our admins hate all the coffee I buy the office, but they insist I have to keep trying

A reader writes:

I … have a problem at my new-ish attorney job at a tiny law firm. There are five people in the office total and we have one communal coffee pot. I was told at the beginning that the office does not supply coffee because the two partners do not drink it and so we have to take turns buying it for the office.* The two admins told me I could buy whatever I wanted on my turn as long as the coffee was 1) dark roast and 2) unflavored. Great!

The coffee of choice for the two admins is a huge tub of Kirkland coffee from Costco. [Editor’s note: To shop at Costco, you need to purchase a membership, which is around $60 annually. They sell products under their store brand, Kirkland, that can’t be purchased anywhere else.]

I HATE this coffee. I also neither want nor need a Costco membership. Because I was told that I could buy anything, I bought the biggest tub of non-Folgers ground coffee I could get at Target, which I knew I liked. The tub “ran out too fast” and we only had it for like, a week. I refuse to believe we ran out of a giant tub of coffee in a week. Suspicious, but (I thought at the time) irrelevant.

So soon it’s my turn again and I ask the admins if they would mind if I just do a repeat order on Amazon for a big tub of coffee and that way they don’t have to pay for it because it’s expensive. They enthusiastically agree to this. I order a big tub of coffee. They report it is “flavored” and “tastes like caramel.” It is not flavored. It is a house blend. I ask if they have any suggestions. They do not have specific recommendations, but they reiterate they want the darkest roast possible that’s unflavored. I’m like great, okay. My parents drank Peet’s french roast my entire childhood and both of them are a) coffee snobs and b) do not like flavorings of any kind. Guaranteed win, right?

Wrong. I get the bag and it says it has “notes of chocolate truffle, smoke, and caramel.” They insist it is flavored. I explain it is not and that the description is like wine notes where wines say they have hints of cedar or whatever. They do not believe me. I make the pot of coffee the next time I am in first. They immediately report it is somehow BOTH “bitter” and also “tastes like caramel.” I said they asked for a dark roast which is always bitter and that it definitely 100% is not flavored. They insist it’s “weird.”

My stance is that they said I could buy whatever I wanted in the first place, I have bought three options that conform to the given standards, I should be allowed to pick coffee I like for my turn, and I should not have to pay for a membership card to a store solely to get coffee I do not like.

Their stance seems to be passive-aggressively letting me spend $20 on coffee repeatedly and declaring there’s something wrong with it every time.

I have suggested that perhaps that I could Venmo one of them to pick up the coffee they like (and let go of wanting to like said coffee). Apparently part of the point of taking turns with the coffee is to take turns having to go out of your way to run the errand. This is not an option.

I guess my question is not “am I being reasonable” because I’m pretty sure that I am. My question is “is this a hill worth dying on?” and if the answer is “no,” then “how do I get out of having to get a Costco card to buy one (1) tub of coffee every two months that I do not like?”

* As a side note, I also see this as a problem because admins should not have to buy coffee for lawyers, even if we are taking turns.

You are indeed being reasonable. Something is up with the coffee situation. Do they only like Kirkland coffee? If so, why don’t they just say that?

(And yes, admins should not have to buy coffee for lawyers. But I get just going with the system that’s there when you started and not rocking the boat, especially when this boat is already so weird and fraught.)

Anyway, if you want to solve it with a minimum of fuss — which is probably the most practical move here — delivery services like Instacart will generally deliver from Costco, which would mean you could just get it delivered from there without having to get your own Costco membership.

To be clear, this is ridiculous and you should not have to pay the delivery mark-up to resolve this, but it will make the problem go away. Consider it a $10 aggravation fee.

Alternately, you could say to the admins, “I’ve bought three types of coffee and none of them have been right. I can’t get Kirkland coffee because I don’t have a Costco membership. So I can reimburse someone else who picks it up there, or you can tell me another kind of coffee you’d like me to get. Pick anything, and as long as it doesn’t require me buying a special membership like Costco, I’ll get it for the office. But I need you to choose it so I don’t keep buying coffee no one likes.”

If that doesn’t work, the only remaining solution is to swipe an empty Kirkland container the next time one runs out, fill it with the plain dark roast of your choice, and bring it in and see if everyone loves it.

Read an update to this letter

{ 766 comments… read them below }

  1. dogmom*

    Can everybody just … get their own coffee? Like instead of brewing a whole pot at a time, could everybody just brew two cups of their own coffee? If they’re going to be this picky, just tell them to buy their own and everybody does their own thing.

    1. pope suburban*

      Seriously, this seems like a non-issue. Just because the machine is for office use doesn’t mean people can’t bring their own coffee. This would be like insisting everyone has to eat the same lunch if they want to heat it in the office microwave. I’m baffled.

      1. Dee*

        Agree..,.I would bring my own thermos of coffee in and problem solved. Or my own personal 4 cup Mr coffee for my office.

          1. DameB*

            I didn’t start drinking tea because of coffee nonsense but every time I read a coffee story here, I am glad I did.

        1. Bitte Meddler*

          I have a 14 oz coffee brewer that puts the coffee directly into my insulated tumbler. It cost maybe $20.

          If I were OP, I’d buy one of these and take it to the office.

            1. noahwynn*

              I have one that is a Hamilton Beach brand. It has a washable filter and is designed to make a single cup at a time.

              1. Michelle*

                I have a Mister Coffee version that also has a little built in blender for iced coffee. My 17yo only drinks frappes.

          1. L'étrangère*

            Apart from Alison’s last suggestion, which I would be very sorely tempted by, this is by far the most practical. Bring in any single-cup setup and your own Peet’s and withdraw from the fray. If questions are asked, you can be perfectly straightforward about how 1) they only like Costco 2) you don’t 3) you are not getting a costco membership in order to get coffee you don’t like. So they can keep to their previous arrangement as it suits them, and you do our own coffee thing, everyone is happier. I would take care though to put both the new machine and the Peet’s in your office rather than the kitchen in order to clearly differentiate (and avoid a likely pilfering of your supplies)

      2. Mr. Mousebender*

        Although our staff breakroom has a coffee machine, it is notoriously unreliable (and, to make matters worse, requires someone from the supplier to pay a site visit to fix it each time).

        It makes an adequate coffee when it’s actually working, and we, the employees, don’t get charged for it, but I’ve learned the hard way to always have my own supply on hand.

      3. Ellie*

        I totally agree – bring your own coffee, keep it at your desk, and opt out of this rotation thing (it sounds like you weren’t drinking the Kirkland anyway). Or try switching to tea. Either way, opt out of that fraught rotation.

        1. Susan*

          I vote for Nescafé tasters choice instant coffee. It’s very good. (I used to be a Starbucks barista so I understand what good coffee should taste like)

                1. Dek*

                  Yeah, and there’s also the issue with how Nestle owns, like…everything? So many things you wouldn’t even think are under their umbrella…

              1. watermelon fruitcake*

                “No ethical consumption under capitalism” means it is impossible to completely remove yourself from the exploitation of others. It does not mean you are absolved from the responsibility to make conscious choices that lessen that impact, wherever you are able.

                If you can avoid Nestle (and its subsidiaries), even if only to lessen your consumption of their products, that does make a difference, actually. Because some companies are in fact objectively worse when it comes to human rights abuses than others.

                1. Vio*

                  Just done some reading up on Nestle and all the associated scandals and yeah I don’t think I’d be comfortable buying any of their products. I’m sure most of the competitors have done some pretty shady stuff but there’s a difference between “this company has probably done bad stuff” and “this company has definitely done many, many bad things and every time they’ve been caught done the absolute minimum to change and only if they absolutely had to”.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            As someone who doesn’t think Starbucks or Taster’s Choice is good, I disagree with your specific recommendation, but this is a good suggestion. There are quite a few good brands of instant coffee out there these days.

            1. The Other Fish*

              I’m not sure if US Starbucks is the same as AU Starbucks… but the AU version is so over roasted it’s bitter and hairy. Horrid stuff.

              We’ve had a fabulous influx over the years of Italians, Greek, North African etc and we KNOW good coffee. There’s a reason Starbucks has never got a hold here.

              1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

                I hate Starbucks in the US for that reason, and yet sometimes it seems like I’m yelling into the wind.

            2. Aitch Arr*

              My mother, who only drinks instant decaf coffee (unless at a restaurant or the Keurig at my house), switched from Taster’s Choice to Mount Hagen, an organic Fair Trade instant.

    2. KHB*

      That was my first thought too, but I’m a tea drinker, so single-serve brewing comes naturally for me.

      1. Random Dice*

        There are lots of single-serve coffee mechanisms! From Keurig to cold brew in a mason jar to pour-over to French press.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Yes, I think the solution here is to solve your own coffee dilemma of 1 with a single use version in your office, and let the admin staff lay sole claim to the office coffee maker.

          (Also I wonder if the “because the two senior attorneys don’t drink coffee, they have nothing whatsoever to do with this system” ruling was arrived at after a protracted ground battle in Coffee Wars–The Prequel. Before OP’s time.)

            1. Kevin Sours*

              My first thought is “you are partners in a lawfirm, you can freaking spring for coffee even if you don’t drink it”. But this has me rethinking that stance.

              1. Not that other person you didn't like*

                When I was a very young Jr. Nobody, I worked at a company where the women were always stuck with making coffee, answering phones when the receptionist was a lunch, etc. Even my boss, the director. I decided then that I do not drink coffee (at work) and just absolved myself of all coffee responsibility forevermore. If I want coffee, I provide myself with some externally.

                I also got every single phone message I took wrong (because I was working on an important deliverable and very focused on that) and they soon stopped asking.

                1. Dee*

                  When I got my first full time office job I was told the secretaries were tasked with making the office coffee. My answer to that was I don’t drink coffee and I don’t know how to make coffee. The end.

                2. Eff Walsingham*

                  Shortly after 2000, I started working for a company where our 70-something year old would occasionally (politely) ask any female presenting employee to make him a cup of tea. I obliged, and made it like my mother taught me, the English method, warming the pot, etc. After that, he never asked me again, and I found out later from our (English) office manager that he thought I was trying to kill him! He apparently was accustomed to putting a tea bag in a mug, then running hot water from the tap over it. So the tea I made was way too strong for him. This falls into “sorry-not-sorry” territory as far as I’m concerned. :)

                3. Eff Walsingham*

                  * 70-something year old CEO

                  I would also like to add that I was in the finance department, not the catering department, one of which we did not have.

                4. Consonance*

                  My boss, when I was very young, once asked me to microwave his coffee for him. It was in a paper cup with a plastic lid. So I did microwave it, set it back down on his desk, made eye contact, and said “you shouldn’t microwave plastic. It will leach estrogens into your drink.” He never asked me to microwave it again.

                5. Ismone*

                  This reminds me of a poem:

                  by Shel Silverstein

                  If you have to dry the dishes
                  (Such an awful, boring chore)
                  If you have to dry the dishes
                  (‘Stead of going to the store)
                  If you have to dry the dishes
                  And you drop one on the floor —
                  Maybe they won’t let you
                  Dry the dishes anymore.

                6. MissBaudelaire*

                  I don’t like coffee and never have. ExJob everyone else did, and complained that I never made coffee. I said I’d switch them all too decaf and then give them espresso.

                  I would have, too.

                7. STAT!*

                  I’ve only once been asked to make the tea/ coffee in all my working life. Oddly enough the bevvies turned out weak and lukewarm. (More mature me now considers this passive-aggressive behaviour, but at least I was never asked to cater again.)

                8. Lissajous*

                  Mine went one further: I’d tell them not only do I do not drink coffee (true and everyone knows it, I’m a tea fiend all the way), and the only coffee I know how to make is instant for my mum, who likes hers to look like anaemic tea.

                  No one ever took me up on the coffee I could make, and no one ever asked me twice.

                  (To be fair to the manager in question, he only ever asked if it was in the middle of a long group thing and someone was going down to the kitchen for a refill, and if it was him he’d cheerfully bring back cuppas for any who asked. If it was many people he’d get the receptionist to help! And if it was Coffee Van Time during a long session (we weren’t walking distance from any coffee shops, so a van came by daily), receptionist would duck in to the room, take orders, and he’d pay for anyone in that meeting who was ordering.)

                9. Tasha*

                  Exactly what I did. I noped out of all coffee wars forever (work and church) by saying I don’t drink coffee, therefore I don’t make it

                10. Anne Elliot*

                  This is literally why I don’t drink coffee. Okay, the real reason I don’t drink coffee is I don’t like the taste, but this is why I never LEARNED to like coffee (as I have learned to like, say, beer): I was told in an early job that it’s the most junior employee’s job to make the daily coffee (and contribute to the coffee fund) and I told them I didn’t drink coffee, didn’t know how to make coffee, and therefore would not be doing anything coffee-related. And by remaining coffee-avoidant, I have also avoided all coffee wars and duties ever since. I do drink tea, but I bring my own.

                11. MigraineMonth*

                  @Eff Walsingham – I am far from English about my tea (I’ll stick a mug of cold water in the microwave with the teabag already in it) but I have never heard of making tea by running hot tap water over a tea bag! That sounds like it makes incredibly weak tea.

                12. MigraineMonth*

                  I genuinely tried to make coffee, I just didn’t know the purpose of the coffee filter. I maintain that the coffee was fine, just a bit crunchy.

                13. Crooked Bird*


                  HOT WATER FROM THE TAP??????

                  We need a Tea Crimes court in the Hague just so we can drag this guy in front of it. WHAT?

            2. Arts Akimbo*

              Haha, good point! Perhaps the OP should “quit drinking coffee”, too. Bring her coffee in a travel mug or keep a box of cold brew hidden in a drawer like Lou Grant with his scotch bottles.

              1. Runner up*

                I would *absolutely* “quit drinking coffee” in this scenario. Maybe I’ve developed a tea habit? Maybe I’m cutting back on caffeine because I’ve been having trouble sleeping? Maybe I only want cappuccinos from here on out. Whatever it takes to opt out…

                1. Dog momma*

                  Personally, I’d tell them its too much trouble, esp when I bent over backwards trying to get the coffee they liked, & they still weren’t satisfied. Bring your own coffee in the the neck with them

            3. UKDancer*

              That thought occurred to me as well. I’m sure they decided not to drink coffee given the amount of fuss and difficulty involved in this coffee process. OP may wish to do similarly.

            4. Momma Bear*

              I thought this as well.

              If I were OP, I’d either bring a large mug/thermos of my own home-brewed coffee or get a small coffee maker to keep in my own space and let the other admins buy whatever they want. If they ask, say that they clearly know what they like and it’s not a product available to you, so you are opting out of the office coffee pot option.

              Even if OP could Instacart the coffee, that’s additional time/expense dealing with Instacart. I’d just nope out and let them have their coffee pot war without me. It’s a waste of time and money trying to appease them.

              1. Taxes Schmaxes*

                Not to mention Instacart charges a yearly subscription fee also. Costco’s subscription is cheaper.

                1. Willow*

                  Instacart has an optional premium version, but you can order without the subscription (you just pay higher fees on the individual orders).

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            I think that is a foregone conclusion. OP, join the senior partners and nope out of the Great Coffee Debate, and get a good travel mug or a small single serve pot for your workspace.

            1. Hoya Lawya*

              This is absolutely one area where OP is entitled to pull rank. She’s tried helping the admins in good faith, and they’re being unreasonable. Become part of the “lawyers handle their own coffee” crowd.

              1. L'étrangère*

                Absolutely right! She’s not stuck in some weird admin power struggle here, just because she’s a woman, she can step out any time. And even feed them the “it’s not right for admins to pay for lawyer coffee” line, which should shut them right up

          2. kt*

            AeroPress! AeroPress! Esp for a coffee snob! You get an electric kettle with temp control and then you can brew to your preference in all the ways! You could get wild and do the pourover, but it gets messier in my experience.

            1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

              Another vote for the Aeropress! It was my go-to office coffee solution. I have two, and one always lived at the office.

              1. Timothy (TRiG)*

                And James Hoffman has a three-part series on YouTube explaining how to use it, because of course he does.

        2. The Cosmic Avenger*

          This is what I came here to say. I’ve used a 1-Cup Pour-Over Coffee Brew Cone with #4 filters for years at the office, because 1) I can make whatever I want, whenever I want, 2) I didn’t have to clean out the carafes that SOMEONE nearly emptied and put back on the hot burner, 3) I was tired of the pot always being empty when I went for coffee; apparently I’m the only one who knows how to make coffee.

          OP, just buy one, they’re like $10, and then you can make whatever coffee you want for yourself. Even without all the passive-aggressive fussiness, I’d have advised that. Now, it’s probably the only choice that’ll keep you sane.

          1. Ace in the Hole*

            Alternatively, you can get a basic french press for about the same amount. Fresh coffee whenever I want in less than 5 minutes!

            1. WearAllTheHats*

              I used to agree. Aeropress Go has hands-down made it way, way easier to clean up than French press, but maybe not as easy as pour-over in a paper filter.

              As a general response to the post: It’s so, so, so RIDICULOUS that this is an issue. And I’ve managed offices and I know how annoying and self-centered people can get about their precious bean juice. One shouldn’t want to strangle coworkers on the daily, at least not over coffee. Remove yourself (OP) from the conundrum and bask in the peace of mind.

    3. RC*

      In the Beforetimes I regularly used my tiny single-serve office french press, and it was great. So you can make single-servings of as fancy a coffee as you like without the ecological nightmare of plastic waste that is a Keurig! I think the Bodum ones are like $20?

      (I somehow think that the problem is not that they are too snobby with their coffee though, and if they’re not reasonable enough to say “we only want Kirkland” when that’s apparently what they mean, then they might also not be receptive to switching away from a communal coffee pot)

      1. RunShaker*

        Came here to say the same….can you just opt out? And bring your own coffee in a thermos? If not, using an empty Kirkland container would be next option. I’m betting if you put your own coffee in Kirkland container, they will not know the difference. I would love it if you tested this theory to see if it worked and report back in an update!

        1. JustEm*

          As a coffee drinker, I cannot imagine that they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Different brands/types of coffee are quite distinct (OP agrees with this – they don’t like the Kirkland brand but do like the other kinds that taste different)

            1. birb*

              Hahaha, imagine if she slowly mixed in the new coffee at higher and higher levels, like when you change your cat to diet food!

            2. RC*

              I dunno… I think there’s a decent chance it would work. Something something about how people judge how good a wine is by what art is on the bottle and how even supposed experts can’t tell the difference in a statistically robust manner? I think it’s at least worth a shot.

              (But seriously, tiny french press)

          1. Le Sigh*

            You’re 100% right about there being obvious differences (I say as a person who’s monthly coffee budget is…too high). But given the behavior they’ve exhibited (“it says it has “notes of chocolate truffle, smoke, and caramel.” They insist it is flavored.”) makes me think this is less about coffee and more about control. They strike me as the type who would like some dish or drink, rave about it even, only to find the packaging and insist they knew all along.

            1. AngryOctopus*

              1000% this. Anyone who likes coffee knows that lots of places sell it with those “tasting notes”. This is a weird power thing.
              Either they give OP a real specific name, or they shut up about it. Although I do think OP should be bringing their own single serve coffee solution which they keep with them.

              1. Le Sigh*

                Yeah, I said this elsewhere, but OP’s officemates sound like they’re gonna be drama llamas no matter what they do or don’t do. I say just nope out of this whole thing and do your own thing.

            2. Mine Own Telemachus*

              Yeah, specifically requesting the darkest roast is a red flag to me as a coffee drinker – dark roast, especially from big box stores, tends to take on a burnt aftertaste that’s very bitter. It’s possible to do dark roast well, but I’m guessing these admins aren’t looking for that.

              1. stratospherica*

                Yeah, at the risk of sounding like a snob myself, insisting on the darkest roast possible and preferring a supermarket brand flags them as “coffee is coffee is coffee” types to me (which isn’t a bad thing – it’s more economical than only liking the fancy expensive light roasts that I’m into!). It may indeed be that they can’t tell one brand from the other.

                1. Enai*

                  A “coffee is coffee is coffee” type person would not fuss about getting the wrong kind of coffee, though. Any bean juice that’s not decaf should do. And I second the “dark roast” hate. Like with toast, darker is not always better. Few people wish to eat or drink expensive charcoal.

                2. stratospherica*

                  @Enai, you’re right that a regular “coffee is coffee” person probably wouldn’t care, unless they had some kind of power play in mind. I was thinking of this along the lines of “it’s a control thing”

              2. Wired Wolf*

                I recently went to a foodservice trade show and discovered a small coffee roaster company called Fogbuster; they use an air-roasting process. Smooth like you wouldn’t believe, and it tastes like coffee even after it’s cooled down. Their dark roast is absolute heaven.

            3. Lyssa*

              This works with my son. He thinks he likes a specific brand of coffee. My thrifty daughter-in-law dumps Costco coffee in the can and he thinks it’s just fine. Everybody’s happy.

              1. Anonymous married coffee drinker*

                As a spouse and a coffee drinker, this is really weird to me. Are we sure son isn’t aware and going on with the charade because his wife and parent are in a weird conspiracy and he wants out of the deceit and drama? If my partner did this to me, I’d taste the difference in the coffee, but my real concern would be that something was wrong with our relationship.

