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Looking for a coffee solution in your workplace? Get a handle on your options with these coffee making methods.
Pour over brewing involves pouring hot water over ground coffee which then passes through a mesh or paper filter. This method of brewing requires precise control over a number of variables including grind size, water temperature, and flow in order to extract a cup that isn't too bitter or too acidic. Because this method is a bit more painstaking than others, pour over may be a bit unwieldy in an office setting.
With a French press, coarsely ground coffee is steeped in hot water before plunging to separate the grounds from the water. Because French presses typically use mesh or metal filters, less oil is filtered from the resulting brew, producing a richer and fuller bodied cup of coffee.
Drip brewers are the machines that produce what we Americans have come to know as "coffee." Hot water is passed through ground coffee, through a filter, and into a carafe. These traditional coffee makers are available in a number of varieties including those with glass and thermal carafes, built in grinders, and various programming options.
Semi-Automatic espresso machines extract espresso from finely ground, compacted coffee at high pressure to produce the highly concentrated, crema rich beverage we all know and love. These machines all operate on the same basic premise of compacting coffee into a portafilter (Italian for "filter holder") and locking it into a brew group. Some machines include pressurized portafilters that create artificial back pressure to make it easier to produce crema rich espresso without precise grinding or tamping.
For more professional results, a commercial style portafilter can be used in conjunction with a high quality coffee grinder for drinks more akin to what you'd expect from a cafe. Semi-Automatic espresso machines can also be used to froth milk to make classic beverages like lattes and cappuccinos. Because of the skill involved and the relative messiness of espresso brewing, these machines may not be the best choice for use in the workplace.
Super-Automatic espresso machines are designed for pure convenience, grinding, tamping, and brewing espresso at the push of a button. Depending on your price range, these machines offer options like automatic milk frothing, multiple beverage programmability, and user profiles for custom drinks. These machines are generally user friendly and easy to operate for first timers. Note that when using in a higher volume setting like an office, it's important to regularly clean your machine to increase its longevity and prevent damage.
These machines are regarded as the sports cars of the espresso world. With high performance materials and components, prosumer machines have higher build quality and produce better tasting drinks than their less expensive counterparts. Features common to prosumer machines include heat exchange or dual boiler designs that let you brew and steam at the same time, quieter pumps, higher capacity boilers, optional plumbing, and temperature control via a PID controller. Because these machines come with a higher price tag, it's important that they are maintained regularly and operated by people who have been trained properly.
Single-Serve machines are a staple of the coffee and espresso world, with one touch solutions for both styles of drinks. While these machines are convenient, they are generally low capacity, produce large amounts of plastic waste, and are restricted to brewing with proprietary coffee pods or capsules that restrict your options.