Life’s too short for bad coffee.

And break room coffee is bad coffee. Schools have some of the biggest coffee offenders around. Here are a few of the biggest and what you can do about it.

The Pot Finisher

This is that person who polishes off the pot but never bothers to make a new one.

Mr. or Mrs. Leave a Sip

What’s worse than the Pot Finisher? The person who leaves a quarter cup and bolts, so you get a Chinese water torture drip but don’t have time to make a new pot. This can ruin your whole day.

The Anti-barista.

This is the person who (no matter how many times you explain it or even leave a note) can’t make a good cup of coffee. I’m mystified by this type of person. Really, all you have to do is count the scoops and measure the water–this is the type of stuff kindergartener get right on standardized tests. But, some people just make crappy Joe.

The Cheapskate

Whatever your cost sharing policy is, the Cheapskate never takes a turn. Whether it’s “I’ll catch you later” on donations or bringing in grounds, the Cheapskate pushes the burden on everyone else. Or worse, the Cheapskate brings in the worst coffee ever, and no one wants to drink it but you can’t throw it away.

The Slob

This person leaves crap everywhere–whether it’s a K-cup pod, coffee filter, or unwashed cups, it’s always looking like a mouse-attracting trash heap. They’re the person who gets everyone yelled at and coffee pots in faculty rooms banned.

What you can do about it

I’m supposed to tell you to take these people aside and explain the error of their ways, or discuss the problem at a public faculty meeting without naming names. And I probably shouldn’t tell you to lick their spoon. But if a frank talk or passive-aggressive note doesn’t work, here are some options.

  1. Move the coffee pot into your room. Guard it with your life. Put it in the least convenient place. Hide the extra supplies.
  2. Swap out the coffee pot for a single-serve pot. Leave a full pitcher of water nearby (because offenders will leave it empty). Have everyone bring in their own pods or K-cups. Hide yours.
  3. Hide behind some furniture and film the offenders. If you don’t have time to do this, you can use a motion camera found at most outdoorsman stores. When you find the person, make him or her into a meme. You won’t get any coffee out of it, and you’ll probably make an enemy, but you’ll feel better.
  4. Bring your coffee from home in a quality mug. My Yeti mug keeps coffee hot all day.
  5. If one cup of coffee just won’t do, get a thermos. Bring your coffee in your mug and a refill thermos. That should get you through the day.
  6. Take turns being in charge. That way you know who’s supposed to check, stock and clean up after the coffee.


If none of these tips help, you might have to quit your teaching job and go work at a coffee shop. At least then, you know you’ll have all the caffeine you need… free.