          2. Phryne*

            There is this programme on the BBC where a family lives for a week with all groceries in neutral packaging with about half of the products swapped out for a cheaper or generic brand. It is amazing how many people do not just not recognise their gourmet expensive brands, being absolutely sure it was swapped for some cheap second rate stuff, or will insist a supermarket own brand of a quarter the price is their beloved product, they would recognise it anywhere.
            There power of branding is real. Maybe they will notice (and OP can innocently state that it must be a bad batch), it they will drink it and swear nothing tastes like it.

            1. Le Sigh*

              I will not deny the impact of branding and am with you people often not being able to tell. I can’t imagine I’ll notice the difference between store mac and cheese and kraft, or a lot of other things.

              But I will also not deny the difference between real Cheerios and fake, or my parents’ Choc Full o’ Nuts and my own coffee. It just is.

              1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

                Over the years, I’ve swapped out the private label brands for a lot of our groceries. If I get push back because it genuinely tastes different, I’ll go back to the name brand, but honestly, that’s few and far between. Store brand soda, Pop-Tarts, and Triscuits/Wheat Thins (one store’s Triscuit knock offs are great, but their Wheat Thins aren’t; it’s vice versa for the other store I shop at- and I can’t remember which is which anymore) are the ones I know off the top of my head. But a can of black beans? Sorry, you’re getting the generic- it’s perfectly fine.

                1. shedubba*

                  Yes! I do most of my shopping at Aldi, so almost everything we buy is generic. There are few things where I can tell the difference, and an even smaller number of things where the difference is enough to overcome the price difference.

                2. Enoby*

                  Sometimes big name brands change their recipes and aren’t as good, while the generics are still using their old knockoff recipe so they taste better than the thing they’re supposedly a less-than substitute for. I remember years ago Noxzema removed some of the ingredients (camphor I think) while the store brands kept them. Sometimes store brand is basically the same, sometimes it’s worse, and sometimes it’s even better, especially with so many grocery stores trying to up their game lately.

                3. Michelle*

                  On a lot of those items, the store brand is identical to the name brand. Literally made in the same factory with the same recipe and ingredients. That doesn’t mean all store brands are exactly the same as all name brands, but if you buy “generic Poptarts” you are most likely buying real Poptarts in a generic box.

              2. Artemesia*

                I don’t know w hat they dust cheerios with but they can absolutely not be replaced with generic. It is hilarious that these people are such coffee snobs but are unaware that coffee has flavor profiles which are listed as ‘notes’ of chocolate or truffle or meyer lemon or plum or whatever.

                I’d opt out of the nonsense.

                1. Le Sigh*

                  I’m not a Cheerios scientist, but I’m pretty sure it’s the density. The fake ones have less crunch and feel airy.

                2. Aitch Arr*

                  Generic “Oat Hoops” are fine for homemade Chex Mix.
                  Only the Real Deal go in my cereal bowl.

              3. Mars Jenkar*

                Agreed. Aldi is one of my staple stores to shop at because I long ago realized that in many cases, the branding doesn’t matter (or at least doesn’t matter enough). There are a few exceptions, though–knockoff Cheerios, for example, never get the texture right.

              4. Brandy*

                My mom only ever bought store brand cheerios. I can ABSOLUTELY tell the difference in them and the name brand. The brand is sooo much better.

                Most things, I’m fine with store brands. But not Cheerios.

                1. iglwif*

                  Yes. Store brand Shreddies: sure. Store brand Cheerios: absolutely not.

                  I legitimately prefer the PC cheesy penguin crackers to goldfish crackers, which is nice for me because they’re slightly cheaper. I cannot tell the difference between store-brand english muffins and the brand-name ones that cost twice as much. I have never been able to tell the difference between one brand of butter and another. Brick cream cheese for baking can be any brand, no difference, but some brands of spreadable cream cheese (not necessarily the most expensive) ARE better than others.

              5. Llama face!*

                I can definitely distinguish between Kraft and cheap brand mac ‘n’ cheese but it’s because the macaroni noodles are generally wider/thicker for Kraft. I like the skinny cheap brand noodles much better! (But the cheese sauce is pretty indistinguishable)

            2. Momma Bear*

              I wouldn’t do this only because some people are allergic to some products. For whatever reason, I cannot drink Peet’s coffee and I need to know what kind of coffee is being used to avoid an issue. If I were OP I’d let them be particular without me.

              1. Enai*

                I think the frustration is not that they’re particular, per se – it’s that they say “dark roast, no flavorings” but actually mean “kirkland or bust” and also deny it when confronted. Like, if you just want Costco store brand thing #137, just admit it! Dancing around it is just a waste of time and aggravation.

            3. Sharpie*

              I drink instant, but I can taste the difference between brands – Cafe Noir and Kenco are too strong and bitter for me, but I’m quite happy with the Asda own-brand gold roast instead of Dowe Egbert or even Nescafé. People who insist on a really dark roast don’t know what good coffee is, they’ve got too used to the burnt bitter flavour.

            4. New Jack Karyn*

              Wasn’t this an advertising thing for some instant coffee, decades ago? “We swapped out the fancy coffee at the fancy restaurant with our brand, and everybody loved it!”

            5. SimonTheGreyWarden*

              My one bow to brand names is Creamy Jif natural as opposed to other peanut butters. I can taste a difference on that one. We literally do not buy any other brand name things beyond that unless there is no cost difference/no alternative.

          3. Gingerblue*

            On the one hand, you’d think they’d notice, and on the other hand, I keep thinking of the story not long ago in the “dramatic reactions to mundane changes” post about the company that changed the color of the trays their sushi came on, and how people insisted that the exact same sushi was dramatically worse on red trays.

            First story here:

        2. sam_i_am*

          I’m betting if you put your own coffee in Kirkland container, they will not know the difference.

          It’s quite easy to tell the difference between different coffee blends. No way this will work unless everyone uses a ton of milk and sugar/flavored syrup in their coffee.

          1. Le Sigh*

            Would not be shocked to find out that after all this pissing and moaning, they drown their coffee in flavored creamers.

            1. Yorick*

              Honestly, that’s why I sometimes go for dark roast to make espressos – because it tastes stronger in my cappuccino

            2. Cat Tree*

              I use tons of flavored creamers and I can still easily tell the difference between my usual coffee and other coffees.

        3. Just Another Cog*

          I LOVE this solution of Alison’s!

          When my Mom and Dad were the broke parents of five little kids, they had to economize where they could. My Dad complained about the No-name coffee my Mom bought…said it tasted terrible and to never buy it again. My Mom, from then on, put cheap (ass!) store brand coffee in an old Folger’s can. My Dad was none the wiser.

      2. Lacaille*

        After the one guy in the office who actually cleaned the communal coffee urns left the company, I also switched to a small Bodum french press and loved it both in-office and when I moved to WFH (until I quit caffeine and now the poor thing is collecting dust). So easy!! Bringing and brewing your own coffee sort of seems like the way to go when there’s only 3 people in LW’s coffee group and it’s causing so much trouble anyway.

        1. Silver Robin*

          French presses are great for any drink that requires steeping/straining! I grew up thinking they were for tea because that is primarily what my parents used it for. In case you want to take it out for a spin every once in a while

          1. Some Words*

            A press is lovely for loose tea. Now I just need to find someplace that sells good loose tea in my new(ish) area.

            As for the coffee; I’d try to find a diplomatic way to say “As my choices seem to be unacceptable to the group I’m just going to back out of the coffee club and be responsible for my own beverages.”

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              I buy mine online. There are several outfits eager to sell to you. I use Harney & Sons. The quality is good and the prices within reason.

              1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

                Seconding (thirding?) Harney and Adagio. I used to like David’s, but they’ve been disappointing lately.

      3. Le Sigh*

        Yeah I despised our office coffee set up at my last job … so I just brought my own french press and coffee. Did I get teased as being too good for the free office coffee (which was basically water with a hint of coffee and which everyone complained about)? Yes. Did I also get to drink actual coffee, as much as I wanted, exactly how I wanted? Also yes. OP’s officemates sound like they’re gonna be drama llamas no matter what so just do what you want.

          1. Phryne*

            It comes in levels of ass though. The coffee at my work for years and years was ‘bad, but you get used to it’. Now they have swapped about half of the machines for a different type (which is faster and probably cheaper) and I have found that I, who has always thought that I have no real lower limit on coffee quality, I appreciate good coffee but I will drink the bad if that is what there is, have indeed a bottom boundary of what I consider drinkable coffee. And what comes out of these new machines is below it.

            I now walk to the other side of the building to get coffee from one of the old machines.

                1. Le Sigh*

                  You are right though — one office had free, gas-station/McDonald’s level quality. That I was happy to drink. Warm water with a hint of coffee, complete with grinds floating in it, is just an insult in a cup.

              1. Ex consultant*

                Airplane coffee? I haven’t flown since well before the pandemic, but airplane coffee was where I used to draw the line.

                1. Le Sigh*

                  I’ll drink airplane coffee, but I draw the line at the thrice-microwaved coffee my mom reheats, forgets about, reheats, forgets about, reheats, and then finally drinks.

                2. Phryne*

                  Last time I flew it was pretty decent drip through filter coffee. But probably depends on the airline.

                3. Kevin Sours*

                  I did an airplane commute for awhile and if there was a NASCAR at the California Speedway it could be hard to find a room. I ended up at a fleabag motel with some off off brand instant. But after an early flight and a day of work I figured anything would be better than the caffeine headache I was rocking. That was not correct.

                4. Le Sigh*

                  Omg instant coffee. My cousin once tried to convince me that his jar of Folgers instant coffee–opened 10 months earlier, sitting in the pantry ever since–would be just as good as the local shop, and cheaper!

                  No, buddy. Just no.

                5. Hoya Lawya*

                  One Mile at a Time has good reviews of airline coffee.

                  Some airlines will indeed make you an espresso or cappuccino or latte in J.

                  Austrian Airlines goes further and will recreate elaborate coffee drinks you find in Vienna cafés.

                6. fly like a G6*

                  I remember watching some documentary on airline food and that the pressurized dry air in the cabin messes with your taste buds which is why stuff tastes weird on flights unless it’s strongly flavored. Which is part of the reason airplane coffee tastes off. And also why things like ginger ale, tomato juice, etc are more popular on planes

          2. iglwif*

            Right but there’s ass and there’s ABSOLUTE ASS. I can sigh and put up with one end of the spectrum but towards the other end, I’m bringing my own thermos of coffee from home.

            1. allathian*

              When I started my current job 16 years ago, we had percolators in each kitchen. Everyone was supposed to take their turn making coffee and cleaning the percolator, in practice it was usually either the office manager who seemed to think of herself as an “office grandma” and definitely considered making coffee to be a part of her job description, or one of the young female admins (ugh). Even the cheapest store brand was good enough because the coffee was always freshly made before our 9 am and 2 pm coffee breaks.

              All that ended when the owner of the office building decided to ban percolators because they were apparently a fire hazard and my employer leased coffee vending machines instead. The coffee was absolutely horrible with powdery grounds in it, and the milk substitute disgusting, to the point that I learned to drink black coffee at work and only drank white coffee when I needed a laxative… To add insult to injury, they also charged 50 cents for a cup of muddy coffee.

              I solved the problem by buying a small thermos until I got sick of carrying it and switched to a French press instead.

              Because complaints about the coffee were coming up in employee satisfaction surveys year after year, and switching coffee providers was a fairly easy way to improve employee satisfaction, when the lease ran out on the crappy machines they switched. The new machine grinds the coffee for each cup, it takes a while longer but IMO the quality improvement is worth the wait. I still drink my coffee black at work, but now it tastes like coffee rather than caffeinated mud, and I can adjust the strength to extra strong and put some cold water in it instead of milk so I don’t have to wait for it to cool. The best part is that now the coffee’s free.

              I do drink tea as well, but because I prefer fairly weak tea, I don’t get the caffeine I need from it. At home I have a kettle with adjustable temperature, so I can drink gourmet white and green teas in water that’s the right temperature (if you think green and white teas are bitter, you’ve probably either brewed them in water that’s too hot, let them steep for too long, or both), no such luck at work, though.

      4. Banana Pyjamas*

        The Biden that makes 4 (3) servings is $25 at target. It has a metal filter you clean each use. I love mine.

        1. Le Sigh*

          Wow, the president’s re-election campaign is taking on some interesting tactics to seem relatable.

          1. Trixie the Great and Pedantic*

            I want you to know that I tried to press the upvote button before remembering that I wasn’t on Reddit.

            1. Le Sigh*


              Now I desperately want someone to create Cup o’ Joe, a Biden robot that dispenses coffee, and when you take your cup, it says “4 more cups!”

          2. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

            Finally, a political slogan I can support! A bit long for a bumper sticker but you can’t have everything.

          3. Wired Wolf*

            ROFL. New metric for elected officials? “Sure they know policy, but can they make good coffee?”

      5. Observer*

        In the Beforetimes I regularly used my tiny single-serve office french press, and it was great. So you can make single-servings of as fancy a coffee as you like without the ecological nightmare of plastic waste that is a Keurig! I think the Bodum ones are like $20?

        There are a a number of decent options that don’t cost a lot. The single server machine I have can take a Keurig type pod, but it also has a basket for ground coffee. At home I have a little 5 cup machine which doesn’t take pods, but it’s small enough that if I’m doing my usual large mug, I fill the basket with 2 cups worth of coffee and fill the machine that way, and it’s fine. And I found a small reusable filter, so I don’t even have to toss out the paper filters.

        Then there are things like the Aerobi Aeropress, which doesn’t even need a plug, as long as you have access to hot water. Or a Pour Over, for people who are not coffee snobs. Again, all you need is access to hot water (although it can be a bit of a pain if you are getting your hot water from a water cooler with a hot faucet.)

        I think that the most I’ve paid for any of these is $25 Prices have probably gone up, but none of these options are expensive.

        1. pagooey*

          Yeah, I have a Keurig, but bought reusable pods for it and put in my own coffee–marginally better flavor, no recycling nightmare! (I live in Seattle, so I also have a French press AND an electric percolator…plus at least 3 different coffee house punch cards in my wallet at any given time, per civic ordinance.)

          1. Beth*

            This is the way. Get a Keurig and each person gets their own reusable pod. They can buy whatever coffee they want and you can buy whatever coffee you want,

      6. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        I have a french press at home. Well, technically my mother has a french press at my home from when she helped me move here, across the country. I don’t drink coffee (yay, tea!), but she does, and not having easy access to her morning cuppa for a week was not going to fly.

        1. Sorrischian*

          My parents, bless them, just bring their own french press and however many days worth of pre-ground beans when they come to visit me. I’m a tea fiend, so I’ve got a nice hot water kettle, and this way everybody gets their preferred morning beverage with minimal hassle.

          1. Timothy (TRiG)*

            You have a kettle because you’re “a tea fiend”. I have a kettle because I’m Irish, and therefore the concept of not having a kettle is foreign to me. I’ve never seen a kitchen (in a private house or in an office) without a kettle.

            1. londonedit*

              Yep, same here in England and across the UK. I find the fact that Americans think kettles are for ‘tea fiends’ hilarious (though I think it has something to do with the difference in electricity voltage? I think it can take ages to boil a kettle in the US whereas here you can boil a full kettle in under a minute). Kettles are such a staple here that standard advice when you move house is to pack a box with the kettle, tea bags, mugs, milk etc separately and bring it with you in the car, so you know you can make a cup of tea as soon as you move in rather than having to go through umpteen boxes to find the kettle.

              1. Enai*

                Same in Germany. A kitchen without an electric kettle? Only if the boiler above the sink is one of those with a tank that actually literally boils the water that comes out of the “hot” tap. Otherwise, the motto is “Excess hot water? If you don’t need it right away, freeze it for later :-p”

                Then again, everyone has at least _some_ kind of tea (black, green or herbal), so maybe we also count as tea fiends?

              2. SnackAttack*

                What’s weird is that everyone I know in the US has an electric kettle that works quite well and quickly. They use it for tea, coffee, hot chocolate, baking, basically anything that requires hot water. Maybe it’s just a regional thing, since apparently it’s not as common to own one as I thought!

                1. Aitch Arr*

                  I think electric kettles have become more common in the USA in recent decades. Back when my parents bought their first one – 1986, after a vacation to Australia where they discovered the ‘billy’ – it was very hard to find in the US, expensive, and no one else had one.

              3. Bluenoser*

                It’s funny, Canadians are not known as tea fiends (see our national institution, Tim Hortons), but everyone I know certainly has an electric kettle. This conversation reminds me of one of those clickbait articles that suggested that dish brushes are a Canadian phenomenon. I’ve been puzzled ever since. How do you do dishes without a dish brush?

            2. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

              US here- I didn’t get my electric kettle until I started becoming a tea snob (I used a stovetop kettle at home and used boiling water for any type of tea). Then I started getting picky about temperatures and steeping times, and brought a variable temp kettle into work so that I don’t have to depend on the hot water dispenser in the break room.

      7. Maglev to Crazytown*

        I went to the French press in an office with one of those industrial sized coffee makers that used like coffee-flavored sawdust. Everyone hated it, it was objectively terrible coffee, but everyone drank it because it was caffeine and what building services automatically supplied.

        We did have a mini ultra hot water heater attached to the sink to supply water for tea, etc. I brought in my own fresh grounds and half and half, kept my French press in my desk, and did that every morning, and disposed of the grounds neatly in the trash.

        My idea caught on, and I had coworkers will Aeropresses, Bodums, etc do the same.

        In the Nowtimes of remote work, I still start my day with a French press because it is such a tasty and soothing morning ritual.

      8. Tarragon*

        If you want to go your own coffee way let me suggest an Aeropress instead of a french press.


        It makes excellent coffee and is easy to clean significantly easier to clean than a french press.

      9. A Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa Cup*

        I used a Bodum electric kettle (purchased in 1995 for ~$9 on clearance) and a Melitta cone (purchased in 1989 for $6) for YEARS at work to make pour-over coffee that would make a modern coffee snob weep with joy. I still have both of these items, btw; the kettle lives in my office, where I use it to make tea once or twice a week. The Melitta cone… well, the last time I used it was to make coffee when the electricity was out but I had a gas stove to heat water on, which was about 15 years ago, but I can’t bring myself to part with something so useful that’s also small enough to fit in a drawer. (I have nothing to contribute to the LW that’s better than AAM’s last paragraph; just wanted to throw in my 2 cents on single-serve coffee in the office.)

      10. Selina Luna*

        I had a reusable filter for my Keurig that I would also sometimes bring with me to my parents so that I could have my excellent coffee and Mom could have her disgusting decaf. I miss that. Both the Keurig and the little basket. I lost them in the move. I’ll probably unearth them this spring, though.

      1. Emily*

        Yep! I think this is actually the best solution. Bring coffee for yourself and tell the admins you are opting out.

    4. Antilles*

      Agreed. Or the similar alternative of just brewing your own coffee at home and bringing it in a thermos.
      If the partners were involved in this, maybe there’d be office politics pushing you to stay part of the rotation, but given that their stance is “we don’t care if coffee even exists”, I feel like OP can just completely opt out of the system.

      1. MK*

        The partners are the reason for this whole dumb mess. They don’t drink coffee so they won’t provide this miniscule perk for their employees? Unless they have some particular objection to coffee, that’s incredibly cheap.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          Wonder if this drama happened with someone before OPs time as well and the solution was “buy your own coffee because we won’t subsidize this fighting”.

        2. Expelliarmus*

          Someone above had a theory that the reason they don’t provide coffee is because before OP started, the admins made such a fuss about the coffee in general that the partners decided not to supply any coffee at all, and that’s the only thing that would make this reasonable IMO.

        3. Pounce de Lion*

          I agree completely. Save time = save money by providing beverages for staff. (won’t solve the squabbling over brand, though)

      2. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

        This is exactly what I would do. “I am really fussy about my coffee so I make my own at home.” (Which is true.)

    5. LCH*

      this was my suggestion unless it isn’t collegial enough? like, OP can buy their own coffee, maybe get a one-cup coffee drip topper, and the assistants can handle themselves since they both like the same coffee?

      1. Cmdrshprd*

        I bought a $15/20 single serve automated drip coffee maker before. It is very small to not take up much space and sit on/in my desk. it has a single full water reservoir.

        it is a little more work than using the communal pot, but not .much more than getting up from your desk taking the reservoir to fill it and bringing it back.

        the one I bought had its own mug.

    6. AnyaT*

      I’m also wondering why everyone can’t just supply their own. Like, if the 2 admins want to go in on their monthly Kirkland purchase, great, but I’d just tell them I loathe Kirkland and am going to opt out and get my own going forward. Problem solved – no one is out of pocket and everyone gets the coffee they want. Am I missing something?

      1. Ahnon4Thisss*

        Yep, I can see them complaining that LW’s coffee made their coffee taste bad if they used the same machine but different pots to brew it.

        Just opt out of this circus, LW. This is not worth the fight.

      2. Caliente Papillon*

        With this behavior they’ve lost the luxury of anyone giving a crap about their responses!

