And no, before some smart ass asks in the comments, I have not actually ever tasted dirty socks. Dirty underwear yes, but they weren't mine.

I digress...

I live in a cold place where it rains a lot. I blog at night, which leads to poor sleeping habits. My job has its tedious side. All of these things add up to one plain fact: Caffeine addiction.

I drink many many many cups of coffee throughout the day. The Starbucks solution, therefore, becomes time and cost prohibitive. Although, I do so enjoy meandering among the coffee snobs and pretentious prats who rattle off orders of the most obnoxious concoctions. My Starbucks order is simple: "Medium coffee."

Inevitably, the wickedly hip barrista, with the simply-scrunchied-been-up-all-night-having-rodeo-sex-and-didn't-have-time-to shower-this-morning hairdo, will ask: "room for cream?"


"extra bold Kuala Lumpur Eco Terrorist Blend, or Guatemalan Sissy Boy Mild?"

"I don't care."

I enjoy watching the sneer...

Anyway, one anonymous friend has found a solution. She brews good coffee herself and defends the decanter at her desk. Coffee-craving co-workers of hers, who contribute to the coffee fund, get to consume the premium Joe. Great idea. However, I am too lazy for this approach.

So, that means marching, time and again, to the break room to face yet another demoralizing cup of crappy coffee.

This morning, however, (well, yesterday morning by the time you read this.) I received a special treat. Mrs. Gin&Tonic, as some of you know, recently moved her cubicle from Salem to Portland. Before she left, though, she stocked up on magic beans from the best independent coffee house in all of the Pacific Northwest. (Yes, you secret Seattle readers, I'm taunting you!)

I'm talking about the Governor's Cup, in Salem, Oregon. Yes, I know, you are saying to yourself, "Can anything good come from Salem?" Well, yes. It has damn-good coffee, and we have some of its beans!

As I bundled up the monkey and grabbed my gear, I noticed the coffee pot waiting for me on the tall table with one of our auto-electro-gizmo heated travel mugs sitting next to it. The missus had made an early-morning pot of the Governor's Cup Coffee, and there was enough left for my commute. It was some of the best coffee I've had in a very long time.

Thanks Mrs. G&T!

Reading for comprehension:
1. What is your favorite coffee place?
2. What is your regular order?
3. Room for cream?


  1. mrs. inog6:54 AM

    Salem isn't that far away from you. I hear rumors of the keg being replaced. You know inog doesn't need much of an excuse to throw a crime scene on the grill. There is lots of football on this time of year. All leads up to ROADTRIP to Salem, restock the beans, and revitalize at inog's.

  2. the other anonymous8:38 AM

    You poor uninformed sop.

    Stumptown Coffee Roasters

    Not to ruin the surprise, but I can already tell you that you are getting a French press and a pound of Stumptown for your birthday and Christmas, respectively (though I can't remember which one is first for you so you might just get it in October). Given your penchant for fine scotch and good BBQ, your tastebuds will thank me.

  3. 2 words: Manual drip.

    1 thermal carafe, 1 filter cone holder, 1 coffee grinder... Pour a quart of almost boiling water over your freshly ground beans in the filter cone holder positioned right over the carafe. Screw on lid and go to work. Best. Coffee. Ever.

    1. I hate Starbucks. I think they are a symbol of everything that is wrong with coffee and by extension- the world. lol My favorite coffee is Bucks County Coffee. You have to order it online, though. They ship very quickly. I like to buy the highly rated coffees on coffeereview.com as well.

    2. That being said about Starbucks, on one of the rare occasions I find myself forced to go there out of desperation, my order is the same as yours: Medium (or Grande, in ultra-yuppie lingo) Coffee.

    3. Lots of room for cream. :)

    Where is the nearest Dunkin Donuts down there? Tigard?

  4. Growing out of my mtn dew days of college, I tried doing the coffee thing. It makes me tremble noticably. Dont try going after someone with a needle if your hands are shaking. So I did red bull for a while which made me hyper and chatty. Any other suggestions?

  5. There is a great little cafe in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) that I like that has the best coffee.

    They roast it with added coffee butter so it is extra rich.

    I am out of beans, so I should probably go back soon and get some.

