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20 January 2012

Caffeine Crisis

I've been pretty tired this week and unfortunately, my sleepiness seems to have coincided with a series of unfortunate coffee events. This photo illustrates what my desk at work looked like this morning. Clockwise from left: my favourite coffee mug from Joe in New York; the plunger from my Bodum French press inserted into the boss's Bodum filtre Belgique coffee mug; someone else's tea mug; my broken French press; the filter part of the boss's Bodum caffeination device; Papa's KeepCup* from the Missing Bean (Oxford's only independent espresso bar).


Because I am lazy, I use my Nespresso machine to get my first caffeine hit before I go to work. If it wouldn't feel too indulgent and if the machine were quieter, I might have bought a Nespresso for work too. Instead, I got one of Bodum's three-cup French presses (their "cups" are tiny because this makes a good mug-full of coffee), which produces pretty good coffee, especially when I'm plying it with a particularly nice blend of ground coffee (I usually buy from the Espresso Room). However, at work we regularly get emails from the facilities department warning us not to let a single coffee ground fall down the sink. As such, I get quite paranoid about emptying the coffee grounds into the dustbin and some mornings, when I haven't yet had enough coffee, I am rather too brutal with my poor little French press.

Earlier this week, I broke another French press, cracking the glass on the bin. As the crack was near the top, I tried making my coffee anyway, putting less water in, but of course, when I poured the coffee, it leaked all over my desk. The following day, I borrowed my boss's Bodum filter. I knew my coffee wasn't ground correctly for this coffee maker but I didn't expect the water to just fall straight through into the cup, taking only a tiny amount of coffee with it. It looked like black tea and tasted awful but I drank it anyway. This morning, I made myself an espresso first thing and then made myself a longer drink (I'd call it a dry cappuccino, although it's what you get if you order a double macchiato in Caffè Nero or similar) in the KeepCup to take with me on the journey into work. This tasted nice but didn't quite provide the second caffeine hit I'm used to.

As you can't replace the glass beaker in the French press model, I will now have to buy another French press. But perhaps I would be better off buying a steel version that I can't break with my super-strong arms. These are, of course, more expensive but given that I've got through two French presses in 18 months (or maybe a year), the unbreakable version might make better sense. And yes, I realise this post could have been tagged #middleclassproblems...

*I've been admiring the KeepCup for a long time. I like the design, they come in lots of different sizes and you can choose your own colour scheme. I haven't bought one yet though because I didn't think I would use it. I mainly drink macchiato in espresso bars but I'm not going to carry around a plastic cup in my bag just in case I decide to buy a coffee. As a commuting tool, however, it might work for me--especially on those occasions when I can't make coffee at work.

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