      3. MigraineMonth*

        Too true, but this is option has the advantage of OP ending up with coffee they like and not having to spend an extra fee for coffee they don’t like. Whining from the admins seems to be inevitable.

    7. Cubicles & Chimeras*

      You don’t want to risk upsetting the admins because you don’t like their coffee though, guarantee if they’re this kind of petty, they’re the type to consider the OP too snobby if they suddenly show up with a french press. I’d follow Alison’s suggestions regarding the kirkland problem, and let them get all the costco coffee they want. Then suffer kirkland for a month or so, let things return to normal, and then go to a personal option to avoid the kirkland. Thermos, pour over, french press, whatever. Say it was a gift from whomever (your grandma) and you’re going to do your best to use it.

      I can drink diner coffee sludge after years of slinging it, but I am a coffee snob in my daily life, why not enjoy good beans?

    8. Jamjari*

      Well, and the two admins who are complaining could have the pot and use it to make as much Kirkland coffee as they want. If it were me, I’d bow out, saying I’ll get my own coffee … but after figuring out polite words. Heck, you could even say ‘apparently I really like flavoured coffee … I’m going to start brining a thermos, and you all can take turns with your coffee”

    9. She of Many Hats*

      OP – Please report back if you do the recycled Kirkland container and what the results were. I’d just dump the Folgers into the Kirkland. Especially if you research it and find out the Kirkland’s is actually Folgers branded for Costco (which many store branded things actually are).

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I believe most of Kirkland’s house brand coffees are custom roasts from Starbucks actually.

      2. Frustrated Fundraiser*

        I would swear I’ve read that Kirkland coffee is made by Starbucks which would explain why plain black Kirkland is so bad. I’ve never had it. I like *flavored*

      3. Office Plant Queen*

        Costco often offers organic as their default for produce and I wouldn’t be surprised if the coffee is the same. But even if not, they tend to pride themselves on quality – not like whole foods level, but their target market is mostly people who have enough money to have aspirations and seek out quality but not enough money that they don’t get excited about a bargain. Of course, pre-ground coffee is rarely good because its hard to keep fresh for long, so I’m betting the coffee is one step up from Folgers.

        (Actually just googled this before I hit submit – it’s apparently starbucks coffee!)

        1. Washingtonian*

          Costco and Starbucks both had their starts within miles of each other in Washington state so the Kirkland coffee being Starbucks is very unsurprising.

    10. CLC*

      I’d just opt out of the whole thing like the partners apparently have. Bring your coffee from home, stop at Starbucks on the way in, or buy a mini French press.

    11. goddessoftransitory*

      Right? I’m reading this going “OMG these twin giant babies can haul their asses to Starbucks like normal people!” Or buy their own giant tubs of coffee or everybody gets their own French press or whatever. This has turned into a ridiculous dick-swinging contest where the LW has to hear about “notes of caramel” from two grown men.

    12. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Exactly. Or the admins can keep up with their system of sharing and the LW can bring their own coffee. Heck, bring in a French press for your own use so there’s no complaints about lingering contamination from your evil flavoured coffee.

      Because the LW drinking coffee they don’t like forever doesn’t seem like the ideal outcome.

    13. MCMonkeyBean*

      If nothing else it definitely seems like OP should opt out of this “coffee club” and just be responsible for their own coffee. They don’t like what others provide and others are bugging them about what they provide. So OP please just tell them you’re just going to do your own coffee from now on!

    14. LW*

      Hi all! OP here — I have some answers. We are a non-profit/legal aid/public defender type deal (paid by grants) so that’s part of why the coffee isn’t paid for by the firm. Part of the reason this situation is so annoying is that I work in a notoriously low-paying do-gooder lawyer job (that I ADORE!) in a rural county, but I live in a nearby big city with high rent, so I legitimately cannot afford to go to a coffee shop every day. We also go through two+ pots a day between the three of us. IF we are taking turns, it is sadly a million times cheaper to play along than the coffee shop/bring from home route. I have offered to pay entirely by myself with coffee I like just for my own moral comfort, but obviously I’m not going to continue spending money throwing darts hoping something sticks.

      THAT SAID, I got a keurig as a gift for Hanukkah (with reusable pods), and I think bringing it in, at least until I go through the ground coffee that I purchased for the office already, is a very good idea. I actually hadn’t thought about that, so I’m glad I wrote in!!

      As for gaslighting the admins, one of the admins does, indeed, put creamer in her coffee, and I don’t think she can tell the difference. The other one drinks it black and did not comment when I made the Peet’s one once before she got in. I don’t think this is a power play thing — we’re very friendly otherwise — I think they’re sweet older ladies who just don’t like change. I could probably do the tub switch-out, and I’m not going to lie, I am tempted, but I’d feel bad lying. If I do get to that point I will absolutely report back. For science.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful answers! And thank you Alison for giving airtime to my petty office coffee war lol

      1. Saturday*

        Yes! Please bring in your own, for the sake of my peace of mind! Okay, just kidding, but thinking about those two complaining each time is driving me nuts!

      2. Shenandoah*

        OP, this is the type of thing that will sit in my brain – please, I NEED to know how the petty coffee war stands in a couple more months. I hope the keurig solves it though!

      3. jane's nemesis*

        Can you clarify why you think the Target brand ran out suspiciously quickly? Did they actually like that one and that’s why it ran out so fast? Or did they also hate it and you suspect they were throwing it away to make it run out faster?

          1. Ellie*

            Wow. If they’re really nice old ladies, how would you go if you gently leaned on their consciences? As in, ‘I really wish we had some of that target coffee. I liked that one, and I can’t afford to buy another. I just really don’t like Kirkland, is there any brand that all three of us like, so that I can enjoy coffee too?’.

      4. OMG, Bees!*

        For fun results: switch out the Peet’s coffee into one of the Kirkland tubs. I’m curious if they would even notice or if they did, maybe realize how trifling they were in not wanting any change, like you noticed.

        For safer results: that Keurig machine for your own coffee and removing yourself from their rotation seems best

      5. Yorick*

        As other people have noted, the Kirkland brand is Starbucks coffee, so it might help to buy a dark roast from Starbucks if other options don’t work

      6. Sunday*

        You can buy Kirkland Coffee on Amazon. Slight markup.

        Alternately, you can go to a Costco without a membership if you have a Costco gift card.

    15. lilsheba*

      Yup that would be great, bring in a french press which is one of the best brewing methods (or a small pour over pot which is what I do at home) and your own coffee and everyone is happy. Although I think it’s bs that if the partners don’t like coffee then they won’t provide it for ANYONE! that’s dumb.

    16. Umami*

      Yeah, I’m thinking, just get a Keurig and everyone can bring their favorite K-cups, problem solved.

    17. Awkwardness*

      That was my first thought too. They can have their coffee, I have mine. I am not playing those stupid games.

      But I like AAMs suggestion of re-using a container quite a lot.

    18. Jade*

      Yes. This is ridiculous. Put a coffee maker in your private office LW and let them take care of their own.

    19. Starbuck*

      Yes oh my goodness it does not need to be this complicated! Just get yourself a pour over and make you own coffee a cup at a time or whatever, forget about sharing with them. I’d be done.

    20. Coffee drinker*

      I say, let the two admins have sole custody and control of the coffee pot. It will be for admins only. LW will not drink from this pot, and the two partners don’t drink coffee at all. We’ve now accounted for the ENTIRE 5-person office!

      If LW wants to be able to brew coffee in the office, for their own use and/or for visitors (whether for clients, adversaries, co-counsel, etc.), LW will purchase their own coffee maker which will be subject to LW’s sole custody and control.

    21. Caffiend*

      An aeropress (or knockoff) will make you a great single serve coffee. It’s not quite a proper espresso but it’s much better than french press. I grind a day’s worth of beans at home in the morning and bring them in a little tub. After the initial purchase it will be cheaper AND taste better than what you’re stuck drinking at the moment.

    22. Sparkle Motion*

      I’d just tell the admins I’m opting out and start bringing in my preferred coffee just for myself.

      There’s only so much Goldilocks style hazing I’d put up with, especially if I don’t even like the final product.

    23. OMG, Bees!*

      This seems to be the best to me, but I drink energy drinks (single can!) instead of coffee, so I would be completely removed from the situation.

      I get that LW tried to fit in with the rotating coffee order, but if she is essentially just getting “Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!” on her orders, best to just remove herself from the rotation.

      Coffee wars. They always come back.

    24. Czhorat*

      Buying your own coffee and exiting the rotation doesn’t even cost anyone any more money; if three people take turns buying coffee for three people then they’re essentially buying one person’s worth of coffee consumption. If two people buy coffee for two people it works out the same (unless, of course, these two drink a TON more coffee than you do, in which case you’d be subsidizing them. But in any normal world it’s financially the same thing as “everyone buys their own)

      1. Llama face!*

        It does cost a bit more if you use one of the single serving devices for making coffee because they require more coffee per serving than a coffee pot does. Or at least that’s been my experience, though admittedly it has been ages since I last used a classic electric coffee maker. (I use a Melitta pour-over or french press most days and occasionally a Moka Pot)

    25. linger*

      I am going to hazard a guess that OP’s first bulk purchase “ran out within a week” because at least one partner was stockpiling it to have rather than the cheap-ass flavourless Costco stuff that they don’t like either. But of course the partners can’t officially complain about the Costco blend because they’re not paying for it. Which leaves the other admin staff bitching to OP.
      The solution, therefore, is that the coffee-drinking partners (not the admin staff) need to (a) pay for and (b) go buy their own damned coffee.

      1. edda ed*

        I am only a coffee drinker as a treat (so not regularly, and I don’t make my own), but a big tub of Folgers from Target seems like an odd thing to stockpile. It’s not exactly hard to find or expensive or reputed as primo coffee.

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        The Costco dark roast is not flavorless. You may not like it, but it does have a flavor. And it may be cheaper than a lot of things, but it ain’t Folgers.

    26. LaMi*

      Right? How about swapping the pot out for a Keurig/pod machine (and if lots of waste is not your thing, buy the reusable pods), and everybody brings in their own coffee. Use the coffee that you brought in and let other people use the coffee that they brought in.

      But barring this, I really like Alison‘s last suggestion.

    27. Audrey Puffins*

      Yeah, at this point I’d be explaining that I like different coffee so I’m just going to bring my own in, and they no longer need to provide for me. Let the other two admins supply themselves with the coffee they like, let the LW supply themself with the coffee they like (and keep it in their own desk without the need to share), this really doesn’t have to evolve into a big weird psychodrama

    28. Miss Annie*


      No, hear me out. I only drink one cup a day most days. My kids drink tea. We use a Keurig. I have a small insulated steel french press. Use the Keurig to heat the water. (I have an empty reusable pod in the machine to let me choose the amount of water I get.)

      Everyone brings their own press or drip thingy. Everyone brings their own coffee. Costco delivers, so you can have them order their coffee and submit the receipts (or use the company cc). You bring the good stuff for you. You have a much larger selection of possible coffees and avoid the environmental issues.

      You can keep the coffee pot or get a larger press for guests.

  2. AnonPi*

    Are you allowed to bring in your own personal Keurig (or similar single serve coffee maker)? If so I’d go that route and let the other two have at it with the communal coffee machine.

    1. NYWeasel*

      Yes, the reusable pods you can get on Amazon mean you can have whatever coffee you like best. There are some that are even color coded so each of you could have your own color.

        1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          In some offices, single-serve things like pourover or aeropress would work, but in others it would make the coffee break inconveniently long. I drink coffee at work only because I’m able to walk into the break room, pour a cup from the giant urn, dump in some sugar and half and half, and be out again in about 90 seconds. There are lots of mornings where I don’t have even 4-5 minutes to make coffee in between classes (I’m a teacher) and could imagine the same being true for a law office with lots of client meetings. The quality of the giant urn of coffee is WAY worse than the pourover my husband makes while he works from home, but it gets the job done well enough that it’s worth it for me.

          1. FuzzBunny*

            Valid point! Which brings us back to thermoses. I routinely bring 2-3 separate insulated beverage mugs to work each day (caffeinated tea for the morning, decaf for the afternoon, etc.). If you get a good enough mug, it’ll still be quite hot by afternoon. I use the Contigo, but I know others swear by the Zojirushi, which keeps drinks hot even longer and is also leakproof. (Seriously! I’ve shaken my Contigo upside-down over the sink to test it, and that sucker does not leak, even after the 5ish years I’ve owned it.)

            1. Sononamous*

              Seconding Contigo brand!! I used to throw my Contigo thermos in my backpack with my college textbooks and carry it around all day – no leaks! IMPORTANT CAVEAT THOUGH: I have the kind with the lock switch on the top and a button to open the mouth hole. There is another style they made that SUCKS, which just has a flip cover over the mouth hole.

              1. Wired Wolf*

                Contigo Autoseal FTW. I carried one daily at my old job, and that thing didn’t leak a drop even getting knocked off a desk/pallet racking.

      1. Oxo fan*

        To me, aeropress is too complicated for an office setting. (Delicious! But complicated) I’d do an OXO manual pour over—all you do is put grounds in a filter that sits over your coffee cup, then pour boiling water into the reservoir. The used grounds are contained in a filter and you don’t even need to wash the apparatus much. (We maybe put ours in the dishwasher every two weeks?) It is very low effort and low waste for single serving coffee.

        1. I Have RBF*

          Pour over coffee used to be the purview of the broke – I did this exclusively in college in the 80s – but now it is the method of choice for coffee snobs. I am still using the two Melitta #4 coffee cones I bought in the 80s.

          1. Bee*

            Yeah, I’ve been making pourover coffee for 13 years because when I first moved to the city as an adult I was too broke to justify anything more than the $3 Melitta cone, and while I do now have both a French press and a moka pot, that same $3 cone is still in daily use. (It’s so much easier to clean!)

        2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          Coffee snob chiming in – boiling water is too hot for pour-over. If you don’t have a way to measure temperature, let boiling water sit for a minute or two before using it. (Boiling water will extract more of the bitter compounds from the beans – water just below boiling will get the flavor with less bitterness).

          1. Data Slicentist*

            There are electric kettles that have a temperature setting now. I believe there are even goose-neck ones aimed particularly at pour-over drinkers.

            1. dmk*

              Indeed there are. In my law office, the coffee snobs (I use this term with deep affection) have collaborated to procure a gooseneck, temperature-controlled kettle, a scale for measuring grounds, and a variety of apparatuses for the actual making of coffee (there’s an Aeropress, a few french presses, a Chemex, and I think at least one of the cheap plastic pour-over things that I always associate with camping). I love watching them do their thing – but I just bring in my coffee in a thermos, because I can’t stand Keurig coffee and I don’t have the patience to join the coffee snobs.

            2. Rusty Shackelford*

              I have a Jettle electric kettle (for tea, not coffee) that lets you specify your water temperature – I love it.

      2. CB212*

        Came here to say aeropress! Single serving and you can even make it with the hot water from an office water filter.

        They may not find it as graceful an exit as you will, but take it. It has the best results for everyone: it’s clearly impossible for you to buy coffee they like, and you shouldn’t have to drink coffee you think is nasty two weeks out of three.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yes! All the compromises to let the LW get the Kirkland coffee without needing the membership would be great if LW liked the Kirkland coffee, but as they don’t – any solution going that way just moves it to ‘all the time’ they have to drink coffee they don’t like. Better to bow out. The other two will likely not appreciate their coffee rotation being back down to 2 from 3, meaning they have to go to Costco a little more often, but it’s still fair and surely they will at least be drinking the coffee they like all the time…and you’ll be drinking coffee you like.

      3. Bear Expert*


        My last office before I went totally remote had one as the coffee snob support option, in addition to the giant vat of floor sweepings or whatever coffee. I drink tea, but I own an aeropress for hosting coffee drinkers. Its straightforward enough that I can prepare coffee for other people, cleans and stores easily. My only issue is that coffee doesn’t last for ever, even in the freezer, so I have to know ahead of time if someone drinks coffee to have it on hand.

        Having an aeropress and a travel kettle at your desk will fix this.

        1. Le Sigh*

          I got a travel grinder and aeropress as a gift recently bc I hate drinking hotel coffee (it’s less about quality, though that it is some of it, more about the cleanliness of them). I’m trying to find a travel kettle now to realize my dreams of never using a hotel coffee maker again.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I got my husband a travel kettle where half of it is silicone and it folds down for easy packing. He doesn’t travel for work terribly often anymore, but my bestie got the same one and used it at her office and said it was great. Search “collapsible kettle” on Amazon for the kind of thing I’m talking about.

            1. Two Dog Night*

              I’ve got that style of travel kettle, which I use to make tea, and I bring it everywhere. I wish it didn’t take up quite as much room in my suitcase, but having non-coffee flavored hot water is worth the inconvenience.

    2. eggo*

      Yup. I’d buy myself one of the single serve Keurig machines and keep it at my desk for my sole use. Don’t blame this stupid game anymore.

    3. kiki*

      Or, if cost or k-cup usage is a concern, mini or single-serve drip coffee makers exist. I have a little Mr. Coffee that is designed only to brew 2-4 cups of coffee (cups like measuring cups, so coffee for 1-3 people depending on how much they drink in one go). It was under $30 and I bought it over a decade ago and it’s chugging along just fine.

      1. Manders*

        Keurigs have single-serve cups that you fill yourself with ground coffee, eliminating the waste of the plastic cups.

        1. The Editor-in-Chief*

          Mr. Coffee also makes a single-cup “put the grounds in the reusable basket” that is as small as the tiny Keurigs and doesn’t require fiddling with the tiny refillable K-cups. I had the refillable ones and they were just too much bother.
          This one is the best of both worlds – single serve, does hot or cold-brew (in theory; I haven’t tried the “cold brew” feature and honestly I don’t think it would work), easy to dump/clean.

    4. EA*

      The only solution where everyone gets what they want is OP opting out of this system. I don’t like Keurigs, but there are other options like Aeropress and french presses.

      At my former office, the shared coffee that the whole group chipped in for (nonprofit, so the office didn’t buy it for us) was always so nasty that I always just brought my own in a to-go cup. I got my coffee exactly how I liked it, and everyone else kept happily (maybe?) drinking the nasty coffee.

    5. Coffee Snob No More*

      If you don’t want to have a separate coffee maker, bring your own thermos of coffee. I did that when I worked on a Microsoft campus that served free Starbucks coffee. I could not stand that at all and brought my own Kirkland brand.

      The best perk is always hot coffee and no sharing.

      I also thought it funny I was snubbing one Seattle area coffee for another.

      Now I drink no coffee, only tea.

        1. Coffee Snob No More*

          Yeah, I don’t know what it was, but the free coffee always tasted burnt and gross. My coffee was smooth and delicious.

    6. e271828*

      Yeah, after the second rejection I’d be opting out and picking up a K-cup machine for my own office. It seems like the admins are hazing this LW.

      1. Kerry*

        THIS. I am envisioning a scenario in which OP is a woman, the two partners are men, and the “sweet little old ladies” are seeing how far they can push “the new girl” when they would never mess with the men. If this is the case, it does not bode well for actual work-related interactions.

    1. FricketyFrack*

      Me too, because I’m petty and I find the admin’s behavior so annoying. If you want Kirkland, say you want Kirkland, I’m not a damn mind reader.

      I did have my own little baby pot at a past job where the coffee situation was a huge hassle, which is what I’d suggest OP do if she’s less petty than me.

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        I think this is the Midwestern passive-aggressive “oh, whatever you want is fine with me” where you’re supposed to know exactly what THEY want and suggest it, so that they get what they want without needing to seem rude by asking for it.

        1. Meow*

          Is… this a midwestern thing? (I’m a midwesterner and can confirm its prevalent, just didn’t think it was regional haha)

          1. Yorick*

            The Midwest is super passive. I’m from the South and people think of it as passive, but I live in the Midwest now and am baffled at how anyone is supposed to figure things out.

            1. So they all cheap-ass rolled over and one fell out*

              People say neither Ask nor Guess is inherently better, but frankly Guessing seems like a LOT of effort going to waste.

    2. ampersand*

      Yes, it is brilliant, I wish I had thought of it, and I am 100 percent sure they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

      1. Magc*

        It only works if they’re buying coffee already ground, and also if OP sneaks the container in when they’re not looking (or has a handy excuse for why it’s already opened).

        But I’m petty enough that I would do it once, just to see what happened when they thought it was their regular brand.

    3. Ashley*

      I tend to agree but every now and then you can get Kirkland stuff on Amazon. I never want to look to deeply at how that happens that but when going for easy solutions it might be worth considering. (But that does assume you are willing to drink it.)

      1. Data Slicentist*

        Costco has online ordering for a lot of their store-brand products. I wonder if the admins can just order online and have it delivered to the office.

    4. Office Plant Queen*

      Apparently Kirkland coffee is Starbucks coffee. So OP could try the opposite of this, too – buy a bag of Starbucks brand and see if they like it or if they complain still. Different package but identical coffee inside

      1. Kevin Sours*

        Keep in mind that Starbucks coffee isn’t always Starbucks coffee. They do (or at least did) have an entirely different supply chains for the coffee they use in their stores and the coffee they sell in supermarkets. The quality standards are … not identical.

