May 14, 2011

A Necessary Evil: The Office Coffee

Is that warm coffee or a
steaming pile of crap?
It's one of the most deceiving entities in the department.  Sure, it may look friendly and like it might put you in a better mood, but, in reality, it is truly sinister.  After the first encounter, it may take a while to show its evil side, and it will likely have you coming back for more, time after time.

The coffee in this department is horrendous.  And I'm sure this isn't just a phenomenon of this department either.  On more than one occasion, I have had serious stomach issues after drinking the brown concoction, and you would think that this would steer me from ever drinking it again. But does it?

No.  Nearly every morning, you can find me filling my mug with the crap.  I try to improve it by adding some creamer and sugar, but I've found that this is useless based on the following careful testing:

One creamer package:  No change in flavor
Two creamer packages: Slight change in flavor, but not appreciably better
One packet of sugar: No change in flavor
Two packets of sugar: Oh dead god, what the hell just happened to my coffee?!
One creamer and one sugar: Slight improvement (synergistic effect, I suppose)
Two creamers and two sugars:  Modest improvement; too sweet and barely recognizable coffee flavor

I've basically found no solution to making that coffee bearable, but it doesn't stop me from drinking it almost every day. Sure, there's a coffee shop upstairs, but that costs money and, as a graduate student, I have too little money to justify spending it on coffee.

The best solution I've found is to buy flavored creamer and attempt to mask the flavor with something like hazelnut or Italian sweet cream (I don't know what it is, but I don't care because it is delicious).  The problem with this solution is that I use way too much of the flavored creamer to make that coffee even recognizable anymore.  Plus, it's got a ton of sugar.

My newest solution: black coffee.  If it's so bad, I shouldn't drink it, so maybe (maybe) if the coffee disgusts me morning after morning, I will wean myself from it and drink something better, like water.  The caffeine kick sure helps, especially during those long lectures, meetings, and presentations, so I'm afraid that I may just have to learn to live with the coffee.  Plus, it's free - I'm sure not going to complain about that.

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