  6. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Starbucks didn't use to be "Starbucks." Many moons ago, it was just a strange little coffee shop in Pike's Place market in Seattle. We could wear anything we pleased. We could play any music that struck our fancy. We could do our own product displays without having to follow some corporate dictate. Spoonman played outside our front door. (Yes, "that" spoonman). Tourists came in and had no idea what "expresso" or "laatees" were. We could name the coffee samples in blind tastings. We partied until 3 a.m., then opend the store at 6 a.m. Howard Schultz, Mr. Big Man himself, used to come in during Christmas rush because we didn't have enough employees to cover the shifts. And we actually cared about the coffee and keeping it about coffee, not flavorings or gimmicks. Thosere were the days.

    Now husband orders our beans from Espresso Vivace in Seattle. Husband makes espresso at home. Yes, it's a pump machine, not some "Espresso machine" that you'd pick up at your local Walmart. Coffee snob, damn proud of it. Tall double latte. No, I don't want flavorings with that.

  7. I dont like coffee, it makes me faint - got any tea?

  8. Allie, I seem to live in a strange non-doughnut vortex. I love doughnuts, but there is nary a doughnut shop to be found between work and home.

    Carl: last night, I almost made my first Reading for Comprehension question: "Carl will surely say that some southeast Asian country has the best coffee. Which country will he name?"

    Thanks for fulfilling that prophecy.

  9. Leah, posting as anonymous only works if you don't actually identify yourself through the text of your comment.

    Nice try though.

  10. The green tea frapachino is pretty damn good. Thats my only contribution to starbucks.

  11. Ahhhh the Gov's Cup. They actually did make a fine cup of coffee. Though, most troubling, I remember that they had something of the devil's brew, that I think only Jason ordered - It was coffee that basically was rebrewed, like 10 times, so it was just on this side of toxic. It had so much caffeine in it it frightened the mug you put it in.

    And of course, he drank it by the carafe.

  12. I have no idea why my name didn't post with my post. Not trying to hide. We all know how I love to be the center of attention.

    Aw fuck it, I'm gonna take a nap under my desk.

  13. Mrs. G&T1:13 PM

    Stumptown is my coffee of choice when we're out of Governor's, but the Gov is a clear winner in a side-by-side taste test.

    And, for those of you who go to Starbucks (begrudgingly or otherwise), here's the friendly tip of the day. In celebration of their anniversary, they are using their original logo, which has the mermaids ta-ta's hanging out all over. If you are offended by that, your coffee is free. Now, I wonder whether any of the hedonistic Loungers can actually manage realistic offense of seeing boobies in order to stick it to Starbucks.

  14. My wife said, "Ta-tas." I'm so proud.

  15. Anonymous1:58 PM

    I'll only be offended if her ta-tas are bigger than mine.

  16. I get bottled water when I'm forced to go to Starbucks - does that mean there is something wrong with me? Can I bring back coffee from the east coast for anyone?

  17. 1. I really don't think there are any Lounger's who could pull off the "I'm offended by TaTa's" speech with a straight face. More likely - at the sight of said ta-ta's, the Lounger will reach into their pocket for additional dollar bills for the tip jar (out of habit).

    2. In the spirit of Inog - I am going to include in all my posts, references to cool places in Italy I have been. In fact, there was an awesome place for coffee outside the Piazza Santa Maria in Florence.

  18. You went to Italy? I thought you were Jewish.

  19. lawstudent10:51 PM

    My most memorable coffee experience was in Madrid. Velvety smooth, almost thick. Savored long after it was gone.

    Starbucks bought out Coffee People. At least I think I read that in some freak spare moment between torts and civil procedure.

  20. I just brought back a Sumatra blend for the fairies. Toasted by Fully City Coffee in Eugene, Oregon.

  21. Anonymous5:04 PM

    When stranded in Bumfuck, Iowa.. ( yes, I've been there, TWICE!)Starbucks is pretty damn close to orgasmic coffee. Otherwise you get coffee that makes your office pot taste like a beverage from the Gods. When you can't get yuppie Oregon or Washington coffee in the middle of the christian majority United States, be safe; Go for Starbucks, and enjoy every gulp. I, for one, am happy it's out there to rescue me from Boyd's Drip Restaurant Coffee, otherwise known as brown water.

    Want to see a great movie that has both coffee and Ta Ta's in it? The original "Bagdad Cafe"... not the pathetic television version... the real movie. It's all about transforming from Brown water to real Coffee!

  22. Don't have anything new to add, just wanted to know where I can pick up "extra bold Kuala Lumpur Eco Terrorist Blend." Sounds delicious!


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