Office Coffee Etiquette! DAMMIT!


> Office coffee criminals make work-life more irritating
> Brew a fresh pot if you take the last cup and clean up after yourself 
> Simple coffee courtesy goes a long way to keeping everyone happy 

You’ve had these kinds of moments before in the office.

It’s crazy busy the moment you set foot in the office. A meeting first thing in the morning followed by a project deadline and a conference call that you’re leading.

It’s mid-morning and you finally have a free minute to grab a cup of coffee to charge up.

You head over to the break room.

As you pull out the coffee pot, you see that only a few measly drops are left in the pot.

Dammit...who’s the asshole that took the last cup of coffee and didn’t make a new pot?!

Who puts a nearly empty coffee pot back on the warming plate?!

Or even worse, if your office uses those tall airpot dispensers, when there’s barely any coffee left and you press down on the lever, it sputters and splatters all over your white shirt.


Doesn’t anybody in this office have any coffee etiquette?

Is it really that difficult to make another pot of coffee?

Are people really that lazy or time-pressed that they can’t take 5 minutes and make a fresh batch of coffee?

The short answer is yes - unfortunately.

The Types Of Coffee Criminals At Work

There are a lot of things that get us all riled up about the coffee in the breakroom.


Because coffee is the one free thing at work that keeps us going, gives us the jolt to stay awake during long boring conference calls and provides us with the oomph we need to finish out the day strong.

It’s the fuel that keeps us in the zone at work.

Without java, life at work would be an insurmountable pile of undone excel charts, unanswered emails, unfinished presentations and generally a bitch to get through.

Here are the most common types of coffee criminals and the pet peeves we have with them.

Which ones do you have in your office?

1) The Last Cup Loser

The biggest and most obvious thing we can’t stand about coffee slackers is the fact that they take the last cup of coffee but don’t make another pot for the rest of us.

It’s as if leaving a few teaspoons of coffee in the pot qualifies as enough for another serving and thus, relinquishes them from having to make another pot.

It’s so damn annoying and irritating.

These are the moments that we wish that Terry Tate, the “Office Linebacker”, worked in our office.

VIDEO: Terry Tate Office Linebacker
YOUTUBE: FishsGuitarLessons
LENGTH: 1:51

Summary points:
> You kill the joe, you make some mo’
> Always recycle
> Don't eat other people's food 
> Fix your paper jams  

If there isn’t enough coffee in the pot for at least a full cup and a half, then please have some effin’ courtesy and make another fresh pot of joe.

Or we’ll Terry Tate your ass!

2) The Milk Bandit

There are more milk thieves in your office than you think.

Yes, the powdered non-dairy stuff is there for the taking. However, we all know that real milk or creamer is far better. Everybody agrees on that.

When nobody’s looking and there isn’t another coworker in sight, milk bandits will quickly and nonchalantly pull that bottle of creamer or carton of milk and sneak a little pour faster than a double-sided print out.

Labeled milk with your name?


That won’t stop professional milk bandits.

The frustrating thing is that they only take just enough to satisfy their coffee needs but not enough to be noticeable that the milk is running out faster than usual. 

3) The Mess Maker

You remember Pig Pen from the old Charlie Brown cartoons?

Well, there’s usually at least one in every office.

Dried coffee droplets around the machine, telltale brown coffee ring stains on the countertop and splashes of coffee on the floor from poorly aimed pours are all dead giveaways that the office slob was in the breakroom.

Do they clean up after themselves?

Of course not. Their mentality is that the cleaning will be handled by the office cleaning crew that only comes by every few days.

So, you and I now get to see all these wonderful brown stains every time we step into the kitchen. And, then, we’re the ones to wipe up the mess.

4) The Decaffeinator

Okay, for those that have single-pot coffee machines at work, this one is annoying as hell. It’s those sneaky folks who will do the unthinkable.

Instead of brewing up a pot of regular coffee, they’ll make decaf coffee. They want the taste of coffee but are trying to reduce their caffeine intake.

We get it, but please don’t make the rest of us suffer.

If it’s before noon, no decaf allowed. We all need the morning pick-up.

If it’s after lunch, no decaf allowed. We need to fight off food coma.

If it’s at the end of the day, no decaf allowed. We need to stay awake on the drive home.

It’s one thing to make a pot of decaf when there’s a dedicated decaf pot with the orange handle or lid. We’re okay with that - brew all the decaf desired.

However, for those of us with single pot machines at work, please don’t deprive us of our much needed caffeine. 

5) The Extreme Caffeinator 

These guys are the exact and extreme opposite of the decaffeinators.

If your coffee machine at work brews one pack of coffee grinds per pot, these guys will put in two. If it normally brews with two packets, they’ll throw in three...maybe even four if the machine can take it.

