By Michal RosenbergBy Michal Rosenberg
Coffee is an important part of any office culture and it’s no different at The Jewish Link. Since we are located in the heart of Teaneck’s restaurant area, we can certainly pick up a coffee at any of the local shops nearby, but sometimes, on busy days, we just can’t leave our desks—or don’t want to. Also these days, coffee, just like everything else I guess, has risen in price and it’s not reasonable to spend $6 or $8 for a latte and just want to go it at home—or in this case, at the office.
But our coffee station needed some work. We have a Keurig machine and some K-Cup options, but keeping fresh milk in the fridge has always been a challenge. Since Covid, everyone got used to working from home a bit more, but now that things have gotten mostly back to normal and we are back in the office again—especially on Wednesdays when the powers that be bring in lunch to lure everyone in on deadline day—we decided to up our coffee game and see if we could replace the expensive coffee run with a humble, homemade cup of joe.
After some research, we purchased a new Cuisinart Grind & Brew single-serve brewer machine from Bed, Bath & Beyond (thank you coupons) that grinds fresh beans into a reusable K-Cup and then brews an individual cup of freshly ground coffee. This also keeps the option open to just use a pre-made K-Cup instead. Fresh beans are a game changer. With a nod to fall (and Jill) we went all in on flavored syrups, including pumpkin spice, and also bought an Aerolatte milk frother to see if we could recreate that Starbucks fall classic right here in the office.
One Monday morning, we opened up all our deliveries, excited to try the new machine—but first we had to read the manual, which is nobody’s favorite part. We were finally ready, which was good because Elizabeth hadn’t had coffee yet that morning, and reasoned that she needed the old machine to make coffee in order to understand the instruction manual. We filled the canister on the machine with our Peet’s dark roast beans and listened to the whir of the grinder as the aroma of freshly ground beans filled the air. While the coffee was brewing we frothed the (fresh!) milk and watched it bubble up. The result was a very satisfying cup of coffee that was definitely a step up from what we had previously.
Elizabeth and I each tried one of the flavor syrups—mocha for her, pumpkin spice for me (Moshe chose salted caramel)—and while we initially liked it, Elizabeth and I each decided on our own that it was too sweet for our tastes (though Moshe added more milk and syrup). Since the machine is ours, we were able to go back as often as necessary and make a fresh cup catered to everyone’s palate. That’s the benefit of having your own coffee setup—because how annoying is it when you try something new at the store and then don’t like it? You are stuck.
As everyone else in the office took a turn trying the new arrival, Channa pointed out that if you choose 10 or 12 ounces, the coffee was a little weaker than many would have liked. But the 8 ounce choice was solid with a good, robust flavor—and it still made a full cup.
The milk frother we found to be a bit of a bust as the froth dissipated very quickly and since it wasn’t heated, that first sip of coffee was just cold, bubbly milk—not what everyone wants. So if you’re really into cappuccinos and lattes, it’s worth your while to spring for the fancier frothers (like the Nespresso, which also heats the milk) that deliver a more satisfying foamy experience.
We’re still gathering everyone’s impressions, but there’s no doubt the coffee experiment was a success. We expanded our coffee horizons and while not everything was a home run, it was fun to try new things, and we are definitely happier with the results. Now, if Moshe wants us to come into the office even more often, maybe Monday lunches can be on the table…