Office Coffee Doesn’t Have to Suck

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Back before I was writing about coffee, I was a staff writer for The Oregonian newspaper in downtown Portland. Three times a day—seriously, three times a day—my co-worker pals and I would leave the office, walk four blocks to our favorite cafe, buy coffee, and amble back at our leisure. And everyone did it. We saw people from the paper at that cafe every time we went in. Not only were we spending a ton of money and losing a lot of productivity time, but the coffee was pretty crap. We complained about it, but we kept going back. Three times a day.

Office coffee can totally blow.

Office coffee can totally blow.

That’s in part because the coffee at work was even worse. Office coffee is an antiquated concept really; the old way of doing it was to hire companies like Sysco to outfit office buildings with vending machines, some of which sold stale sandwiches and candy bars, and others that dispensed scalding hot, watered down “coffee.” In the nineties, office coffee started to get a little better, with independent roasters offering service to companies that included brewing equipment (think glass carafes and hot plates), and pre ground coffee. Being big enough to supply a company with hundreds of employees, however, wasn’t something smaller roasters could manage, not cost effectively.

And here we are, in 2013, with office coffee service not having gotten that much better. We in the coffee industry lament the crap coffee we get served at fine restaurants so often, but we don’t have the experience—at least not present day experience—of terrible office coffee. Our “offices” are the cafe and roasteries where we work, the coffee farms we visit, the coffee conferences we attend. We’re surrounded by great coffee (we’re so freakin’ lucky!). So we don’t think about the fact that most people work places where any coffee on offer is pretty bad, if it’s there at all.

Bros. The three owners of Joyride.

Bros. The three owners of Joyride.

Enter Joyride. Started by three brothers in New York as the city’s first mobile coffee truck, Noah, Adam, and David Belanich served Stumptown Coffee all around town for a while before deciding to do something about their customers’ number one comment, which was that they wished they could get coffee that good at their offices.

This is frightening.

This is frightening. I mean, it’s totally cool. But why, K-Cup people, WHY?

Joyride Coffee Distributors was born. It’s a full service coffee delivery and office coffee program with tons of options: they’ll drop off brewed coffee at the office in cardboard cartons; they’ll set up the office with equipment and beans; they’ll come in to host cuppings; and they’ll even bring an entire mobile brew bar complete with barista for offices hosting big meetings or events.

Joyride coffee travel kit. Totally James Bondish.

Joyride coffee travel kit. Totally James Bondish.

They currently offer coffee from Stumptown, Blue Bottle, Joe, Toby’s Estate, Counter Culture, and Intelligentsia. They say a lot of their clients are tech companies—no surprise there. I like their style and motivation. I especially like the kegerator they’ve converted to dispense cold brew. In the office? Are you kidding me?

Sounds like something we should look into for Barista Magazine World Headquarters. I gotta go talk to Ken about this.

Cold brew kegerator. I'm gonna git me one.

Cold brew kegerator. I’m gonna git me one.

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.