        1. Bitte Meddler*

          I have discovered this is true of Community Coffee, as well. What they sell to restaurants isn’t offered to non-commercial customers.

          I went almost 20 years not drinking coffee (it hurt my stomach) and then, in a fit of weakness, gave in to a cup at a diner that served Community. It was both heavenly tasting and did NOT hurt my stomach.

          So off to Community’s website I went and bought all of their caffeinated options to find which one was served in that diner. Alas, none of them have the same flavor profile.

          But they also don’t hurt my stomach, so that’s half a win!

    5. Feeling petty*

      I am not normally petty, but at this point, yeah. It’s ridiculous. Or I’d say that I’m no longer contributing to office coffee and bring in my own coffee maker. That way it goes around the problem of the office admins buying the attorneys coffee and gets her out of having to deal with the apparent insanity of people who don’t find dark roast bitter – I just don’t understand (but I am very sensitive to bitterness, so I add a bunch of splenda to ANY coffee).

      1. Rose*

        I don’t even see this as petty. It seems kind of like a necessary step to see if they’re just complaining for the sake of complaining, which at this point seems likely. But I’m usually kind of petty so…

    6. Writer Claire*

      Heh. This would be my approach as well.

      (My main reasons for having a Costco membership are the cheap prices for gas, Peet’s coffee, and Red’s breakfast burritos.)

    7. Dek*

      Same, tho. I wouldn’t even consider it petty, it would be out of sheer morbid curiosity for me. I would NEED to know if it was really me, or if it was the coffee.

    1. Owlet 101*

      Yeah, that would be me. Just a little machine that you have to fill up every time you want your own cup. Then opt out of this rotation.

    2. Miette*

      That’s what I’d do–get a pour-over setup and have done. You don’t even have to plug it in anywhere.

    1. gmg22*

      Another vote for Fake Kirkland solution! It seems pretty clear that these admins are not professional coffee tasters, they just have a particular label/brand they have decided they like.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      I might do the other way around – get ahold of some Kirkland coffee, put it in a Folger’s tin, and see if they hate it and think it’s flavoured.

      1. Natebrarian*

        “We replaced this fancy restaurant’s coffee with Folgers to see whether anyone would notice…”

    3. MarieMac*

      Also team Fake Kirkland, just to see if they say anything. The deeply petty part in me wants this so bad.

      1. Seal*

        Same. I’d take it one step further and sing the praises of the fake Kirkland once the first pot is brewed, along the lines of “Wow, this is SO GOOD! I guess you were right about Kirkland coffee all along!”.

        1. Indigo a la mode*

          I’m torn between Fake Kirkland and, as seen elsewhere in the thread, Imposter Grounds.

    4. Specks*

      This. I overall think the Kirkland brand is great, but their coffee is horrific. To say it tastes burned and bitter is an understatement. Try the fake Kirkland trick, and if it doesn’t work, get a one-serve French press and a small electric kettle, and opt out of the whole mess.

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

        Yeah I’m skeptical of the admin’s ability to taste “notes of caramel” if they prefer Krirkland coffee.

        I know some people don’t mind it and that is their go to for daily consumption. I don’t know anyone who’d insist on that if someone else was paying for it.

    5. Sparkles McFadden*

      I respectfully request, LW, that you try the fake Kirkland solution as a scientific test. Then do a second test where you put Kirkland coffee in a different container and see if they tell you it tastes like caramel. Then go make your own personal coffee (after reporting the test results back to AAM) and opt out of this nonsense.

    6. Le Krogé*

      Can 100% confirm THIS WILL WORK.

      I did a packaging exercise once where we designed schmancy coffee bags for a sensory display. I went to Kroger and got the cheapest bag of coffee they had (a vanilla French roast, literally off the bottom shelf) to fill the mockup bags. Oh, the COMMENTS from people coming to the display. “That smells delicious, where can I get it??” “Oooh, what IS that??”

      The assumptions that it was from some bougie local coffee spot were rampant, just because of the bag.

    7. Fiachra*

      Agreed, it’s the only way. The best part is, this plan works even if it doesn’t work, because deniability is so plausible.

  3. kendall^2*

    Another option is to opt out of the coffee rota entirely. OP could bring their own coffee, cold or hot, and not use the shared office coffee pot.

    1. The Other Sage*

      That was my thought too! If they are being unreasonable, let them be so without you. Or go for Option 3 and see what happens.

    2. Daffodil*

      Exactly. I would just buy my own stash of instant coffee, and let everyone sort it out for themselves…

    1. Always Tired*

      My suggestion is to slowly mix the imposter grounds into the current kirkland container, much like transitioning a fussy cat onto a new flavor of food.

      1. Indigo a la mode*

        I laughed at loud at this. This is the way to go.

        Also, “Imposter Grounds” is a great title for something.

    2. KenzosHooman*

      Definitely. Wasn’t there a psych study done years ago where they switched out the expensive name brands with generic, actually put the generic into the name brand containers and people couldn’t tell the difference because they saw the label and assumed it was the real deal? I thought I saw it on 60 Minutes, back in the 90’s (yes, I am dating myself), before the proliferation of social media.

      1. londonedit*

        Apparently if you dye white wine so that it looks like red, people – even wine experts – can’t tell the difference.

  4. Dust Bunny*

    What the H*ll.

    These people are ridiculous. Confess I would go with the “refill the empty Kirkland’s container” method and see if they actually noticed. I had a boss, years ago, who brewed coffee at like double strength and she swore she could tell the difference among brands. Mostly, though, she could tell if you’d used a normal amount of grounds–you could use anything as long as it tasted like tar.

    1. gmg22*

      The only saving grace of the double strength brew is that you can add hot water to thin it out and make it more drinkable. On the other hand, if you have a boss/admin/colleague insisting on vaguely brown coffee-water brewed with one or two scoops per pot … sigh.

      1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

        My MIL “made coffee” by putting two scoops of decaf grounds per pot and always was confused about why I never drank coffee at her house when I would always have coffee at home or when we travelled. I told my husband that she wasn’t giving me coffee, she was giving me brown water.

    2. Nonanon*

      Okay but I’m going to lean towards the “double strength” and being able to taste the difference thing; my partner has recently gotten REALLY in to coffeemaking to the point of weighing out a certified coffee:ground ratio. I don’t care as much as he does, so I just leave our coffee grinder to whatever he “optimized” the previous use, which sometimes results in double the ground I need. So far, it’s been the only time I can actually TASTE the notes the roaster listed.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        I very much doubt that any of the coffee we bought was nice enough to have notes beyond “charcoal”.

    3. purple spotted giraffe*

      In my last office, I used to brew 1.5 strength. And always got compliments on how tasty the coffee was. I drink only one cup per day, so that cup has to really count.

    4. whingedrinking*

      For a variety of reasons, I don’t drink much coffee at home, and when I do it’s usually from my moka pot. When I go out for coffee, I drink espresso. And while I did work in coffee shops for a large portion of my twenties, well, the proportions required to make big urns of drip coffee are decidedly different from when you’re making a French press’s worth for your parents when they come to your place for dinner.
      Anyway, long story short, my dad likes to say that the coffee I make “has authority”, because I’m always a bit worried it’ll be too weak.

    1. Ashloo*

      Definitely what I would do! I’d promise to never ever touch the machine and bring in what I like. I don’t have expensive tastes, but I’m a little picky.

  5. wine dude*

    I would totally opt out of this at this point, get a nice thermos, and bring coffee from home.

  6. Ess Ess*

    Alison’s answer solves the issue about a Costco membership, but ignores OP’s other issue that they hate the flavor of the Kirkland coffee. If OP is paying for it, then OP should not have to buy one they don’t like.

      1. alldogsarepuppies*

        You have to live at the same address to share a Costco Membership. It is not possible to just add someone to your membership like a streaming account.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          And a spouse can’t even use the other spouse’s membership card if you forget yours at home.

          Watched it happen – I don’t understand the fuss.

    1. Nea*

      Yeah, OP’s real solution is to back out of the coffee club entirely and bring in their own drinks. Nobody should be on the hook to pay for things that they don’t use and the other people make a big fuss about not wanting.

      1. Ess Ess*

        Not really. OP asks how to get out of getting a costco card, but also mentions as one of the reason not wanting to get the card is “to buy one (1) tub of coffee every two months that I do not like?”

        So solving how to get a costco card does not take into consideration the entire question which includes that OP would be still forced to spend personal money to gift coffee to the office that OP will not be able to use. And that is a MUCH bigger part of the question than how to get a costco card.

    2. StillNeedMembership*

      unfortunately it doesn’t – you still need the membership card to buy from Instacart – they just outsource the delivery. At least, that’s the way it works with other warehouse stores. You have to store your membership card in your Instacart profile or order directly from the store website after logging in.

      1. iglwif*

        I haven’t had a Costco membership in years, and I can still order from Costco via Instacart. If you have a membership you get a discount on the Instacart fees, I think, but at least in some places, you absolutely CAN get an Instacart person to go to Costco and purchase your 40 rolls of toilet paper, flat of assorted Bubly, six-pack of cream cheese bricks, giant wheel of Brie, or (if you absolutely must) massive tin of Kirkland coffee.

    3. duinath*

      yep. i say buy coffee op likes for their turn, and loudly remark on how awful the coffee is when it’s not their turn. ugh, this kirkland stuff again, i can’t stand it. equality. grouching for all. everybody gets at least one turn buying coffee they like.

  7. Number Blocks*

    I’m getting a hazing vibe from the two OGs. I’m unclear if OP is an attorney or an admin, but either way, I have the impression that the OGs are trying to put OP in her place with plausible deniability.

    1. Sabina*

      I thought the same thing. If not the coffee drama, it would be something else. The new attorney is putting their coat in the wrong place, using too much copy paper, breathing too loudly, etc. One can hope they get bored of this game soon.

    2. samwise*

      I think it more likely that the admins are cheesed-off at having to supply coffee when the lawyers, who are 99.999% likely to be making a lot more money than the admins, are too freakin cheap to buy the coffee. They don’t even need to take it out of their personal wallets! Pay for it out of office supplies or petty cash.

      1. Observer*

        I think it more likely that the admins are cheesed-off at having to supply coffee when the lawyers, who are 99.999% likely to be making a lot more money than the admins, are too freakin cheap to buy the coffee.

        Eh, they could be cheesed off, and I would not blame them. But doesn’t make their behavior in any way reasonable. It does mean that they are almost certainly trying to put the OP in their place, because it’s easier to take it out on the new attorney rather than the partners who have hire / fire authority.

      2. amoose*

        Well, assuming the other attorneys are partners, office supplies and petty cash all amounts to their own personal wallets anyway.

    3. sparkle emoji*

      Yeah, this feels like a possibility. Even if it’s not this specifically, this is maybe not just about coffee, possibly some kind of petty conflict going on in the minds of the 2 admins?

    4. PickleMum*

      Not necessarily hazing, but definitely a power play. We had politics sorta like this at the law firm I worked at back in the day. Doris RULED. You did not do anything Doris did not like. She was actually kind of nice, and mostly professional, but if you crossed her? Oh man. If Mama’s not happy, the whole office ain’t happy. Every new admin pissed her off at least once and felt the full weight of it. (Took her a few days to get over whatever transgression it was.)

    5. Lauren*

      That was my first thought as well. You might run into one person who is so picky about coffee that they can’t stand anything else. But finding two people in the same job who are both picky about the same exact thing? They are hazing you. There is no winning in this scenario.

      1. Observer*

        But finding two people in the same job who are both picky about the same exact thing?

        Especially that it’s *Kirkland Brand*? Let’s face it, this is NOT the kind of coffee that people who are really picky about coffee are generally interested in. Same as Folgers, and Great Value (Walmart Brand.)

        OP, I still think you should opt out and also keep your eyes open for other shenanigans. But if you do have to buy coffee? Then go ahead and buy either the Walmart brand or Cafe Bustelo. They are both fairly low cost, and the Bustelo stuff is 100% unflavored.

    6. Observer*

      I’m getting a hazing vibe from the two OGs.


      the OGs are trying to put OP in her place with plausible deniability.

      Totally this. That was my first impression as well.

    1. eeeek*

      Maybe, but I feel like you’d have to do it like the gradual switch when changing dog kibble (never part of my life when I had labrador retrievers, but this is my life now with Ms. Perfectionist Palate). Mix the old and new until gradually the new is What We Always Have, so gradually that the picky people don’t notice.

      I am overthinking this.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        No you’re not! I really want to test this hypothesis out! I think dogs have a better sense of smell and therefore taste, but a lot depends on just how different the new stuff is to the old.

  8. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

    How much coffee do you actually want during the day? I have 2 morning cups: one at home and one at work. If you’re like me, maybe just bring in your own morning cup and let the admins get whatever they like for the office pot. (Related question: does ANYONE else drink the coffee besides the 2 admins and you? Are there office guests who are offered coffee? If that’s the case, the company should be buying it, and if not, you can just opt out of playing this game you cannot win.) Honestly I like Alison’s final option best (putting different coffee in the costco tub) but it’s kinda rude.

  9. Workaround genie*

    This doesn’t address the underlying dysfunction, but another option is for OP to pay a Costco member for a Costco gift card. (Only members can purchase them.) Then OP can shop there until the card runs out, without becoming a member.

    1. Venus*

      Agreed with this. I think it’s last resort in this situation because OP doesn’t like the coffee, but useful in general for people to know that a costco gift card bought by a member for a non-member is a solution.

    2. Guacamole Bob*

      It’s good to know this is an option, but I have to say as someone who regularly shops at Costco that for OP to have to go at all is something of a burden. The place is huge and the parking lot is busy at any time a person with an office job can go. If you’re already not happy about having to be there it would likely be pretty irritating.

      1. nerak*

        Agreed–the closest Costco to me is still 30 minutes away, and the thought of setting foot inside one to just buy coffee I don’t like gives me anxiety. Too big, too crowded, and it’s not like OP can’t get coffee elsewhere, it’s the coworkers who are being weird.

    3. sparkle emoji*

      Not sure if this is still policy, but I do know people who used to pay in cash to get around the membership rule at Costco.

      1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        They check your card at the entrance and scan it before you can make a purchase.

    4. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Alternatively, just give one of the admins $10 and have them pick up an extra container of coffee on their regular runs.

      1. CatWoman*

        Absolutely – sealed ground coffee in a can does not go bad…what’s the harm in picking up 2 when they are there?

    5. Anna The Banana*

      Unfortunately, at my Costco at least, they won’t let non-members use gift cards anymore. It’s a really recent change, like maybe November or December of last year.

  10. Pop*

    Yes, absolutely get your own french press or pourover for your desk that you can use with whatever coffee you’d like.

    1. civil disobedience*

      Cosign on this. You could make your own single-serve coffee and opt out of the rotation (maybe say you prefer light roasts or something like that). I bring an aeropress to the office which is small, easily cleaned in the sink, just needs coffee grounds and hot water.

      That said, if you opt out the others may still get a bit miffed because now they’ll end up paying more frequently. But it seems the only way you’ll satisfy them is to get a Costco membership and do everything exactly like them, which is entirely unreasonable.

  11. I'm just here for the cats!*

    I would say just get a Keurig and bring it in. Put it in your office if you can. Explain that they seem to only like Kirkland coffee, which you don’t like and you don’t feel like you should have to buy coffee that you don’t like.

  12. AngelaPleasant*

    So… you hate their coffee, but put up with it, yet the two admins refuse to drink coffee they don’t like?

    Yeah, this is personal Keurig territory. Let them drink what they want, and you take yourself out of the situation.

  13. Jonathan MacKay*

    This is one of the bigger reasons I drink Tea over coffee…. I’ve seen too many conflicts start over for so many different reasons over it. To my observations, it’s always boiled down (pun intended) to personal tastes being elevated over keeping the peace.

    At least with Tea, (if it’s loose leaf), you can make it to taste far easier than coffee – just stop steeping when it’s at the strength you want.

  14. Salsa Your Face*

    Buy the coffee you want and put it in an empty Kirkland container. I’m guessing they’ll no longer be able to tell the difference.

  15. Hiring Mgr*

    This is all ridiculous, but fwiw you can buy Kirkland coffee on Amazon, probably elsewhere too

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I actually looked that up when writing this answer and it’s sold at literally 4 times the price there so I cannot in good conscience recommend it.

      1. jane's nemesis*

        Especially because OP doesn’t even LIKE the kirkland coffee! They shouldn’t have to pay that markup for coffee they dislike.

      2. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        Members can, however, order it for delivery through Costco at (almost) the regular in-warehouse price.

  16. Sara*

    Coffee wars are always so intense. I worked for an office once that insisted on only buying Eight O’Clock Coffee which I found awful and gross. My manager got a keruig for her office and we split the cost of K Cups for it. Could you get a Keruig for your desk?

    Also would be interesting if you could convince the partners to get one for the office since they have k cups for teas, hot chocolates and ciders. Then everyone can just bring in what they want to drink.

    But I love Alison’s suggestion of just tricking them into drinking non-Costco coffee.

    1. Sara*

      Also – as a side note – you can bypass the membership if you get a Costco gift card. They let you use that at the store – you could in theory just load a gift card once in a while and use it to buy the coffee.

      But I’d rather opt out of coffee I don’t like anway.

    2. I Have RBF*

      One place I worked did not provide coffee. The main office drank some brown water Columbian that was disgusting. They guy I worked for brought in Peets French Roast, back when Peets was just a local brand, and we had our own coffee pot. I loved it.

  17. Delta Delta*

    Totally on Team Kirkland Fake-Out. They’ll have no idea. If they ask OP if she got a Costco membership she can be sly and say something like, “I got a hookup, don’t you worry” or something equally ambiguous. And for those of us old enough to remember the old commercials, it might also be fun to swap it with Folgers Crystals and see what happens.

    I’m backup on Team Get a Decent Single Cup Brewer For Your Desk. Maybe a French press or a pour over. If anyone gives OP any flak for that, OP can point out she’s having a different kind/flavor/whatever. You can actually get very creative with this, and toss in part of a vanilla bean or a cinnamon stick or something to add some additional flavor that wouldn’t go over well with the others.

      1. Manders*

        I had a coworker who was very, very sweet, but very unworldly. He raved about how good his wife’s coffee was, he had never had better tasting coffee, etc. Turns out it was Folgers.

        Now, I’m not a coffee snob and my parents drink Folgers. But. It’s not good coffee. It was really hard for me not to laugh when he reported back to me what it was. Oh Josh, what a sweet guy.

        1. RegBarclay*

          I mean I really like crappy vending machine coffee for some reason. I was so bummed when they took out the coffee vending machine at my work and put in a Keurig. So I could see someone really liking Folgers – not just drinking it because it’s cheaper.

          Or, in the best of all possible worlds, he loves any coffee his wife makes because he’s so fond of her.

  18. Veryanon*

    Clearly I’m not a coffee drinker, because I think the easiest solution is for everyone to just bring their own damn coffee from home/Starbucks/wherever.

  19. samwise*

    Announce that you are removing yourself from drinking the shared coffee and thus do not need to purchase it for the office.

    Brew coffee for yourself at home and bring it in a thermos.

    Alternatively, tell your partners (the other lawyers) that the admins bust their butts for us and we need to buy coffee for them — whatever coffee they like best. If the admins like Kirkland coffee, the office petty cash ought to cover a can a month, including delivery, plus sugar, creamer, etc. Maybe a delivered breakfast or lunch now and then *for the admins*

    If the firm can’t afford that, it’s got bigger problems than coffee choice.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Honestly, this. Unless this office does nothing but pro-bono charity work, they really should provide coffee for the admins.

      Also, do they not have clients who drink coffee? This entire situation is kind of weird.

      1. Spencer Hastings*

        I work for a small CPA firm — not as small as the firm in this letter seems to be, though — and yes, they provide coffee for clients and visitors only. We employees have to bring our own from home or go out to a nearby coffee shop if we want coffee.

        Honestly, I’m kind of surprised that so many people here (not just today, but on other “coffee wars” posts) view providing coffee for employees as not only a common practice, but a bare minimum that every employer should do.

        1. Cedrus Libani*

          This may be the Silicon Valley in me talking, but every salaried job I’ve had came with some form of caffeine station – because it was in the employer’s best interest to have it there. You want your people to grab a cup of mediocre coffee, chug it down, and get back to work. No need for a Starbucks run, and no tired, cranky, undercaffeinated employees. (Some crank this up to eleven, supplying three meals a day, gas delivery trucks that will fuel you up in the parking lot, etc., so that employees basically never have to do anything but work or sleep. That’s a lot. Frankly, I’m too old for those companies; I have a family, I want to go home. But a can of Folgers, the equivalent tea, and a box of sugar packets? That’s the low end of normal.)

          1. Peanut Hamper*

            “because it was in the employer’s best interest to have it there”

            Yes, exactly. Every employer should do what they can to provide their employees with at least a modicum of creature comforts.

            I equate this with putting a little more coal on the fire, rather than having some Ebenezer Scrooge telling you to wear a waistcoat. Good sir, my fingers are freezing, and my waistcoat does not cover them!

