Eight Tools That Make It Easy to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee or Tea at Work—Even at Your Desk!
For most of us, our morning cup of coffee or tea is very important. There are many people who can't face the day without first caffeinating at home, and there are just as many who stop by the same coffee shop each morning where the barista knows just what they will order. But even those who drink tea or coffee at home or during their commute may very well have a second or third cup once they arrive at the office—some people even wait to enjoy their first sips of caffeine once they're safely deposited at their desks. All of this is to say that we understand coffee and tea are important parts of any workday.
If the beverage options at your workplace include coffee made with freshly-ground beans, loose leaf teas, cold-brew on tap, or a barista waiting to craft a flat white for you, there's really no reason to keep reading. You already have access to just about any option you could want. The problem is that office offerings are rarely that extensive, and what is available is generally not the type or quality of tea or coffee you enjoy. If that's the case at your place of work, you may want to take matters into your own hands and make your own. That's where we come in: We found a selection of small-space brewing methods that'll help you master your morning drink.
Of course, in addition to the way you brew tea or coffee, what you brew is paramount. Taste in tea and coffee is very personal. For everyone who loves Japanese green tea, there is another who only drinks malty, robust Indian Assam. Similarly, there are coffee drinkers who adore bright, citrusy beans and those who flavors of caramel and dark chocolate in their coffee. For both tea and coffee, freshness is important. Most coffee connoisseurs advocate for freshly ground beans and storing them in an airtight container, while others assert the beans should be kept in the freezer. Tea is more easygoing, and that's true whether you prefer loose leaf teas, tisanes (herbal teas), or teabags; all can be stored in an airtight container in a desk drawer, no refrigeration needed.
If you plan to brew coffee at work, you'll need to learn to eyeball the amount of coffee needed for your preferred method, or else bring a small scale to work to measure it. Try making the coffee at home, weighing the ground beans and measuring the exact amount of water, so that you know what you're looking for in the office. The alternative would be to bring a measuring jug to work so you can measure the water precisely.
Whichever brewing method you choose, making your own coffee or tea at the office is a lovely way to elevate the workday.
The simple method many coffee connoisseurs use is pour over. The classic version is a ceramic model that sits in your cup holding a paper filter with the coffee, water is added slowly. This pour over set from Bodum might be better for the desk life because it comes with a permanent metal filter (no paper filters needed) and a carafe to brew into that can also be used as a holder for the pour over after you've brewed. Another bonus: It makes up to 17 ounces of coffee.
Bodum Pour Over Set with Permanent Filter, $14.99, walmart.com.
For brewing loose tea, or tea bags if you like to brew more than one cup at a time or prefer to give the tea room to infuse, you'll want to get a teapot. There are endless options in ceramic, metal, or glass. Whichever material you choose, make sure the pot doesn't leak when you pour and opt for a teapot with a removable filter and a lid that can be on the pot when the filter has been removed (to keep the brewed tea warm). A glass teapot allows you to see watch the steeping process.
Open Kitchen by Williams Sonoma Glass Teapot, $45, williams-sonoma.com.
Cold Brew Maker
Some people just like their coffee cold while other people prefer a cool brew when the weather is hot—that's where cold brew comes in. A large lidded jar is a fine tool for cold brew but filtering it would be messy at work so opt for a svelte system that won't take up too much space in the shared refrigerator. Also note that making cold brew does require some preplanning; make it before you leave the office. Leave it in the refrigerator to brew overnight and come to work knowing the cold brew is ready for you.
Hario Cold Brew Maker, $35, bluebottlecoffee.com.
If your workplace doesn't have a good source of hot water or if the water is too hot for green tea or good coffee, a small kettle is essential. Kettles and teapots are often confused; a kettle is a tool for heating water while a teapot is a vessel for brewing tea. Some electric kettles are large and heavy, so look for a more compact, lightweight model that will fit better on a desk. Try a gooseneck kettle for making pour-over coffee or just because it looks better than other models! Our pick is the Bonavita Interurban Gooseneck Kettle which has variable temperature settings for water boiled to exactly the temperature you need.
Bonavita Interurban One Liter Gooseneck Kettle, $119, amazon.com.
Another classic and easy way to brew coffee is in a French press. And it's a low-fi way that's well-suited to office life. There are many styles in different prices and sizes. Be sure to buy one that offers replacement carafes just in case or start out with this budget-priced French press from Bonjour that's made of BPA-free Tritan plastic. Tea fans should note that the French press is also well suited for making tea.
Bonjour Ami 12.7 Ounce French Press, $17.99, potsandpans.com.
Tea Infuser Mug
A more compact way to brew tea is with a mug with a filter. Again, the options are endless: big, small, wide, narrow, with handle, without, and the colors and pattern options dizzying. Opt for a mug that's the size you prefer, feels good in your hand, and has a lid.
Tea Forté KATI mug, $20, teaforte.com.
A favorite of coffee professionals when they travel (and can't face hotel coffee), this portable hybrid brewer is a revolutionary coffee maker. It does require paper filters but it's fast, easy (once you get the hang of it), small, light, and makes superb coffee.
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker, one-size,$29.95, amazon.com.
The simplest way to enjoy a mug of tea is using a filter in a favorite mug. There are BPA-free plastic filters, filters with a BPA-plastic free form and fine metal mesh, and all metal filters. Some come with lids for use while brewing and as a saucer for the filter when it's removed from the mug, a useful feature for desk life.
Oxo Tea Infuser Basket with Lid, $12.99, amazon.com.