Guns and Butter, and Coffee

Guns and Butter, and Coffee

"Coffee is for closers," a line deftly delivered by Alec Baldwin's ruthless character in Glengarry Glen Ross to an impish Jack Lemmon.

This much I know:  The coffee Blake (Baldwin's character) is referring to comes from a glass pot with a brown rim, and the coffee sits in the pot an average of an hour before someone drinks it.   In Blake's day coffee was poured into cones placed in plastic frames.  The poor saps peddling real estate knew better than to expect gourmet anything.

Certainly not a single serve, freshly made cup from a Keurig coffee maker.

Among my basic truths are the following:  1) Baseball should be played during the day; 2) Self cleaning ovens are a scam and; 3) Office coffee should be accessible yet mediocre.

With the end of the short dress sleeve, cigar chomping whiskey era of the 1950s, bad coffee is the only indulgence left; the last bastion of office manhood.

Keurig is out to change things.  The devil works in mysterious ways.

I offer this, from the Keurig website:

We believe that coffee should always be served fresh, just like a gourmet coffee house, wherever you are. Period.

No, that's what gourmet coffee houses are for.   I don't need to "experience" fresh coffee at work any more than I need to experience fondue at my desk or a mechanical bull in the mailroom.

For those of you spared thus far, or not familiar, a Keurig machine is about the same size as a regular coffee maker.  Water flows into the machine before heating.  Once you buy the machine you need to buy several hundred "shots" of coffee grounds in various flavors (because you can't simply have one).  They even offer tea and cocoa in case any Brits or first graders visit the office.

If your office hasn't been infiltrated yet, beware.  Get to your office manager now.

Otherwise, you and your  co-workers will be the victim of a cruel, sick ritual.

One morning you will arrive in the kitchen to face an uncaffeinated angry mob waiting, and waiting in line as each cup brews individually, like a drive thru where meals are made to order.

It's just wrong.  But at least there's still coffee.

I remember a morning many years ago when me and several hundred of my closest "work friends" were crammed into the Merchandise Mart in the midst of corporate budget slashing.  After several months of counting paper clips and post-its someone brilliantly decided that serving coffee, in a hotel ballroom, was an unnecessary expense.

Instead, we were given water.  After three hours of Dilbert level nonsense (me no coffee, me no focus) I was ready to heave my chair through the window, dive into the Chicago River and search for the nearest Caribou.

I drink black coffee for the caffeine, first, the flavor a distant second.  And I enjoy the aroma from a crusted pot in mid-afternoon.

There are three rules for office coffee drinkers:

1)  Real coffee mugs, not Styrofoam or the old cone cups with plastic holders.

2)  If you kill it, fill it.  Nothing worse than entering the kitchen, especially in the morning, without the Joe ready.

3)  Don't judge.  Some of us need eight to ten cups once in a while.  Ever ride fumes after being up all night with a kid?

And when I go "for coffee," I order coffee.  No latte, cappuccino or mocha rickpitino.

And no Keurigs.  Please.


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  • Don't knock fondue at your desk until you've tried it.

  • In reply to Barry:

    I prefer saganaki.

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