            Give your employees coffee.

        2. JustaTech*

          When I worked for a university, we provided our own coffee (and coffee pot) – it was in fact Kirkland, because most folks had a Costco card. (The one time one specific coworker was in charge of getting coffee he got Folgers because he didn’t understand how to work the grinder at Costco, and then made possibly the worst pot of coffee I’ve ever tasted, so he was permanently on the “sugar” rotation.)

          But every for-profit company I’ve worked for has provided coffee, minimal tea, sugar and some kind of creamer. Even when times were bad the coffee kept coming, because it’s such a simple thing to keep people working. (And if you suddenly can’t afford coffee, are you going to be able to make payroll?) These have all been pretty big companies, though.

      2. StarTrek Nutcase*

        Yeah they are a nonprofit. LW responded in above comments and noted admins are sweet old ladies who she believes just hate change.

  20. 2crankycents*

    Oh definitely refill the Kirkland container with Folgers or the cheapest you can find. Or else just start bringing a thermos from home and refuse to participate in their silly drama.

    But honestly this is just dumb office management. The cost of coffee is so minimal that by not covering it the partners are just showing their true colors. How hard is it to spend $20 a month providing beverage service to the office? I’d be curious to see what other stealth bees show up in the near future.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I wonder if the admins are the only ones drinking coffee, and the partners declined to get into the coffee mess because they don’t actually drink coffee? I through spouse watched that happen at their last job. It was tragically funny, and the Manager and Office Manager just always refused to be involved “as we don’t drink coffee we don’t feel it’s our place to have a say.”

      Spouse invested in a good travel mug and also stayed out of it.

      1. Antilles*

        I think that’s exactly it. The partners don’t drink coffee, don’t give a damn if coffee even exists, and so it’s being treated exactly the same as any other snack food that employees could opt to bring in – candy, chips, soda, protein shakes, Red Bull, whatever. You can bring in and consume whatever you like, but it’s on you to purchase it.

      2. 2crankycents*

        But I assume they sometimes have clients in the office. What do they offer them? Even if they never drink coffee/tea/whatever themselves it’s still basic manners to have them around just in case. And providing these tiny amenities to staff ensure that whatever they offer clients will be relatively fresh.

        1. Jezebella*

          I work in a law office. I may sit at the front desk, but I’m not a barista. We offer water. C’est tout. There is a coffee shop across the street. I just don’t see the need to get involved in what kind of creamer and how many sugars or sweeteners for clients, and then washing their cups, and….no. Just no. If they can afford us, they can afford their own coffee.

  21. Meemur*

    This feels like some kind of prank, like asking the apprentice to go and buy tartan paint. As per other commenters, I would take in my own coffee and let them at it and see what they say. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was some kind of weird power thing

  22. Snarkus Aurelius*

    Watch both seasons of Fisk. You’ll identify with Helen Tudor-Fisk in season two.

    Stay patient with Roz! She’s a good egg.

    1. Clementine Fandango*

      Thank you for spreading the word that this show exists! I found it a few months ago and it’s such a delight!

  23. stacers*

    Alison’s closing suggestion was going to be mine. I would bet real money that they would not be able to tell the difference. I, at home, do in fact drink Kirkland brand dark roast coffee but that’s because I shop at Costco once a month. I enjoy all sorts of other coffee.

    In fact, OP, if you are in Ohio, Michigan or Indiana (and I’d consider other locations), I will buy you the canister of Costco coffee and deliver it to you and then visit your office under false but seemingly official pretenses to see our scheme put into action.

  24. swingbattabatta*

    I have some personal anecdotes of my own that feel very similar to this situation, but setting aside the details – I have found success (when dealing with folks who are being very unreasonable) in talking to them like I do with my kids. Not in an infantilizing, patronizing way, but with short, direct, and unequivocal statements. “I am not going to get a Costco membership. If you want Kirkland coffee, please feel free.” “I have selected this coffee during my turn. I’m sorry to hear you aren’t a fan.” “I don’t like that coffee. I am purchasing this coffee with my money.”

    Don’t negotiate, don’t try to persuade, just be reasonable and kind. If they keep pushing for you to get a Costco membership (wtf) just shut it right down: “I am not going to do that.”

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I have a membership now (because the produce dept there is better than my local grocery sadly), but in the past I would just blankly stare at folks that would say I have to get a membership to said store to buy stuff for the office.

      1. I Have RBF*

        Yeah, if the office wants you to buy stuff from Costco, then the office should get its own Costco card. Those admins are either hazing you, or being picky just to be assholes.

        The Costco French Roast is okay, but if it gets ground in one of those shared grinders it gives my roommate migraines from flavored coffee cross-contamination.

        1. JustaTech*

          Exactly – there are business Costco memberships. Also, Costco sells coffee other than their own brand. (I’m in Seattle so maybe we have more kinds than in other parts of the country, but there are easily 10 kinds of whole beans, plus the pre-ground stuff.)
          Then the admins could have their preferred kind and the OP could have her preferred kind (though that would probably require a second pot).

        1. swingbattabatta*

          Yeah, but the letter writer hates Kirkland coffee. I think they need to just shut down all of this nonsense re: Costco coffee, full stop. And this works both if they are serious in their unreasonable behavior or if they are just messing with the letter writer.

  25. CL*

    I haven’t tried it, but I have heard that you can buy from Costco through Instacart without a membership. You don’t have to get the membership and you don’t have to run the errand. Win win. (Except you have to drink lousy coffee.)

    1. StillNeedMembership*

      You still need the membership, or at least you do for the other warehouse stores (Costco isn’t on Instacart here)

    2. Grey*

      You can also buy it from the website without a membership and have it shipped. It’ll cost you an extra $3, but it’s still a good enough deal.

  26. ENFP in Texas*

    “the only remaining solution is to swipe an empty Kirkland container the next time one runs out, fill it with the plain dark roast of your choice, and bring it in and see if everyone loves it”

    I love this solution.

  27. Where’s the Orchestra?*

    Honestly – I’d go with the filching an empty Kirkland tin and filling it with whatever you want if they insist that you have to stay on the coffee rotation.

    But honestly, things like this are part of why when I was in an office I just brought my own coffee from home in a travel mug. Not my circus if I’m not drinking the office coffee.

    1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

      Honestly, this is what Keurigs are for. I personally can’t stand Keurigs, but as communal coffee for an office THIS IS THE WAY.

  28. THAT girl*

    It’s obvious that they are just messing with you. Whether that is born from some underlying resentment or they’re bored and this is entertaining to them, who knows. But I wouldn’t play their game anymore. Just bring whatever you want when it’s your turn and tune them out or invest in your own personal coffee maker.

  29. Peanut Hamper*

    I’m trying to understand how the Instacart thing would work. Does this mean that the Instacart driver would have to have a Costco membership?

    I know Costco has had a lot of problems with members lending their cards to non-members, so they are really cracking down on checking IDs, but this might be a workaround.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      My understanding is that Instacart supplies their drivers with membership (I doubt it’s an individual membership per driver; I assume it’s something more like an Instacart arrangement with Costco that drivers have access to).

    2. Juicebox Hero*

      When you order through Instacart, you pay for the items online through their app. The merchant sets the price that goods are sold at through Instacart, so presumably the upcharge and service fees either make up or cost more than the membership on a per-item basis.

      Instacart then employs independent shoppers to go to stores, pick up the items, and deliver them to the customer.

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Yes, but in the specific case where the store being gone to is Costco, which requires a membership, how does this work? Are Instacart shoppers required to have their own memberships, or is there some arrangement between Instacart and Costco?

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          Back when I was ordering Costco items via Instacart, I did have to input the card number of an existing member to place the order. This was a few years back, so things might have changed since then.

          1. Don't Use Instacart for Costco*

            So, my sister has ordered Costco through Instacart and forgot to put in her membership information, and Instacart charged her the 50 dollar membership to Costco but didn’t add any card info to her account. It seems that they charge you for a membership if you order through Instacart, but they don’t give you said membership.

    3. raincoaster*

      In Canada they need you to supply your membership info and I think a photo of your card. I looked into it last year.

      1. iglwif*

        If you do this, they give you some kind of discount on the Instacart fees, but you absolutely can order from Costco on Instacart without having a membership.

        I’m part of the team responsible for choir snacks, so I am very familiar with this process at the moment.

  30. Bad Wolf*

    “If that doesn’t work, the only remaining solution is to swipe an empty Kirkland container the next time one runs out, fill it with the plain dark roast of your choice, and bring it in and see if everyone loves it.”
    OMG! That would have totally been my first go-to.

  31. You Can't Pronounce It*

    I bring my coffee from home because I don’t like the office coffee. However, would buying a single serve or small pot be an option? Not a Keurig, but I have a small coffee pot at home because I’m the only one who drinks it and it will only make 1 1/2-2 cups of coffee at a time. Then each person can easily make their own.

    Also, I really want you to try Alison’s suggestion about refilling a used container. Then I need a follow-up!

  32. Juicebox Hero*

    Would they force you to buy coffee if you didn’t drink coffee? That’s the reason the partners use, so it ought to work for the rest of the staff as well.

    I’d start bringing my own coffee from home or a coffee shop. Then explain that I was no longer drinking the office coffee, therefore I’m no longer in the coffee rota and the other two admins can take turns buying the kind they like.

    Then again, I’m approaching 50 and very out of fucks. LW, consider the source and ignore me if this would cause too much friction.

  33. N*

    Venmo the money and tell them to buy 2 tubs on their turn (one for them, one for you) no extra errand, no extra expense and they get the coffee they want.

    1. Starbuck*

      “I have suggested that perhaps that I could Venmo one of them to pick up the coffee they like (and let go of wanting to like said coffee). Apparently part of the point of taking turns with the coffee is to take turns having to go out of your way to run the errand. This is not an option.”

      1. amoose*

        I mean, they are admins, and letter writer is an attorney, so at some point it seems she can just say, suck it up, its part of your job?

  34. GrumpyPenguin*

    People can get really weird when it comes to coffee, but that’s just ridiculous. OP could buy Premium Blackhole Coffee grinded by Colombian virgins in the pale moonlight and the admins would still complain about it. It’s not about the coffee, it sounds more like a power play. At this point, I’d simply pay the delivery fee and bring in my own coffee. But I’d be careful what weird thing they’ll come up with next. I had coworkers with a similar mindset complain about my chocolate bars because they smelled “sugar-coated”.

  35. Emily*

    when was the last time someone ran 50/50 vinegar and water through the coffee pot a few times to get rid of build up?

    anyway my solution would be a little pour-over contraption (easy to hand-wash) and my own coffee and a kettle.

    1. I Have RBF*


      I would go full bore coffee snob and disdain the communal pot since the philistines didn’t appreciate the high quality stuff you brought. Do the brown paper unbleach filters, an artistic high-end cone, boil only filtered water, to the perfect temperature (measured with a thermometer), etc. If they comment, go on and on about how only the best coffee is done this way.

      If they are doing this as a power play, which is likely, you will put them in their place.

  36. Statler von Waldorf*

    Based on my experiences working at a law firm, I really don’t think this is about the coffee. It’s about petty office politics.

    My read of this letter is that LW is getting set up for failure by these admins for reasons I won’t speculate on. LW should just bow out of the whole situation, using the fact that they don’t feel it’s appropriate for admins to have to buy lawyers coffee as an excuse, and then bring their own coffee from home.

    1. Corporate Lawyer*

      Yeah, my first thought upon reading this letter was: Of course this is a law firm. Law firm office politics are so weird.

      1. Bored Lawyer*

        Also what’s with the partners not paying for the coffee? When I worked at a smaller firm, I paid for a lot of things I didn’t personally use for the benefit of the office.

        Heck, I still have old people clients that expect to be offered a cup of coffee when they come in for a consult

    2. Banana Pyjamas*

      Ooh I love this!

      “I’ve been thinking about it, and I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to drink coffee you purchase; that’s too much like gifting up! I’ll leave the coffee pot for your use and bring my own coffee.”

      1. Spencer Hastings*

        This presupposes that gifting up is known to be a bad thing — the admins may not accept the premise, especially if they’re not AAM readers.

        Also, I don’t know how hierarchical the vibe is in an office this small, and we don’t know how senior the LW is…but, for instance, I wouldn’t say to the admins where I work (accounting firm) that I *outrank* them just because I’m an accountant. Especially if they’re longtime admins, like these people seem to be. If the LW is very senior, then maybe. Otherwise, they have very different careers, but I would not say that the LW necessarily outranks them.

  37. Hedgehug*

    Sorry, I’m confused.
    Are the admins being required to pay for the coffee out of pocket???
    Because if so, that’s bullshit.

        1. Corporate Lawyer*

          I mean, a law firm lawyer who doesn’t drink coffee?? I can’t even imagine such a thing.

          1. Jezebella*

            The Baby Lawyers at my office live on energy drinks instead of coffee.
            Sometimes you can watch them ascend to full hummingbird mode after one too many.

        2. Festively Dressed Earl*

          This. That might explain the rapidly disappearing non-Kirkland coffee that LW first brought in.

        3. I Have RBF*

          Yeah, the lawyers probably drink the good stuff, made by French press or pour over in their office.

    1. Unrepentant Coffee Drinker*

      The owners don’t pay for coffee for the staff PERIOD. They are cheap. This could easily be resolved by making it a cost to the business, but the owners will not do it. (Don’t know where the LW, but in the US, the cost of coffee has indeed gone up.)

      Anyway, e-hugs to the LW. I could feel your frustration reading the letter.

  38. Maple Leaf*

    If I were in your shoes, I would sneak out the empty Kirkland container and bring it back in filled up with whatever coffee you buy (dark roast, unflavoured) and see if they notice it is not their desired brand based just off taste.

    Take this with a grain of salt as I am a bit of a pot stirrer and enjoy a silly social experiment like this, lol.

    1. pally*

      That is something I would totally do!
      Or, the reverse, Kirkland coffee into a Folgers container.

      On the other hand, I found one can buy Kirkland coffee via Amazon. Not sure if it is the one these folks like.

  39. Notes of chocolate and caramel*

    I’m wondering if the secret backstory of “the office does not supply coffee because the two partners do not drink it” is that they used to supply coffee and the partners ran out of patience with the admins complaining about it ALL THE TIME.

    In my head canon, the partners are now bringing thermoses of coffee from home but pretending they don’t drink coffee at all.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      Mind blown. They get to crack open their thermoses of Chock Full o’ Nuts in peace and be all smug about their mad admin-wrangling skills.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        They should get together and swap drink-hiding tips with the colleague who wanted a religious exemption to drink Diet Coke!

    2. GrumpyPenguin*

      I’m picturing the partners having a very fancy, very expensive high-end Italian coffee maker hidden in their office. Somewhere in a filling cabinet with sound insulation so nobody can hear the suspicious noise when they use the machine to make coffee with all sorts of flavours.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        They’ve built a bookcase over a forgotten supply closet and have turned it into a tiny coffee bar you can only access by tilting one particular book to activate the secret lever.

  40. The New Wanderer*

    It sounds like this is the setup: three lawyers and two admins. Two lawyers don’t drink coffee. Two admins offer a rota with the third lawyer (OP), but only drink Kirkland coffee. Third lawyer a) hates Kirkland coffee and b) doesn’t think admins should be paying for coffee that a lawyer also drinks.

    With that small an office, it seems like the best option is for OP to say participating in the coffee club isn’t working out for them, leave the admins to alternate buying their preferred coffee to share just between them, and do something entirely on OP’s own for coffee (bring from home, personal machine at work, whatever).

    FWIW in an amusing coincidence, I have both Kirkland dark roast coffee and Peet’s French roast coffee on the shelf at home, and danged if I can tell them apart by taste!

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      I miss Peet’s coffee! Sadly, it’s not available in the UK. But their dark roast is definitely pretty similar in quality to other coffee brands. Their medium roast is the good stuff (in my humble caffeine-addled opinion.)

  41. CTA*

    I feel for you LW. I’m not a big coffee drinker. I may partake in a Blonde roast with a sugar syrup added or a caffe mocha once in a while. I’m largely a tea drinker. I would be that person to ask if coffee-flavored tea would be ok as my contribution lol.

    1. Caliente Papillon*

      Idk what’s up with these coffee people but they’re the worst. Want to make it crazy stupid to participate with them and then when you’re finally like I’ll just get my own coffee they get mad that you won’t entertain their stupidity. I hate to call people straight up stupid but not being able to make a damn pot of coffee and call it a day is just dumb af. In my humble opinion.

  42. That_guy*

    I used to work in food production on the line. The same production line would produce name brand and generic from the same material source. The only thing that is different is the packaging on the container.
    Your co-workers are being ridiculous. It is extremely likely that the store brand coffee from Costco is the same as the store brand coffee from Target, and BJs, and Sam’s Club, and Walmart. Alison’s suggestion to fill a Kirkland container with another brand is genius. They will never know. The downside is that will think they won, and I wouldn’t be surprised if their insistence on silly things will continue to escalate while you work there.

    1. Be Gneiss*

      Yes, everyone’s private-label stuff is either made by a company that just makes private label, or by the same company that makes a name brand (or several name brands).
      FWIW, it doesn’t mean it’s all the same, and companies can and do have proprietary blends/formulas/recipes. But it’s not like Costco has its own coffee factory.

      1. Enoby*

        I tested knockoff poptarts once. Publix, Winn-Dixie, and either Target or Walmart, I forget now, had exactly the same ones in the box, with the same wrappers. They weren’t the same as name-brand, but were clearly all made by the same mystery company.

  43. Exhausted*

    I’m so glad I’m at the point in my career where my instinct is to just say “Oh, I won’t be buying coffee for the office.” I 100% agree with Allison that there are reasons this may not be practical, and I am not judging LW for trying to accommodate this, but I just know at this stage in my life, I wouldn’t. All that said, I’m commenting to say: Starbucks roasts Costco’s house blend coffee. I’m sure buying Starbucks coffee wouldn’t be cheap, but maybe it will taste the same? And I second Allison’s idea to use an old Costco container. I used to swap pen ink out so I could use up pens vendors gave us, and magically my boss liked the pens just fine if the ink was in the fancy branded casing.

    1. Zona the Great*

      Oddly, if I buy the same roast at SB’s that I buy at Costco (House Blend roasted by SB’s), my stomach lining is eroded away in seconds. When I drink the Costco version, I’m totally fine. What’s the deal?

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        Oh that’s interesting. Maybe a sliiiiiightly different mix (like, I highly doubt the Red Lobster cheddar biscuit mix I can buy in the grocery store is the exact same recipe as the restaurant)? Difference in water or other prep? I used to work in a coffee shop and we cleaned the coffee pots with a specific cleaner that then got (thoroughly) rinsed the next morning; maybe you react to some minuscule amount of that?

  44. Semi-retired admin*

    I bowed out of the coffee wars by bringing my own cup daily, thus not having to be the one to make it every day, and not have to be the one who replenished most of the time because everyone else “forgot” or were “too busy”.

    1. Zona the Great*

      Yes this is how I got out of that stuff too. Other people’s coffee is a gut bomb to me. I’d be supine rocking side to side for 20 mins each morning.

    2. nerak*

      I’ve never drank my office-provided coffee–it’s consistently terrible regardless of where I work and what kind they buy. I just bring mine from home and if I’m desperate for more caffeine during the day I either make a cup of tea, or walk to a coffee shop a block away.

  45. Serious silly putty*

    Can’t you get out of it by just not drinking the coffee at work? If you don’t like most of it anyway, and if non-coffee drinkers aren’t expected to partake (as evidenced by the owners not doing it) then this seems like the obvious option. It doesn’t have to be snotty. “I appreciate you giving my coffee a shot, but it sounds like we don’t have overlapping tastes in coffee. I’ll just do my own thing and relinquish the kitchen coffee maker to y’all and your preferred coffee. “

  46. Angstrom*

    Opt out of the office coffee, and as a goodwill gesture buy a pallet of Kirkland for the admins.

    1. Banana Pyjamas*

      Maybe not a pallet, but I like this. I think in combination with opting out because accepting their coffee is too much like gifting up, LW could make a point of individually gifting the admins Kirkland coffee at their appropriate gift giving holidays and their birthdays or Admin Day.

      Also if coffee is offered to clients I think LW need to make the case that the firm should provide it.

  47. Nook Nook*

    Reminds me of:

    “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” -Henry Ford

  48. OlympiasEpiriot*

    I’m another who is all for recycling one of those orange Kirkland tubs. or whatever color it is.

    nasty coffee

    put decent dark roast in it and bobs yer uncle

  49. leeapeea*

    There are FIVE people in this office, and two of them – the owners – don’t drink coffee. That leaves the LW and the two other admins? Or maybe if it’s five other people, the LW, two other admins, and a third person. Dear LW, please just Opt. Out. of this petty ass war. Decline to contribute to the communal coffee, even if that means never using the office coffee pot. Bring your own in a travel mug/thermos, get a personal sized french press and make ’em all jealous, switch to tea during office hours, or hell, order coffee out/delivered while you’re there. The Kirkland lovers can keep their fav and you can keep your time and peace for whatever coffee makes you happy.