If there was a way to recirculate the brewed coffee back through the grinds, they would do that too.

When these guys make the coffee (and God bless them because they almost always do), it’s the fully turbo-charged version that’s so over the top that it can bring the dead back to life.

Drinking just half a cup of their version will have us bouncing off the walls, triple-clicking our mouse faster than a stopwatch and sweating like marathon runner while typing.

These coffee addicts know no limits when it comes to caffeine. And, if they ever catch a decaffeinator trying to pull a fast one on them, get out of the break room fast and run for cover. There’s gonna be some pain delivered.

6) The Slow Poke Pourer

They walk slow. They talk slow. They eat slow.

And when you’re dying to get a fresh cup of coffee, they almost always seem to be at the coffee machine just as you’re entering the breakroom.

So, you patiently stand back and wait and watch the agonizingly slow process unfold before your eyes.

They’ll slooowly reach for the pot and carefully pull it out from the base, making sure that none may spill out.

They’ll place their “World’s Best [fill-in-the-bank]” mug on the countertop and position it just so.

Then, with the utmost care, they will methodically and slooowly pour the coffee so that no coffee splatters out (good for them on that!).

And just when you think they’re done pouring, they contemplate for a few more seconds on whether or not a smidgen more coffee would be better.

Now, because the creamers, sugar and stirrers are all right next to the coffee machine, you’ve got to wait again for them to go through their process of mixing their coffee.

O...M...G. This is taking an eternity. You’ve could’ve grown, harvested and roasted your own beans by now.

Some Simple Office Coffee Etiquette

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to office coffee. It’s all common sense stuff that most folks should know.

Here’s our list of things to do to keep all the coffee drinkers happy and getting along.

1) You Kill The Joe, Make Some Mo’

We already talked about this but it’s important enough to mention it again to emphasize it.

If your cup of coffee leaves the pot with less than a full cup for the next person, then take five minutes and brew up another fresh batch.

Or even better, if you can see that there’s only a cup or two left in the pot and it’s been sitting on the warming plate for more than a couple of hours, then, dump it out and make a fresh new pot of brew.

Coffee is always at its optimum flavor when its just brewed. So, do yourself and others a huge favor and make a fresh pot and enjoy a more flavorful cup of joe.

2) Bring Your Own Creamer (BYOC) Or Get Communal

Most of us, like 99% of us, prefer real cream or milk for our coffee. It’s far better than that fake non-dairy shit (unless you’re lactose intolerant).

Rather than sneaking some milk from another coworker, just buy a small one for yourself next time that you’re out doing your weekly food shopping.

Or, here’s an idea - take up donations from the office to get some communal creamers and have some great varieties like hazelnut, vanilla, pumpkin spice to add to the normal regular milk or cream.

3) Clean Up After Yourself

If you can pour your own coffee then you can wipe things down and clean up after yourself.

This doesn’t mean that you need to sanitize the entire break room - just wipe up any small drips, spills or other random messes that you created. All it takes is a damp paper towel and a minute of wiping.

Keeping things mess-free goes a long way in maintaining the sanctuary of the break room. It’s not going to turn it into some lavish 5-star cafe. The point here is to just not let it turn into a garbage dump. 

4) Brew Normal Regular Coffee

Some want decaf, some want it light and weak, some want it dark and strong. This isn’t Starbucks. There’s only one coffee machine and one pot.

We need to stick with what will satisfy the majority of people and that’s just a normal pot of regular coffee at the normal brewing amounts etc.

Making it any other way will just increase the chances of making the office coffee taste like shit. So, stick with the standard plan.

There’s always an opportunity to get your mild decaf or triple espresso-shot latte on the way into work or during lunch.

5) Pour It & Move Over

We all have a ton of shit to do at work. Our inboxes are blowing up and with each minute that passes, it can feel that the workload is getting exponentially heavier.

So, when you’re getting your cup o’joe, do it steadfastly. Don’t dilly-dally at the coffee machine and hold an impromptu meeting, but don’t rush yourself either and make a mess.

Pour your cup, add your creamer and/or sugar, stir and then, move over Jack. Let your fellow brethren get their fill too. 

A Little Coffee Courtesy Goes A Long Way

Work life can be a real bitch sometimes. And when the little annoying things start building up, it makes a hard day even harder, when it really shouldn’t be.

What helps all of us get through it all is just some decent coffee and a bit of simple, common courtesy.

It’s not going to completely turn around a shitty day, but at the very least, it won’t make things worse and can help smooth things out a bit.

And in some cases, it can be somebody’s bright spot, a comforting feel-good moment or a simple little trigger to happiness in an otherwise dreary day.

So, let’s all do our part to keep the office coffee flowing and the good vibes going.

Feel Better,