Coffee with a tea kettle – How to brew coffee in the office?

If you’re like me, and you’re in an office with nothing else than a tea kettle and a capsule coffee machine, you are in a pinch to make a delicious cup o’ joe. But don’t worry, in this post we have collected a couple of options and tips for you to make a successful brew with limited amount of coffee gear!

Temperature control

Boil, boil, boil..
Boil, boil, boil..

The most difficult part of office brewing has been controlling the water temperature. With a tea kettle it is difficult to measure the temperature, which may be high in the 90°C even a minute or two after boiling. If you don’t want to make your coffee bitter, what can you do?

  • Buy a temperature controlled kettle – If your company fancies investing in better tea and coffee, a temperature controlled kettle will be your best friend. There are a couple in the UK, check Philips or Bosch to start with.
  • Use a thermometer – Get one of the cheap digital thermometers for giving an idea for the water temperature. You need to remember to keep it with you and keep it safe in your office, I tend to lose mine!
  • Give it time – Many simple Aeropress recipes tell you to wait a minute after the kettle has boiled. The temperature will most likely still be up in the 90°C range even after a minute, and you might risk your water being too hot.
  • Transfer your hot water to another jug – If you transfer your freshly boiled water to another jug or a drip kettle, it will usually cool down quicker than in your tea kettle. I’ve even had to use a tea pot with a long pouring nozzle for this. Makes it extra useful if you only have one tea kettle and a long queue of tea drinkers lined up!

We have a couple of options now to make sure our water isn’t boiling hot, but how do we brew our precious coffee quickly in a tiny office kitchen?

Coffee for one

Coffee time.
Coffee time.

Is it just you for a sweet cup o’ joe? For me the following have been the best choice in a small office kitchen:

Coffee for many

“I need lots of coffee, STAT!”

Got a big deadline or a team full of coffee lovers? Here are a few options for a quick coffee for many:

  • Sowden Softbrew – The pot of wonders is useful if you want to brew your coffee and leave it. Easy and quick solution, also great for loose leaf tea. Don’t forget to clean the pot afterwards, unless you want to come back to a colourful coffee colony.
  • French press – The classic “I need a lot of coffee, stat” without a standing coffee machine.
  • Chemex – If you are confident enough in your Chemex skills, then a 10-cup Chemex can easily satisfy a larger need for tasty coffee.

Don’t look at that capsule coffee machine, it won’t solve the “good” of “quick and good coffee, fast”.

Finally.. Prepare for the questions

“What’s that? What are you doing? What is it? Why are you doing that?”

Your tea-loving colleagues (at least in the UK) will surely poke in to ask questions regarding your art of coffee. Be prepared to answer the following questions!

  • What is that? “Coffee.”
  • Why do you put so much effort in making your coffee? “Because it tastes good.”
  • Why don’t you just use instant coffee? “Because it tastes bad.”
  • But it’s so much quicker? “Don’t care. It tastes good. Good coffee is vital for my work performance.”
  • Why do you need so much counter space? “Because I need to heat my mug, grind the beans, pour my water, enough space to press down on my Aeropress, etc.”
  • How much does it cost? “Well the coffee is 6£ a bag for 250g, the AeroPress is around £20, the Clever Dripper is somewhere near that as well, the ice coffee V60 glass drip jug is.. Oh, they’re gone.”
  • Why don’t you use milk in your coffee? It makes it less bitter! “I’m lactose intolerant and my coffee is not bitter.”
  • But why do you drink coffee when it tastes so bitter and burnt? “It doesn’t have to. Try some of this!”

You would be surprised how often the avid coffee haters turn out like this after tasting my coffee in the office:

Coffee revelation
Coffee revelation!


Questions, comments, suggestions for brewing better coffee in the office? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting us at @WhiskyBeans! All the rights for the images belong to their respectful owners.

Brew on, coffee lovers.

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