  50. Jennifer Strange*

    I worked at a non-profit Shakespearean Library which has the name of a famous coffee in it. Ironically, we didn’t have that coffee in the break room, we had Peets. It wasn’t my favorite, but if I wanted coffee I either got my own or dealt with it. They can deal with drinking your coffee (or getting their own) in the one out of two times it’s your turn.

  51. GrumpyPenguin*

    It doesn’t matter what coffee OP will bring, the admins won’t like it anyway. I’d tell them politely that since our taste differs so much, everyone should get their own brand to make sure everyone gets their preferred taste.

  52. Language Lover*

    RE: Fake Kirkland Choice

    I actually would not go this route. It feels a bit like gaslighting to me. The admins are acting ridiculously but I don’t think it’s a stretch that they can taste the difference.

    For instance, I can tell if a Diet Coke comes from McDonalds or a Subway or a can. A lot of people can’t but that doesn’t invalidate that I can. And I’d be upset if someone gave me one form of Diet Coke and told me it was another because they didn’t believe me and make me doubt everything that came before.

    I don’t know why the person buying Kirkland can’t buy a supply for months to cut down on trips.

    But I’d opt out at this point and let them figure it out.

    1. JustEm*

      I agree, but it seems we are in the minority! OP agrees the coffees taste different — they don’t like the Kirkland, but do like the others they’ve purchased

  53. Elastigirl*

    I am a fan of the fake Kirkland solution…

    But also want to point out that Kirkland/Costco’s house blend is, in most parts of the country, sourced from Starbucks. That’s a solution, too.

  54. CreativeThinker*

    Option 3 is the way to go! But please stay away from Folgers or similar because it really is bad and any decent coffee drinker will know.

  55. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    Oh yes, the coffee wars. If it’s not getting coffee everyone hates it’s contributing to the ’till’ and someone buys it. Suddenly, there’s a whole slew of coffee drinkers.
    I don’t know if anyone’s said it yet but this is where I would bow out and bring my own and let the remaining two duke it out themselves. Nothing upsets the apple cart like the coffee cart.

  56. Just Thinkin' Here*

    Since the money is coming out of each employee’s pocket and not paid for by the firm, buy whatever coffee you like and an extra coffee pitcher. They make theirs, you make yours, and everyone is happy. Or go the keurig route. You might be able to pick up the machine cheap or free on your local Buy Nothing group.

  57. Canadian Gal*

    I have heard about this Costco work around. Anyone can go into Costco and buy a Costco gift card. Then with that Costco gift card anyone can go into the store and say they have a gift card that they would like to use, and they will be let into the store without a membership to purchase items, even if the items may be higher in price than the gift card. Again, this is a Costco hack that I have heard of, but have never used myself.

  58. Marie*

    I’m a coffee snob: Peet’s French roast in a Bialetti stovetop espresso. I love my coffee, friends and family love my coffee, and I am so grateful to be self employed!! As for advice to OP: You have been very patient and conscientious: opt out. Bring in your own coffee! I bring mine in an adorable pink YETI mug when I must. Good luck!

  59. Essentially Cheesy*

    This situation seems unreasonably ridiculous and I would decline to participate. Brew coffee you like at home and bring it in your own favorite insulted tumbler that is so trendy right now. Done and done.

  60. Goldenrod*

    “The only remaining solution is to swipe an empty Kirkland container the next time one runs out, fill it with the plain dark roast of your choice, and bring it in and see if everyone loves it.”

    I agree with Alison’s advice, except personally this would be my FIRST go-to solution.

    Also agree with the suggestion to get a Keurig! It solves SO MANY problems.

  61. Alex*

    Can you opt out of coffee club? Bring a thermos of your own coffee from home and let the others duke it out over what goes into the communal coffee machine.

    Although I’m of course rooting for Fake Kirkland Surprise!

  62. SunFish*

    Personally, I’d buy myself a small coffee pot and make my own coffee. They are playing games with that person.

    1. Kevin Sours*

      Having done this, a single cup drip system or a french press are easier than a pot for one person. Especially if you have a source of hot water (which they may not in a small office). I’d still go with an electric kettle and a pour over personally (but I also like tea).

  63. Falling Diphthong*

    Could those from tea-drinking nations weigh in on whether such passions are aroused by tea? I feel like coffee sometimes rivals simple carbs in terms of the intensity of emotion it arouses.

    Also the protractedness of any battles around who pays for the coffee.

    1. misspiggy*

      The making of tea to various people’s satisfaction, rather than the brand, is what tends to arouse the most drama in England.

      And whether or not biscuits are provided.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      I am not in a tea-drinking nation, but the first letter of “do I need to make coffee for coworkers when I don’t drink it, interviewing for the same job that rejected me previously, and more” from August 2, 2019 (and the comments and update to that letter) have some good insight into office tea politics.

    3. CommanderBanana*

      I’m a tea-only drinker (not by choice, by cardiologist fiat after some weird heart stuff).

      I don’t like drinking tea from a paper cup or with microwaved water, and I really prefer lemon + Earl Grey (it brings out the flavor of the bergamot!!) and do not like milk/sugar in my tea or oversteeped tea.

    4. Waffles*

      I’m a big tea drinker and 100% am very passionate about my tea. There’s a huge range of teas, which makes it maybe even more difficult. I like black tea. Don’t try to give me peach tea, mint tea, chai. And no earl grey. Fortunately it’s a lot easier to bring my own tea and just ask for hot water, can’t really do that with coffee at a restaurant or while travelling.

    5. Barry*

      With tea even if you were making a round of tea for the office you’d always be making single cups, no large pot that everyone has to agree on. So if someone was picky about tea it wouldn’t be a big problem to have their own, or even to have two boxes of tea bags. But also in the tea-drinking nation I lived in for two decades it was kind of like Coke and Pepsi: there are really only two (arguably three, but not really) main kinds of tea, Brand B and Brand L, and probably 90% of the population drink one or the other, and they are just, tea. Like, not a kind of tea like Earl Grey or something, just normal black tea like most everyone has at home. If someone wanted a particular kind of tea like green tea or with a flavour that would probably be on them to bring in their own box.

    6. vombatus ursinus*

      Yes, people do get quite passionate about tea — but if you’re making tea for a group, you would probably prepare several individual cups/mugs according to each recipient’s personal preference, rather than a single big urn or pot. The biggest standard teapots probably only make enough for 4 teacups or so, and fewer mugs, so … I think it’s this need to make a larger single volume of caffeine drink that everyone shares is the root of a lot of these coffee wars.

      And honestly, I have heard stories from the UK of people having to make a round of tea for a big group, but in my experience (Australian) the most you would expect from a coworker is to add some extra water to the kettle for you and then you come along and each prepare your own cup of tea once the water has boiled.

      Coffee is very popular is Australia too, but ‘coffee’ means espresso by default. (I remember an American relative who came to work in Melbourne for a year having a lot of trouble sleeping the first few weeks — turned out he had been continuing to drink 5-6 cups of coffee per day without realising how much stronger it was!) Filter, pour over etc. is strictly for coffee nerds. If there’s an office coffee machine, it’s probably a pod-style one, and there’s usually a jar of instant coffee hanging around, though I’ve rarely seen people using it! I think most would rather go around the corner and spend the $6 on a fresh espresso if they can afford it, or just drink tea instead. But there’s basically no culture of the communal coffee pot.

  64. Wintermute*

    situations where everyone vetos every answer are what pick-and-drop are made for. One person must pick a number of options, the next person drops one, the first person drops one, until one is left.

    Don’t try to play guessing games, they can move the pea in that shell game endlessly. Tell them to give you three or four possibilities and select from them. If they dislike it go to another option they provided Usually if people get to the second or third of their OWN IDEAS THEY SUGGESTED and veto it they realize they are being patently ridiculous and knock it off.

  65. ChattyDelle*

    rereading the original letter, it seems LW is an attorney, but not a partner. seems the admins are trying to play a power game with the new hire. LW, as a lawyer (not an admin), should just opt out and bring her own coffee, whether it’s a Keurig or a Starbucks. stop this game now, or they’ll be trying other things to make you jump thru hoops.

  66. JSPA*

    1. If they like a flavorless but un-bitter coffee that you hate, the chances are low that they will like something that you also like.

    2. There absolutely are dark roasts that are not bitter. A lot of them don’t make it out of Brazil or Sumatra, but…they exist.

    3. Get something that’s a grind coarser than you’d normally drink. It’ll reduce the bitterness.

    4. they may hate the fruity notes of light roast, but a “morning blend” medium-dark roast in a dark-roast bag may do what you need.

  67. Ms. Chanandeler Bong*

    Please, please, PLEASE try the last suggestion first. I’d be willing to bet it works, and it would make a great story if it does!

  68. Oregon Girl*

    I suggest removing yourself from the coffee battle altogether. Buy a nice thermos brew a pot at home or work transfer to thermos, drink throughout the day. Repet as necessary. Buy whatever kind if coffee you like. This coffee thing sounds like some sort of weird power game. The best thing you can do is not engage.

  69. Magc*

    Given that the OP doesn’t like the coffee, I’d recommend opting out of the shared coffee and just bringing my own.

    However, I’m wondering why they haven’t already been ordering the Kirkland coffee online in quantities large enough that there’s no shipping charge.

    (Speaking as someone who prefers the SFB French Roast that Costco sells enough to order it but have it shipped to my parents’ place before visiting so I don’t have to drink their medium-roast coffee…)

  70. JSPA*

    I went searching and found reviews saying costco used to roast their own, but now (or the “now” of the review date, some years ago) Starbucks roasts for Costco. Could be total hogwash. But maybe try a “charbucks” option (one without “notes” of anything but “over-roasted”)?

    1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      There will not be a Starbucks dark roast that isn’t over-roasted. As I understand it Starbucks doesn’t expect people to actually drink their coffee as coffee, so it’s roasted to taste good in a vanilla latte or whatever with lots of milk and sugar, not on its own.

      1. raincoaster*

        No, that’s not correct.

        Starbucks roasts darker than most other companies, to a Full City Roast level, but that is deliberate. They truly believe coffee tastes better that way.

        The only coffee in those mixed sugar bombs is either Italian or espresso, both of which are roasted darker than other coffees.

        1. coffee*

          As I understand, it’s not that they think it tastes better, it’s that it tastes more consistent across all their stores. They’re so big that they have to source their beans from multiple places, and so the coffee beans all have different flavours, and a dark roast means they all taste more similar to each other.

    2. She of Many Hats*

      Get some dark roast you like ground at the coffee shop then dump it into a mason jar with a tight seal to keep it fresh and see if they like it. Just tell them the coffee shop name and nothing about the bean beyond it’s a dark roast (“I just asked them for a plain dark roast – don’t know which one”).

  71. AnonymousToast*

    I would show up with a Keurig Mini, a reusable K-Cup, filters for said K-Cup, and an extension cord (if applicable). Coworkers can return to their Kirkland Delight and I’ll make a cup of Exactly The Brew I Want, Thank You Very Much.

  72. kirkland land*

    The personal coffee maker is a great option. But also, what am I missing? If the admin is going “out of their way” to Costco to pick up a tub of coffee, can they just pick up 2 instead during that same trip? Nobody needs to make an extra trip …

    1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      They apparently belong to the people who think that pain should be equally felt by all.

      (But now I’m wondering. If they have Costco memberships, doesn’t that mean they go to Costco on their own sometimes? So that they wouldn’t actually be “going out of their way” to get the coffee? Because LW says “part of the point of taking turns with the coffee is to take turns having to go out of your way to run the errand”. If it turns out that they both got memberships solely to get this coffee and they never go except when getting coffee… well, they’re seeking out pain for no particular reason that I can think of, at which point I throw up my hands while also washing my hands of this nonsense.)

  73. A_Jessica*

    I’m team get a personal coffee maker for your office & bow out of the coffee wars.
    You’ve paid your dues trying to make these two admins happy.

  74. BellyButton*

    OMG, all companies should provide coffee, tea, creamer, and sugar. It isn’t that expensive and people waste so much time on this nonsense and there is no world where it is ok to ask admins to pay for coffee for the higher paid other employees. Nonsense!

    1. NoWater*

      I once worked for a company that didn’t supply water. Seriously – no form of drinkable water.

      What companies do can vary greatly from what they should do…

  75. CoffeeCat*

    OMG please please PLEASE skip straight to Plan C. It feels like that’s the win here – no arbitrary dunking on your other branded options, AND you get a coffee choice you actually enjoy.

  76. Phony Genius*

    If one person is able to get the Kirkland coffee, maybe you could all pool your money and have that person actually get it each time, rather than taking turns. I know an office upstairs from me that does this.

    1. BellyButton*

      That seems like the easiest answer, give all the money to one person and have them buy coffee for the entire month or 3 months or whatever. Most people with a costco membership go every month or at least every other month.

      1. OMG It's 2024*

        I believe in the letter the OP offered to give money and have one of the admins pick it up on their run, but “taking the time and annoyance to actually BUY the coffee is part of the whole deal” and they refused. They sound like power tripping twits.

  77. Ann O'Nemity*

    Time to quit the Kirkland Coffee Club! It sounds like your coworkers really want Kirkland brand coffee, even if they won’t directly say so.

    Just say something like, “Hey, I’ve tried this and it seems like we have different tastes in coffee. Moving forward, I’ll get my own.” And then let them have the communal pot and find another option (your own pot, pour over, thermos, etc).

    Alternatively, if you have a lot of clients or guests drinking the coffee I would argue that it should be covered by the office!

    1. Blue Horizon*

      That’s what I would say.

      Actually that’s not all I would say, but it’s the only part of it that I would advise others to say in the same situation.

  78. Dry Erase Aficionado*

    Get an AreoPress and an electric kettle. Everyone can use their own preferred coffee and peace can reign again.

  79. Coverage Associate*

    I was going to offer to send OP a can of Kirkland from church, but church uses decaf and tells visitors it’s regular or decaf depending on what they want to hear. (I don’t agree with this, but I am not in a position to change it.) I do buy instant regular coffee for the members who prefer that. I don’t drink any of the coffee at church, so I can’t complain on the basis of taste.

    The bishop has actually scolded us for our terrible coffee (apparently bad coffee is unwelcoming to young adults), but we don’t have the tens of thousands of dollars the cathedral spent on a fancy brewing system.

    So I am on team switch cans.

    I do think OP needs a way to make coffee at the office, because OP will have long days unexpectedly. The admins won’t so much, in a firm too cheap to buy them coffee (or pay for their overtime). If OP can have her own coffee maker, that’s a great second choice. My last 2 offices didn’t allow them.

    I agree that this is hazing by the actually more powerful within the office admins. My advice is to use them as little as possible and get assignments to them as early as possible, to make friends.

    1. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

      In the catering industry, we used to call this “magic coffee” — carry two pots of decaf, say the one on the right is regular. It wasn’t standard practice, but it would happen if somebody screwed up loading the truck or the client didn’t actually want to pay for both kinds of coffee or something.

      1. Coverage Associate*

        I know it’s dangerous for some people to have regular when they think they’re getting decaf, so at least we’re safe that way. I am personally with the assistant priest that we need to have regular. Technically, no one is supposed to be having anything to eat or drink before church. (Black coffee might be permitted) I don’t know anyone who starts the day with decaf.

        But like OP’s admins actually have more power in that office, the kitchen ladies have more power than the assistant priest.

    2. Jade*

      Patients with heart problems can go into an arrhythmia if they ingest caffeine. Very dangerous. I’ve seen it.

      1. Coverage Associate*

        Yes, I would have raised the issue hard even when I was no longer in leadership if we were passing regular as decaf. That is dangerous.

        But anyone who needs caffeine medically shouldn’t be getting it from church coffee hour, if only because the coffee maker is temperamental, and sometimes there’s no coffee. I think I have been voluntold to help the newest member set up next month mostly so I can work the coffee maker, though I actually don’t know how, either. I have a small one at home I keep for guests. I will bring that one because I have manufacturers’ instructions.

        1. Professional Staff*

          I very carefully regulate my caffeine intake–too much and my anxiety spikes; too little and I get a migraine. If church runs out of coffee and I don’t have any at fellowship hour, I’ll get some another time. If I *think* I’ve had regular coffee after church when it’s actually decaf, I’ll be sick for the rest of the day and not know why.

  80. bmorepm*

    If the admins just bought two tubs on their runs and allowed the new attorney to venmo them, it wouldn’t really be any extra work for them as far as running an extra errand, going out of their way, etc.

  81. Ryan*

    this whole situation is problematic. for one you should not be required to pay out of pocket for coffee for lawyers etc. say to the administrators that you will not participate in the rotation any more. get Nescafe or some other instant type of coffee use hot water from the water cooler for yourself and call it a day. they will get annoyed at first but they will get over it.

    1. Kevin Sours*

      Maybe I’m missing something but there are 5 people: 2 admins, 2 partners, and OP. The partners don’t drink coffee (and there is no indication that this is a ruse and they’re secretly mooching on the communal pot). So the only potential lawyer who is having coffee bought for them *is* OP.

  82. Nay*

    Dark roast coffee drinker here, and what’s with the comment that dark roast is always bitter!? – it’s flavorful! I know it’s not for everyone, but no need to insult lovely dark roast while presenting your issue. Your co-workers sound exhausting though, and I kinda love Alison’s comment to just re-use a Kirkland tin.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      It definitely can taste bitter if it’s over-roasted. Some coffee brands must practically set their beans on fire! I did find that I lost my taste for dark roast with age, but if it’s the only coffee available, that’s what I’ll drink.

    2. Sunbeam+Nap=winning*

      same – I really prefer dark roast and don’t find it bitter. *Except* French roast – I find that specific roast to be bitter as all get-out no matter who roasted it (I’m sure there are exceptions. I haven’t found them). So I feel a touch of sympathy for the other 2 admins… but only a touch LOL!

  83. cityMouse*

    I’m with Alison, save the empty Kirkland tin and fill it with your choice, or even just…. stop buying coffee. I don’t understand this kind of drama… I agree you should not be buying coffee for the lawyers. What a weird power move.

    Why don’t they just get a coffee service??

  84. Warrior Princess Xena*

    For a while I made coffee for our church. You know those pump/press top coffee pots that supermarkets and gas stations sometimes have? Hold about two liters? We’re all big coffee lovers so we often go through 5 of those a week, and it would usually take us a couple of Sundays to get through a full big container of Folgers/Kirkland brand. How much coffee are three people drinking that this is a weekly debate??

    1. Coverage Associate*

      I do know those! Because my church has them too. I am kind of looking forward to bringing my small coffee maker from home because the big one makes like a quart per person attending coffee hour. It seems so wasteful for the silent generation.

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        Ha – we have the opposite problem. We can’t keep up! Doesn’t hurt that we’re in an area of the US where coffee is very popular.

        It’s funny you call it coffee hour, that’s not a term I hear a lot of :)

  85. Joyce to the World*

    Isn’t the Kirkland brand made by Starbucks? Buy that kind and stick in an empty Kirkland tub?

  86. Lizzianna*

    Is it an option to opt-out of the office coffee club and just bring your own? My office doesn’t have coffee, so I bring a thermos every day, or make myself a pour-over or aeropress if I’m feeling fancy.

  87. Throwaway Account*

    As some others said, I am getting mean girls vibe. I think if you told them you got a Costco card and brought in Kirklands, they would say they no longer like it because the formula must have changed.

    Do Alison’s last option and fake Kirklands, but! Have a story lined up like your neighbor got it for you. Also, do the other suggestion from upthread and put Kirklands coffee in another container and see if they like it.

    I’m not sure you can tell them you did this as they will probably intensify their mean girl policies. Maybe you can say, Oh no, my neighbor told me that is NOT Kirklands, she reuses the Kirklands containers for her husband’s expensive coffee and I need to bring it back!

  88. Hailrobonia*

    In my old job the building had a large coffee dispenser machine – the kind with large hoppers of grounds that brew on the spot, and it had several different kinds of coffee it could make. I was in charge of restocking the machine for no good reason other than I was the only one tall enough to fill the hoppers.

    I got tired of ordering 8 different kinds of coffee and so just got regular and decaf. You might think you are getting “Colombian Blend” or “Costa Rican Mountain Shade-Grown Light Roast” but it’s all the same: generic coffee.

    Nobody noticed.

  89. OMG It's 2024*

    The cost of the ongoing tubs of coffee would easily pay over time for a Keurig and an assortment of pods and people can make their own coffee, or tea, or even hot apple cider or hot chocolate. If they don’t want one for the office, I’d buy a single cup one for myself and say, “I am opting out of the office coffee *club* since we can’t seem to agree on the coffee for everyone, so I’ll just handle my own.” These women are playing games with you for some little teensy power trip. If you don’t want to spring for a Keurig or similar, I LOVE Alison’s suggestion to sub a Kirkland tub with generic coffee. I used to do this with cereal. I’d buy the bags of “generic” frosted flakes (but they don’t TASTE right, Mom) and put it in the FF box and happy kids (30 years ago, but same concept).

  90. Princess Pumpkin Spice*

    Not advice, but commiseration.

