Women in Tea
by Lalith Paranavitana

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by Kenneth Davids

The FUN-dametals of Office Coffee
by Kyle A. Lord

What's Brewin' — New Coffee News

The FUN-dametals of Office Coffee

By Kyle A. Lord

The following tongue-in-cheeck inter-office memo was submitted to Virtual Coffee by Kyle Lord of the Broomfield Colorado office of Structure. Try Kyle's procedures in your office for better tasting brew during your work day!

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PURPOSE

This document exists to educate the employees of the Broomfield office on the appropriate procedures of making a new pot of coffee, including the proper times to empty the pot and make a new batch, how to properly insert the coffee liner, and notes on making sense of the confusing buttons on the front of the coffee making machine.

WHEN TO BREW

It's important to understand exactly when making new pots of coffee is required, as countless numbers of your fellow employees rely on your coffee-making prowess to survive throughout the day. This is especially true on any given Monday.The first and most obvious time to infuse a batch of premium French Roast (see document: Appropriate Coffee Types for Office Consumption) is if you are the first to arrive at the office. The pot is invariably empty at this time. Because you were the first to arrive at work, it is evident that you have had far too much coffee this morning anyways, you are obviously a coffee connoisseur, and you may skip the rest of this document and proceed with the brewing process.A new pot must be made immediately if, when entering the break room, you notice that the pot of coffee is below the capacity of one standard Styrofoam coffee cup.

If the coffee pot is above the 1-Styrofoam cup capacity level, but below the 3-cup capacity level, you may leave the pot alone. However, if within the course of an hour after the inspection, the capacity level has remained the same, the coffee has undoubtedly become toasty and burnt, and the pot must be disposed of and returned to a full capacity with a fresh brew.

THE BREWING PROCESS

There are a number of complex parts contained within the coffee-making unit. Don't be afraid... you can make a brilliant cup of coffee in just a few simple steps.First, you must empty the pot and rinse it out. Always grab the pot by the plastic handle, as grabbing it by the glass exterior will generally result in 3rd degree burns. When rinsing the pot, ONLY use WATER. Do not use any cleanser or soap. Doing so will result in small bubbles and a soapy aftertaste in the coffee, even if you rinsed it out with a 1000psi hose from the drive thru car wash.Next, place the empty coffee pot back onto the warming plate. This is the small cylindrical plate underneath the filter mechanism. Do not place the coffee pot on the warming plate on top of the unit. Gravity won't put the coffee up there. It doesn't work that way. Make sure the plastic handle is facing away from the unit to the right. This will aid the majority of us who are right-handed. Left-handed people are smarter and will figure something out.The next step can be messy if not done properly. Remove the filter mechanism containing the old filter and wet coffee grounds quickly, turning your body towards the garbage can and pulling the mechanism out in one deft maneuver. When the filter mechanism is over the garbage can, turn it upside down and shake slightly. If you have forgotten to remove the garbage can lid, the idea is to walk away quietly and pretend you didn't see a thing. Otherwise, you should have an empty filter mechanism. It is also a good idea to rinse this out, but again, no soap.Too many make the mistake of removing the old filter, filled with wet coffee grounds, by hand and placing it in the trash. This is dumb. It's akin to picking up a pile of cold wet dirt with soggy toilet paper. Set the rinsed filter mechanism aside, and search for a coffee filter. A rule of thumb is that you will never find coffee filters in the same place twice, and while this phenomenon is yet unexplained, there is a growing theory that coffee filters are indeed living organisms which have learned to survive by roaming in IT break rooms eating the remains of Hungry Man and Michelina microwave dinners.

After locating a stack of coffee filters, remove one from the stack. This is done best by those who have long fingernails. Due to working in an IT environment, most of us have no fingernails left at all, and we must approach this as a two or three step process. Work diligently and make sure you are holding only one filter when finished.It makes no difference where you dispose of the remaining stack of filters. They'll find their way home.Locate the filter mechanism and place the coffee filter into the mechanism. Do not concern yourself with pushing the filter into place, as the coffee will settle the filter.

The bags of coffee are located in the drawer labeled "Coffee". Take a bag and note the tight air seal. This is to keep the coffee grounds fresh and also to make your life very difficult. The opening of the bag is very similar to UNIX; there are many means to an end. You can go for the "thumb and forefinger" pull approach, but I've found this ends in a fast-food ketchup package type of ending, with coffee grounds being spread in all directions and ending up mostly in your eye. The easiest method is the "place the corner in the mouth and pull". If you choose this approach, make sure HR isn't nearby, as I think OSHA has some regulations regarding this particular type of thing. Also, do it over a trashcan.

Once you have the package open, pour the grounds evenly into the filter. Discard of the package and spit the little piece of the packaging still in your mouth into the trash.

Reinsert the filter mechanism; push it all the way into place, making sure the spout is aimed directly towards the middle of the pot below.

Press the green button labeled "Start Brew".A number of choices are now available. Standing in the break room and pretending to show interest in the next Management Seminar posted on the bulletin board while the coffee brews is a true sign of caffeine addiction and is not recommended. Returning to your office while the coffee brews is also not recommended, as this poses a chance of the pot being emptied before you return. A dangerous but truly commendable third choice can be made, but lightning reflexes and a true poker face are required.

To get a strong cup of brew, grab a Styrofoam cup in your right hand and the coffee pot handle in your left. Tilt the Styrofoam cup at a 45-degree angle and place it at the lip of the coffee pot. Now quickly pull the coffee pot out and away, while at the same time pushing your Styrofoam cup under the steaming stream of dark coffee. When your cup is full, reverse the operation.If anyone walks in while you are performing this option, use a poker face which tells the person "This is a normal thing for an acting IT professional to do", and bring up the crazy Colorado weather.

Congratulations! You have just brewed a pot of coffee and made out with a fresh, and probably pretty strong cup for yourself.


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