    I, a life-long coffee hater and tea connoisseur, somehow got put in charge of the office coffee machine. It’s a fancy thing and can hold 3 kinds of beans at once. I probably got 3-4 comments a day about how the office should supply better (free) coffee, because the ones in the machine were “crap”. I went to my boss and was given a $X/ bag budget, and printed off a poll of the nine coffees available to choose from (which included the ones we already had).

    First place went to new coffee.

    Second, Third, and Fourth… were our original 3 coffees.

    I laminated and hung up the results next to the machine. When people whine, I just point.

  91. Urp*

    I’m definitely team switch and see if they notice, but if I were in your shoes I’d opt out of all of this, bring a single cup pour over setup and make my own coffee.

  92. Some People’s Children*

    Years ago Consumer Reports did blind taste tests where Caribou Colombian and Folgers Columbian were just a point or so apart in scores. The trick was to put an extra scoop of Folgers in, which was still cheaper than Caribou. I did that all the time at work. There’s room for all sorts of fun with this!

    1. Michaela T*

      As a Costco member I am pretty sure the only Dark Roast Kirkland is the 100% Columbian. That’s the only one I’m seeing available ground from my store.

      I think OP should nope out of this whole thing but if they want to try to appease the admins that’s the type to buy (Folgers, Caribou, whatever).

  93. Observer*

    OP, are you an attorney? If yes, I suspect that NOTHING you do is going to be ok with these folks. You will never be able to get the “right” coffee, even if you get the Kirkland brand.

    Because I’m willing to bet that this is not about the coffee, but the office politics. If you ever update us, I am expecting to hear about a lot of additional politics here.

  94. LizW*

    Way back in the AAM archives didn’t someone brew together the remnants from a bunch of different coffees and manage to foil no, fool the coffee snobs in their office?

    1. Nea*

      I think you’re thinking of the chili contest where someone won by putting a little bit of everyone else’s in their pot?

  95. Lizzianna*

    Also, just, tread carefully here.

    New lawyer dynamics with long-time admins can be fraught, especially in smaller firms. Is this the only weird dynamics in the office? It’s possible they’re just really weird about the coffee, but it’s also possible it’s a weird power-play. I’d be careful to not get sucked into this kind of thing, and make sure you’re professionally maintaining authority and boundaries.

    “I’m not able to get a Costco membership. If you really want Kirkland coffee, I can pay one of you to pick up an extra when it’s your turn, we can agree on a different coffee, or I can opt out of the coffee club. Let me know which you’d prefer.”

  96. raincoaster*

    Coffee snob here.

    When non-coffee snob people say “dark roast” 99% of the time they mean full-bodied. Just get them a decent Kenya and they’ll be happy.

    1. ferrina*

      I’m also a coffee snob (and a trained barista from a famous coffee shop). Agree that most people don’t know coffee as well as they think they do. I’ve met a lot of people where it’s more about what they expect than what they get. It’s often the classic “I hate light roasts” then drinking a light roast without knowing what it is and saying “this is great, what is it?” Claiming that a dark roast is “flavored” because it includes tasting notes tells me all I need to know.

      These folks are emotionally attached to their Kirkland coffee. It’s not about the flavor, it’s about the emotional stability of brand loyalty. I recommend either getting out of this coffee club (can you bring your own coffee from home?) or giving someone the money to go to Costco for you.

  97. Whomever*

    Ah, office Coffee. So much drama over so little. I work for a Very Big Tech Company that has actual Baristas making espresso and such. The food is managed by Restaurant Associates who, according to our Baristas, just don’t understand Espresso at all. Like one of the managers wanted to make the Cappucinos hotter to be like Dunkin’ Donuts. (If you talk to espresso afficinados super hot cappuccinos are terrible, it scalds the milk). There was a…pushback. The funny thing is our Baristas are all(ok mostly) middle aged hispanic Women who can make a cappuccino equal to the best coffee shops in the US.

    (I’m Australian…we legit have some of the best Espresso in the world. Seriously, the coffee you get at Sydney Airport is better than the vast majority you get in the US. Starbucks failed there because it was so mediocre)

  98. Ms. Murchison*

    I wonder if the admins think that the office should be paying for the coffee out of its operations budget instead of expecting employees to pay for it. Someone above speculated there may have been Coffee Wars before the LW arrived. I wouldn’t be surprised if LW has unknowingly stepped into the aftermath of a protracted argument between the coffee-drinking admins and the not-coffee-drinking partners.

  99. Garlic Microwaver*

    Unpopular opinion and not helpful: I love Kirland brand coffee, but the medium roast pre-ground that comes in BAGS, not the tubs. Huge difference. As for the rest, OP, come in with a 100-pack of matcha green tea from Costco; drink your own coffee at home in the morning. Suckers!

  100. John Smith*

    Am I the only one wanting to tell these people to stop behaving like spoilt little brats? Seriously, if this arose in my office, it’s a case of like it or lump it and there’s no third option.

    I’d buy the Kirkland coffee and lace it with laxatives.

    1. NameRequired*

      I know you’re *probably* joking, but that is actually actionable as an assault, and probably civily as well as a tort, especially if someone shat themselves due to it and suffered “humiliation and emotional distress and poop related PTSD” etc…

      1. I Have RBF*

        … suffered “humiliation and emotional distress and poop related PTSD” etc…

        /me cries in IBS-D

        Who do I sue? /s

    2. londonedit*

      Maybe it’s a British thing, but to me this is like all the ‘but I want THIS drink, I don’t like sparkling water, I can’t have orange juice, they should make sure something else is available’ chat on that Diet Coke letter the other day. I’ve never worked in an office where you get a choice about the tea and coffee available. You get what you’re given. If you don’t like it, you bring in your own coffee or you pop out and buy one or whatever.

  101. Festively Dressed Earl*

    Yes, LW should opt out of the coffee rotation, but I’m wondering if this is the admins passive aggressively lashing out at the only lawyer they can. The partners should have been providing coffee as a courtesy for the admins and for clients from the start; are they routinely passing the costs of other office supplies and basic comforts on to lower paid staff? (I remember one lawyer who made his assistant buy her own toilet paper.) LW probably doesn’t have the capital to change bigger issues like poor wages or lack of benefits, but asking the partners to reconsider buying office coffee might be a good start to changing the culture.

  102. Sheev Palpatine*

    LW, allow me to invite you to turn to the dark side and start drinking instant coffee. It’s ludicrously cheap: I get the instant espresso from Bustelo, which gives me ~1 month’s supply for like $6.50. If you want something fancier, Medaglia di Oro is good stuff and still cheaper than buying coffee grounds. I think instant coffee tastes pretty decent, and nobody else at your office has to drink it. No need for a coffee maker, you just need an electric kettle, a mug, and an (optional) measuring spoon.

    With the money you save, you can volunteer to pay for *all* of the Costcoffee, even though you won’t be drinking any of it, on the condition that you don’t have to physically acquire it yourself.

    1. Be the Change*

      I am on the dark side with you. My favorite, but I can no longer buy it in jars and I refuse to buy the little packets so oh well, is Mulvadi Kona. Thanks for the Bustelo and Medaglia suggestions!.

  103. HonorBox*

    I get the “don’t want to go out of your way” thing, but maybe LW, you could offer one or the other of the admins “your” coffee purchase money and they could buy two tubs of Kirkland when they go shopping for theirs. No one is going an extra time. You don’t have to purchase the membership, and while I like Alison’s suggestion of Instacart, you shouldn’t have to pay extra just for that delivery.

    I had a similar coffee experience with a coworker who swore that she could only drink Folgers Original Roast because (and I quote) “other coffee gives me the trots.” Yes, she said that.

    I found it wasn’t a hill worth dying on. I preferred a different type of coffee, but bringing in a separate coffee maker and/or putting up with bodily function conversations seemed worse than drinking coffee I didn’t prefer to drink.

    1. HonorBox*

      I do see the additional info I missed the first read about the offer to fund the purchase.

      That said, I would gently point out to them that if they’re going to pick up coffee, picking up an extra tub when they go (with your money) isn’t creating another errand. If they don’t see how ridiculous that sounds, definitely opt out. And don’t opt out in a way that gives them any sort of upper hand. Tell them that because you’re not buying a membership and you’ve tried three other options, their ridiculousness has pushed you to out of the coffee group.

  104. nora*

    Studies have shown that cheap wine in fancy bottles tastes just as good as fancy wine in the same bottles. It’s all about perception. I’m team Fake Kirkland.

    (I do not drink coffee.)

    1. purple spotted giraffe*

      Yeah, I used to be a wine taster, and this gets touted about all the time. I often do blind tastings for wines ranging from $20 to $80, and I have *never* had anyone prefer the cheap wine. There is no doubt that perception of expense can alter the perception of flavour, but if you start with: here are two wines, you can’t see the bottle, pick the one you like the best … again, I’ve never had anyone pick the cheaper one.

  105. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

    I’m voting for the Empty Kirkland Container gambit, both because I theorize it will solve the issue but also because I look forward to one day reading a letter entitled “I just learned my coworker has secretly been buying us non-Kirkland coffee and I feel betrayed.”

  106. Alice*

    I love the idea to put other coffee in the Kirkland container to see if they really can tell the difference. My mom used to do that with Peanut butter (putting generic in the Jif jar), and no one noticed :)

  107. CommanderBanana*

    This is deranged. I don’t drink coffee, but if I did, I’d be inclined to spend $30 on a small coffee pot for my office and tell the Kirkland-fiending admins they’re on their own.

  108. Annie*

    “You’ve made this juuuust annoying enough that I no longer want to participate. Thanks though, but I’m out!”

    1. HonorBox*

      Yep. Then spend the money you’re saving on a nice big Thermos that you can bring with good coffee.

      1. HonorBox*

        The other benefit to this is that if they don’t want to go out of their way for an errand when funded by the LW, now they’re each going to have to go out of their way a couple more times each year (whoa is them) because only two are consuming coffee…

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      That would be very satisfying to say, but as admins, LW definitely needs to not antagonize them. But as a lawyer, I think LW could come up with a version of this that doesn’t rankle them.

      And really, not being a part of this bizarre coffee circle is the best answer.

  109. Britpoptarts*

    I don’t drink coffee, and am picky enough about my tea that I don’t want to inflict it on everyone else in our tiny office, so I buy my own chai latte K-cups that other officemates are welcome to try but (so far) have not tried.

    Honestly, I’m with both the folks who suggest opting out at this point and just bringing in what you like in a thermos, and those who (like me) are super curious to see what would happen if you pulled the Faux Kirkland switcheroo. :)

  110. Brave Little Roaster*

    As a coffee professional, all I can say without writing way too much is that OP is totally right (particularly about the tasting notes on the package!) and that I hope the OP doesn’t have to drink the Kirkland coffee.

  111. McS*

    It is time to get a thermos big enough for a days worth of coffee, fill it at home or on your way in, and opt out of office coffee entirely.

  112. Gigi*

    Reverse experiment: if you know someone with a Costco membership, get them to buy the “proper” coffee for you (of course reimburse them) and then bring it to the office in an unmarked container. I am sure they will say it tastes wrong.

    Actually maybe swap the Costco container for the brand you like and bring both to the office. See how they react to the “proper” coffee in the wrong container and the wrong coffee in the “proper” container.

    (Tell them about the placebo and nocebo effect.)

  113. Circus Monkey*

    Can they buy more than one tub when they go to Costco?….like by three each funded by one admin?….P.S. I love the idea of fulling the Kirland tub with some other brand to see if they notice

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Per the letter:

      I have suggested that perhaps that I could Venmo one of them to pick up the coffee they like (and let go of wanting to like said coffee). Apparently part of the point of taking turns with the coffee is to take turns having to go out of your way to run the errand. This is not an option.

      So no, the admins refuse to just buy one more tub (funded by the letter writer) when they go to Costco.

      1. HonorBox*

        Shoot I missed that part too. If Kirkland is the brand of choice, I would push back on this with the other two. And I say this in total agreement with you… If they’re going in January, buying two tubs is not going out of their way to run an errand.

      2. I Have RBF*

        Then I am firmly on team “No, you don’t understand. I am not going to Costco. If you want Costco coffee from me, you will have to get it yourself with money I give you. I have no reason to get a Costco membership just for coffee that I don’t even like. Take it or leave it.”

        You need to shut down the power game.

  114. J!*

    Honestly, I bowed out of the coffee wars at my last in-person job by bringing a french press into the office and making my own coffee for myself and only myself. If they want to do Kirkland whatever between the two of them, whatever, but at this point I’d be out with a french press or pour over setup. (Copper Cow Coffee makes some cool pour over in your pocket things that are super convenient, and I bring with me when I travel in case coffee isn’t handy where I stay.)

    1. J!*

      Oh wait, I missed that you have to take turns “buying it for the office.” Do people besides the three of you drink it? Do you get reimbursed for it? That’s garbage, and I would take a different tactic for getting out of this whole entire system.

      1. Dinwar*

        My office takes turns buying coffee for the office–but by that I mean, the PMs take turns expensing the coffee to projects. It’s cheap, keeps the teams happy, and pays for itself.

        1. J!*

          That seems like a good thing for PMs to do. It seems fully uncalled for for admins to have to do that for the rest of the office that they already support.

  115. swimming through jell-o*

    Just FYI: Non-members can order from Costco.com. Certain items are reserved for members, but not all (and I checked, this coffee is not one of those select items). It would be worth price-checking against Instacart.

  116. Fleur*

    I have 5 years of barista experience. “Unflavored coffee” doesn’t exist. All coffee has some kind of flavor notes. If they want to drink an “unflavored” drink, they can drink water.

  117. Costcomember*

    You shouldn’t have to do this, but it might be an acceptable stop gap that allows you to focus on something other than coffee right now and deal with the issue later…

    Give one of the admins (who has a Costco membership) cash to buy you a Costco gift card the next time she is going. You can also give them cash and they can buy the card for you digitally from the comfort of their computer. You can then use the gift card to enter and buy things at Costco without having to have a membership. Put enough on the gift card so it lasts you several trips or so you can buy enough coffee to last through the next few turns.

    But a simpler option is have the coffee shipped direct to the office from Costco. For free shipping it’s like a $75 minimum but you could split the cost and just have $75 worth of coffee for however long it lasts (or pay the $3/item shipping fee and order less coffee). That way no one has to go to Costco at all.

  118. Petty betty*

    Petty Betty here…. .get someone to buy Kirklands for you, get the roast of your choice, then swap the contents and see what happens. Then opt out and get your own set up.

  119. Can it Kirkland*

    A lot of Kirkland items are made by familiar brands and packaged for Costco. Google says that Starbucks roasts the signature blends for the Kirkland brand.

  120. Goody*

    Agreed that this sounds like a power play by the admins, and the easiest way out may be for OP to bring their own pre-made coffee from home and/or brew single cups as desired, whether that be a Keurig type system, pour-over, French press, etc.

  121. Mochas are delicious*

    As a coffee drinker who works in an office that supplies free coffee–this whole fiasco sounds ridiculous. Partners don’t drink coffee so the other 5 people have to supply their own (coffee isn’t that expensive…especially for 5 people? Come on). OP, if you can opt out with minimal backlash from your coworkers, I would highly suggest that. They should buy their own coffee if they’re going to be that picky.

  122. But not the Hippopotamus*

    anyone else read the first on disappearing as they liked it a lot? I’m wondering if they want OP to bring that back and are ‘hoping everything else.

  123. Chirpy*

    As someone who doesn’t drink much coffee, I’m heavily on the side of “why can’t everyone just brew their own”. Like, pretend you’re giving up coffee (Lent is coming up, if you want an excuse and are Christian-ish) and then just bring your own mug.

    But please, please update if you go the “fill a Kirkland container with other coffee” route, I want to know if they even notice. I’ve actually seen that work before, complaints stopped when a seasoning had the label removed.

    1. LW*

      I am Jewish and I know you mean well, but it’s interesting that you immediately suggested celebrating a Christian holiday and I wonder whether if you knew of a holiday for a different religion you would have suggested that as readily?

      1. HannahS*

        (Fellow Jew here) Even if you were Christian, I struggle to see how lying about not drinking coffee and secretly continuing to drink coffee and hoping they don’t notice is somehow better than just saying, “Hey, please have the coffee that you like, and I’ll just get my own that I like.” Admins are not made of glass. They can presumably handle a fellow adult saying, “Hey, I’m going to opt out of the communal coffee.”

        1. Chirpy*

          I mean, yes, ideally, opting out of the communal coffee is the best option. I’ve just known a lot of people who got weirdly bent out of shape when I politely declined coffee. (I didn’t drink coffee for a very long time, and people actually were offended if I drank a glass of water – which was provided alongside the coffee!- instead.)

      2. Chirpy*

        I mentioned Lent because it starts next Wednesday, so it’s just the closest. Ramadan starts in March. Forgive my ignorance, but I don’t know of any month-long fasts in Judaism, or fast days that aren’t in the fall.

        1. nnn*

          Thinking along these lines, Passover is a Jewish holiday that comes with dietary restrictions, and I think it’s in April this year.

          I googled whether coffee is Kosher for Passover and got mixed information, but if someone wanted to adapt the “giving up coffee for Lent” approach to Judaism, they might be able to use that as a Very Good Reason why they suddenly can’t drink this one coffee but can drink this other coffee they brought from home.

          (And I agree that you should be able to just not drink the coffee, but also when people are being weird about stuff it can sometimes be more strategic to break the pattern for a seemingly-unrelated reason)

          1. Chirpy*

            That’s a good point, thank you. I hadn’t thought about whether or not coffee is kosher for holidays, most of the Jewish people I know do drink coffee regularly so I’ve never asked specifics.

            I also personally found that when people were being weird about me not drinking coffee, they didn’t question what was in my big travel mug, so long as I had one. (In my case, it was tea.) Obviously drinking water or nothing at all seemed to be the thing they noticed as “weird”, and I could then turn down the coffee as I already had a full mug. But I was not expected to buy coffee for others, it was either provided or everyone brought their own, though.

  124. Dinwar*

    I absolutely would not lie about the coffee. If nothing else, it would bring up questions of integrity, and in law that’s not a minor thing.

    What I WOULD do–and have done–is start bringing in my own French press. You can heat the water in a microwave, so there’s no issues with heat sources (often a concern in offices). Then make whatever you want. For my part, I’d opt for a double-walled stainless steel model. I’ve found that the glass ones typically shatter after about a year or so. Maybe it’s just that I don’t handle them properly (though I’ve heard a number of people with similar complaints), but my double-walled steel press works just fine. Then opt out of the office coffee rotation. With a bit of practice you can make coffee in a French press that will make any coffee pod seem like drinking mud.

    Or–and I’ve done this too–take over the coffee rotation, and tell them if they don’t like it they can take it back. I buy the coffee, so I get to choose what we drink. And if you don’t like it, I’ll gladly brew whatever grounds YOU provide. I’m anosmic, so a lot of the flavor profiles of the fancy stuff (actually aromatics) don’t register anyway, so I don’t care.

    1. I Have RBF*

      I actually find that French presses put lots of ground in the coffee, and I hate that. A cheap pour over cone and filters is how I do it, and yes, I’m a coffee snob.

      1. Dinwar*

        If you’re careful about the press and maintaining your filters you can avoid most of that. But yeah, I’ve honestly gotten used to the grounds. I just don’t drink the last sip–and I’ve found that so engrained that I won’t even if I’m drinking coffee brewed in a regular coffee pot. It becomes instinctive after a while. Honestly, for me the biggest issue is remembering to not let it sit too long in the press–it can easily get over-steeped if you’re not careful.

        I used to do the funnel pour-over method as well–I had a giant ceramic mug (it’d hold a 750 ml bottle with room to spare), and got a cheap food-grade funnel, some coffee filters, and an electric kettle. I did it because it was a way to make coffee while my infant son was asleep in my arms without waking him up. I didn’t even realize it was fancy until years later; I just knew it was quiet!

        My go-to these days is the mocha pot, but that’s not as amenable to an office environment. Good for campouts, though.

    2. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

      Can confirm the “glass coffee-pots break after a year” metric. Source: after my last one broke, I reviewed my Amazon history to discover I’d bought a replacement in the same month of every year for five years running.

      I use a steel one now.

      1. Kevin Sours*

        I must be doing something right. My current french press is six or seven years old and sees daily use.

      2. Jezebella*

        I use a Bodum French press, and have for about 20 years. I’ve only had one break, and that was I dropped something on it while it was in the sink. So maybe try Bodum next?

    3. BigLawEx*

      I have a glass French press and the double walled stainless. Both have lasted for years, but I don’t drink that much coffee. They’re great for small single amounts. Easy to clean. Highly recommended.

      Though, to be honest, I’d just put my home drink in a thermos. Some great 32 oz ones keep drinks warm a long time. I use them for tea from time to time and solve a huge problem (which for me is that I like looseleaf tea which is hard to get when out and about).

      Leave the mean girls to themselves.

  125. Observer*

    Op, I know that you’ve gotten a lot of “Go the fake kirkland route”. I would absolutely avoid it.

    My first choice would be to bow out of the rotation altogether. If, for some reason that is absolutely impossible get something like the Walmart brand or Cafe Bustelo (or even the Target one you originally got) and just don’t argue. They don’t like it? Too bad. As long as it’s the same size as the Kirkland, you don’t refill any sooner than the Kirkland ones. If it’s actually smaller by as many tubs as equals the Kirkland tub. (And drink your own coffee.)

    And whatever else you do, watch your back. Make sure you have backups of all your work, and make sure that you have documentation of all work related conversations. Because SOMETHING is going on here, and I would not put it past these folks to try to mess you over in a more significant way.

  126. Dasein9 (he/him)*

    They’re messing with you.

    Also, though, you’re right; they shouldn’t be buying the coffee.

    Have the firm get a business membership to Costco and put the junior admin in charge of ordering coffee for the office. As a (silent!) reward for playing you well, maybe have them add pastries for the office to the monthly delivery.

  127. Pyjamas*

    I’m puzzled by the mystery about the tub of coffee from Target that “ran out too fast” — were the other two admin’s stealing coffee to have an excuse to get their fav brand?

    1. jane's nemesis*

      I think the implication is that they were getting rid of it to make it go away faster – like throwing away one pot’s worth every time they made a pot? Like “oops, tee hee, silly me, I spilled a cup of ground coffee in the trash can!”

      1. Pyjamas*

        That’s just evil, and I’m such a coffee snob that if I can’t get what I want ( freshly ground medium roast beans measured with a scale and brewed in a French press ), I’ll have a cup of tea. But throw out coffee? Never!

  128. justpeachy86*

    The only solution is the last one. No other coffee will make them happy. Perception is everything.

    Alternate theory…. sounds like a wonderful way to haze the new lawyer. I honestly would opt out and have a Keurig in my office.

  129. Sunflower*

    I wouldn’t do the fake Kirkland container thing. If they find out, they will feel it’s a betrayal by a higher up (I assume a lawyer is higher in the organization than admins?) If they feel betrayed/tricked by “the boss” for a thing like coffee, you with never gain their trust back for big things and will probably need to watch your back.

    Just opt out and let the admins buy their own preferred brand so they can’t complain and you won’t stress over spending money for coffee you don’t like. “The only winning move is not to play.”

    1. Alice in Spreadsheetland*

      I originally thought it would be fun to do the fake container but I think you’re right, too much backfiring potential. My first choice would be to just opt out of being part of the coffee rotation though- LW you don’t like the Kirkland coffee anyway, they don’t like your coffee- why should you have to drink coffee you don’t like and have them gripe at you when they can supply their preferred coffee for themselves, and you can supply your preferred coffee for yourself? Either a small coffeemaker at your desk or a second one in the kitchen if that’s possible.

      Or just become a tea person and forever opt out of office coffee politics :D

  130. Ex-prof*

    OP should take the money she would have spent on endless tubs of coffee, only to be dissed, and buy herself a small coffeemaker instead.

  131. Julia*

    It sounds like they liked, maybe a little too much, the Target coffee that disappeared suspiciously fast. I would buy that, at least for a while. If it becomes obvious that I’m buying coffee for way more than the 3 people expected to share the coffee, then I may opt out. But often it’s worth buying some good will at the price of closing the eyes to this type of pettiness.

  132. Coin_Operated*

    I am a notorious coffee snob, and like to freshly grind my coffee. I also can’t stand dark roasts (dark roasts are typically the lowest quality beans because the roasting disguises the low quality). I brought in my automated espresso machine and bought the quality coffee I like. It sounds expensive but it’s already paid for itself compared to going to coffee shops and I don’t even mess with the community coffee pot.

  133. Really?*

    At this point, I’d opt out of the coffee group. I’d buy a small single serve pod coffee machine, keep it at my desk, and leave them to it.

  134. Critical Rolls*

    I have to wonder — is this the only area where the admins are being completely unreasonable? Do you have a relationship with either of the other lawyers that would permit an honest conversation about the over-the-top-ness of this?

    I agree with the various advice to opt out and supply your own coffee, both because this is a bit too close to “gifting up” and because you and the admins have incompatible preferences. But I’m concerned that this might be the tip of the iceberg… or the end of the fuse.

  135. Completely Marshmallow*

    The admins are holding their ground because they literally cant fathom anyone not having a costco membership, so LW must be being deliberately obstinate about the coffee.

    LW mentioned living in nearby big city but the job being rural in a comment, if the admins live in rural community or nearby suburb they may literally not be able to process the idea that not everyone wants or needs a Costco membership.

    Hell, I’m a city girl without one and people still assume that because I have a car (so its easy to drive to Costco?) that of course I have one.

  136. Addison DeWitt*

    Trader Joe’s has relatively inexpensive coffee, not the greatest, but good enough.

    The fact that they want a dark roast and seem to object to anything that doesn’t taste like a forest fire suggests to me that they like Starbucks (which is burnt dark so everything they sell tastes the same). In any case, their taste is lousy, but yeah, I’d look at bulk mail order coffees. Whatever gets you out of thinking about it.

  137. purple spotted giraffe*

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned but: for $30 buy an aeropress or french press, and bring in your own ground coffee, and honestly, a kettle if you need to. Then you get exactly the coffee you want, fresh, hot when you want it. Then opt out of the coffee club with the admins. Keep everything locked in your desk. It might take a few extra minutes to brew your own coffee, so you can either use that time for a mental break, or do what I do and boil the kettle and walk away 5 times before you remember to make your coffee.
    Life is too short for coffee you don’t want.

  138. ThisAllTheTime*

    I have worked with these people. I am in purchasing, and I don’t have an answer except to take a walk in between these interactions, because they are torture.

  139. MD945*

    Ok, so there are five people total in the office. Two are partners who don’t drink coffee. Two are legal assistants/paralegals. And then there is OP, who is new-ish. Which suggests that before OP’s arrival, there were likely four in the office. That in turn means that the previous scheme may have been that the admins fended for themselves by switching off getting coffee.

    I’ve been around attorneys and assistants pretty much my entire life and worked in a firm for about two decades. There is all sorts of weirdness that can be at play in those environments. Based on that, I wonder if what’s really going on is that the assistants only offered to let OP into the coffee club out of courtesy and are using the constant rejection of choices as a signal that they don’t actually want to be buying coffee for a lawyer.

    Believe me, I’ve seen plenty of assistants who will confront lawyers about anything. But because of the power differences and above mentioned weirdness, I’ve also known assistants that absolutely will not raise even legitimate issues.

    Obviously, I have no idea if that’s what’s really going on, or if it’s something else. But I thought I’d throw that out there for OP’s consideration to see if maybe it rings true. Good luck!

  140. HannahS*

    LW, opt out. Just say, in as friendly a manner as you can muster, “Hey, it seems like we have really different tastes in coffee, so from now on I’ll just bring my own, and then you two can keep having what you like, without me getting in the way.” It solves so many problems! You no longer have to drink coffee that you don’t like. They no longer have to drink coffee that they don’t like. The dynamics around money are solved; there is a clear division between attorneys (who are responsible for their own hot drinks) and admins (who share the Kirkland setup.) Yes, the partners should supply the coffee, but that’s not the office you work in.

    Bring in a small kettle and French press, or a kettle and instant coffee. Or a thermos full of coffee. Or develop an aggressive Starbucks habit. Just give yourself the gift from abstaining from all the coffee drama.

    I am a rare physician who hates coffee. I bring tea, sugar, and milk to work. Since it’s Canada, there is always a kettle, but if there wasn’t, I’d pick up a cheap one.

  141. Never Knew I Was a Dancer*

    Too many comments to see how many other people have said what I’m about to say, but OP if you see this reply—

    Swipe an empty Kirkland container the next time one runs out, fill it with the plain dark roast of your choice, and bring it in and see if everyone loves it.

    I 100% guarantee you that if you do this, they will not be able to tell the least bit of difference.

  142. Sled dog mama*

    I’m a tea drinker because I’m picky about my beverage and my husband buys his coffee directly from the roaster. I have met people who were tied to their one brand of (really awful) coffee, and they are far more willing to die on that hill than you are OP.
    I’m so on team one tub of fake Kirkland’s then opt out.
    Update please!!!!

  143. Ess Ess*

    I strongly discourage all the suggestions about hiding the new coffee into a Kirkland container. There are a lot of laws about mislabeling and tampering with food for consumption by others. By deliberately tricking people into believing they are drinking one coffee brand but it’s actually another, it would fall under food tampering. And this IS in a law office to add to the consideration that this is a bad idea. It’s still considered food tampering to replace one edible food with another edible food if you are lying about it.

  144. Dark Roast*

    A French roast and house roast which are the 2 the admins didn’t like are not dark roast. French roast in particular has a very different flavor than a dark roast and is usually considered a flavored coffee. A house blend is usually a light or medium roast. Can you not get a second tub of folgers dark roast? Or buy an actual dark roast? If they go through the giant tub of Kirland than a smaller amount of coffee would obviously run out sooner. I think the complaints of the admins while they seem petty are valid. The only 2 rules weren’t followed.

  145. NorthernTeacher*

    I’m 100% in favor of not buying a coffee you don’t like. But I understand the need to be careful when you’re the new one.
    It may have changed, but Costco online (Canada) didn’t ask for a membership number when I have order from there. But it has been awhile since the last time.

  146. CatMouse*

    I really want to second that last option. Use an empty Kirkland container and your Target coffee, bet they won’t notice

  147. Anne*

    I have to admit that I have skipped most (okay, nearly all) of the comments. But, this is what I would do:
    1. Buy coffee from Starbucks or wherever for just yourself.
    2.If you are drinking coffee multiple times throughout the day, then I propose that you bring in your own coffee just for you. Bring in your own coffee maker, just for you and your coffee. Perhaps you could even set this up in your own personal office, away from the others.
    3. Opt out of going in with the other coffee drinkers.

    Done and done.

  148. Kristin*

    I hope OP takes Alison’s last suggestion (serving non-chi-chi roast in a Kirkland container) and reports back to us. And this is coming from a total coffee snob, who loves Kirkland Costa Rica and Peet’s, but not office drama.

  149. Non-profit drone*

    Get yourself a single-serve coffee maker (not a keurig, they have ones that you just use a mug with) and stop buying coffee for the office.

  150. Not a coffee person*

    The fact that they shot down your suggestion of paying them to get Kirkland coffee makes me think this is a power trip. They’re buying coffee when it’s their turn, so they could just buy twice as much. It’s not like it’ll go bad sitting for 2 months, right?

    1. Link*

      Some brands go stale REALLY quickly depending on bean type and quality to begin with. That said, kirkland stuff has decent shelf left usually despite being a big store brand.

  151. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    I despise single use coffee systems and would totally buy a keurig for this office and tell everyone to buy their own pods and just be done with it.

  152. RH in CT*

    I am confused by two points that seem to contradict.
    – The two partners do not drink coffee,
    – Admins should not have to buy coffee for lawyers.
    How is it buying coffee for lawyers if the lawyers don’t drink coffee?
    (Personally I never touch the stuff, but my wife sure did!)

    1. Kevin Sours*

      I think OP is a lawyer. But it seems OP would be best served if people didn’t buy her coffee.

      1. Emily*

        Yes, and I think this is the perfect reason OP can give for bowing out of this ridiculous situation. “Admins shouldn’t have to buy coffee for lawyers.” LW can then bring in her own coffee maker, keurig, french press, etc and make her own coffee. As other commenters have already said, you can buy small serving coffee makers. I live alone and have one, and it works great.

  153. Anonymous Bosh*

    How about investing in an inexpensive electric kettle? Keep a single serve pour over, purchase your own preferred coffee, and make your own. You’d possibly have to make it very clear that you’re not using their coffee, but at least you wouldn’t be drinking coffee you don’t like, spending money on coffee they don’t like, participating in whatever weird office dynamic that’s going on here.

  154. Looper*

    You have way more authority here so just stop drinking/buying coffee for the office. Cheerfully inform the admins that you’ll be bringing your coffee from home going forward and remove yourself from this dumb power trip once and for all.

  155. Confused*

    Am I missing something from the story or all the comments? The first go around they bought a smaller amount of coffee then normally gets bought in the month so it naturally ran out faster. Or too soon compared to Kirkland. The next 2 times they bouth coffee they didn’t follow the only 2 rules. A house blend is usually a medium or lighter roast. Did this house bend say it was dark roast? The 3rd time was French roast which is also not a dark roast coffee. If I was the admins I would also be annoyed as it’s pretty simple instructions. They want dark roast coffee with no flavors. Then it should be understood that it’s supposed to be enough to last the month. So why not by enough of the dark roast coffee that everyone liked the first time around? Like just get an extra can or enough cans to equal the size of the Kirkland brand?

    1. edda ed*

      I do think you could do with a slower, more deliberate re-read.

      The LW bought a big tub the first time, with the implication being that it ran out because the admins were throwing LW’s coffee in the trash. LW followed the two rules every time, but the 2 admins don’t understand (or for *reasons* refuse to understand) that tasting notes listed on the packaging does NOT mean the coffee is flavored, it’s just how companies market their different products.

      On the last point, the admins have only “liked” Kirkland. Nothing LW bought has been deemed acceptable, so buying the more of the first round coffee (Folgers) obviously wouldn’t pass the admins; they said they didn’t like the first round coffee.

    2. Saturday*

      I don’t think it was smaller the first time. The LW describes it as a “giant” tub. She suspects the admins threw it out.

      1. Confused*

        “I bought the biggest tub of non-Folgers ground coffee I could get at Target, which I knew I liked. The tub “ran out too fast” and we only had it for like, a week. I refuse to believe we ran out of a giant tub of coffee in a week. Suspicious, but (I thought at the time) irrelevant.”

        They say the biggest tub from target which is not close to size of the big tub from Costco. Also remember an office makes an entire pot at a time no matter how many people are drinking the coffee. The admins were pretty open about not liking the last 2 coffee types so why wouldn’t they say anything about the first? The only feedback was it ran out to quickly.

        1. Saturday*

          Well, we don’t know how big it was, but LW indicated it disappeared faster than you’d expect, regardless of the size comparison with the costco container. LW also says in the comments up above that, “I’m 99% sure they threw it out…”

          But yeah, she can try the first one again. I think it would be easier to just bring in her own though.

  156. jane*

    anyone can order Kirkland brand coffee from the Costco website. it might be a couple of dollars more expensive than the member price, but I do not have a Costco membership and yet I order from their website frequently.

  157. Skytext*

    Seriously, just go to Walmart (no membership required) and buy your own coffee pot for between $20-$80. Then buy the coffee you like. Then the admins can just keep buying the Kirkland coffee for themselves and make it in the old pot. And they aren’t buying coffee for lawyers, only themselves.

  158. SJ Coffee Adict*

    Life is WAY too short to be drinking preground Kirkland coffee.Buy some decent bean coffee and a fairly inexpensive manual grinder. Than, get thee an aeropress and/ or a zojurishi thermos. The thermos keeps coffee warm for about 4 hours. The aeropress makes an amazing cup of coffee if you need a pick me up in the afternoon.

  159. Marion Coatesworth-Haye*

    This is a situation made for a small personal Kuerig if ever there was one. You bring yours and stay out of the communal pot altogether.

  160. Raida*

    Personally… I would tell them as the issue is as a three you cannot agree on the coffee you are going to bow out.
    Buy a simple press, make your own, bring it from home, whatever you like. Just don’t use the coffee pot.

    Give them $20 towards the next coffee ‘for the inconvenience of having to get coffee sooner than expected’ and don’t discuss it again.

    Your coffee experience will skyrocket. They will get the coffee they like. No more discussions on “hints of caramel”

  161. Link*

    It’s time to get your own personal use coffee setup OP, either a french press, aeropress, pour over, or something similar.

    On the other hand, maybe they’d be amenable to the idea of all of yall chipping in to get something that uses pods of some sort. My mom’s work did that, and they all buy their own coffee brands, use their own reusable pods kept in their lockers to brew their lunch and morning coffee’s that have their names on them (so if they get left in the machine, everyone knows who the culprit is).

  162. ReallyBadPerson*

    Why is there no ‘Okay, I’m done here’ option? Surely, providing coffee isn’t in anyone’s job description unless they run a food business?

  163. thpmas*

    Not liking people is not a valid reason for lying to them about what they are drinking. Do not ever do that.

    Just opt out of communal coffee like the partners have.

    1. Morning Reading*

      Eh, I don’t think minor differences, if indeed there are any, between major brands’ generic coffee, constitute lying about what they are drinking. It’s like Coke and Pepsi and generic colas. They are all colas. If someone requires a specific type of a generic thing, they should buy their own.
      (DPC drinker in my youth. I could drink Diet Coke but if I had worked somewhere that supplied only Diet Coke, I would have brought my own Diet Pepsi Cola, not make everyone else switch.)

    2. Enoby*

      Yeah I’m really not comfortable with that. Does it sound really funny? Yep. Should you actually do this? No, because we are adults, not sitcom characters.

  164. msk*

    check the Amazon website to see if they carry Kirkland coffee. I purchase a Kirkland brand generic of MoveFree Ultra from Amazon because I didn’t want to renew my Costco membership. The price was comparable through Amazon. They may offer the big tub of Kirkland coffee and you can get it shipped to your office.

  165. Rachel*

    Okay but why do I want an update to this one more than I’ve ever wanted an update on this site?

    1. Enai*

      Because it’s petty, apparently low-stakes, and the sort of shenanigan every office drama / police procedural / doctor show on TV might engage in as a B Plot? Primo popcorn material, here.


  166. ChipDust*

    I’m a non-caffeine user so I’ve watched the coffee wars from the cheap seats. I did work at a coffee obsessed office where the men were spending way too much energy trying to get me to make coffee when I came in early. “It would be so great if the coffee would be going when we get here”. Over and over. Nope, not buying.

  167. Boris*

    Two things:

    1. This is ridiculous and the partners need to get a keurig.

    1.5 I love the spirit of all the petty advice from both Alison and the commentariat because, again, this is ridiculous and kind of feels like hazing.

    2. OP, if I’m reading correctly that you are a baby lawyer and these are seasoned paralegals or admins who have been at the firm for a while, it might be worthwhile to play their game. A $60 Costco membership and a tub of coffee you don’t like every two months could be a worthwhile investment in your relationship with the most important people in your office, especially for a new lawyer.

  168. Lizbot ATL*

    OMG y’all, get your own Keurigs, they’re like 30USD. I’d say just get one and everyone bring their pods of choice, but to be honest I can’t stand brewing a normal cup of Sbux or Bustelo, etc. after someone else just made a Santa Vanilla Caramel Creme Mint Blueberry.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I bought a one-cup coffee maker at Walmart for $20! It uses k-cups or grounds.

      It has brought great happiness to my life.

  169. Giraffe Girl*

    LW, please please go with the last suggestion: pour another brand of coffee into an empty Kirkland container. I bet they won’t notice! :-D

  170. Morning Reading*

    My suggestion doesn’t solve LW’s problem of not liking the type of coffee the others prefer; however, Costco has a business membership option. (Was very useful in a previous job, often used for various supplies, and their big cakes were popular for staff occasions like birthdays, retirements.)
    I’m with those who say LW should opt out and bring her own coffee. But, once she has more political office capital to use, lobby for the business membership and routine coffee supplies delivery on the business account. Even if LW doesn’t drink it herself, the office should supply it for their admins and for any visitors.
    IMHO, maintaining supplies like this should be a duty of the admins, and in the office budget, and the attorneys, new or not, should not be tasked with buying coffee. (An hour spent on coffee run is one less billable hour, no?)

  171. Manglement Survivor*

    I would just opt out of this ridiculous coffee situation. Buy a small coffee pot that is only for yourself. Buy your own coffee. Enjoy it and don’t give it another thought.

  172. WellRed*

    Between the Costco brand and the Folgers I’m glad I can make my own coffee at home! OP, just bring your preferred in when it’s your turn and tune them out.

  173. Boof*

    Wait, it sounds like everyone liked the Folgers? Can’t you just buy that say, once a month, or two months, or however often the same volume Kirkland gets replaced, and say that’s your contribution? And if it runs out “too fast” say you already contributed your amount so everyone’s on their own for the rest of the period.

  174. Sarah S*

    I think it’s really weird the coffee isn’t built into the office budget like toilet paper or trash bags. I’m guessing the practice doesn’t have clients visiting on-site, because that would be an obvious reason to keep some basic items like coffee and tea stocked in the office. Even so, it seems like a really easy way to provide a perk and keep people focused on the actual work–I cannot imagine it’s a great use of company time to deliberate over who’s getting the coffee, what kind of coffee, are we running low on coffee, etc. The admins messing with LW over the type of coffee feels like misdirected frustration–the higher ups are being stingy about a very normal office expense, the admins (maybe) can’t get them to budge, so being super picky about the exact right kind of coffee (which just so happens to be inaccessible to LW) is a way to make themselves feel a little more empowered.

  175. Kendrick*

    I second this. One of my favorite sites to read is NotAlwaysRight, and there are oodles and boodles of examples of baristas, etc. making a drink that “came out wrong,” leaving it out, and then the customer comes back and thinks the “second try” was perfect.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      There are so many stories about this on that site and on the (former) Clients From Hell sight. It really is a control issue for these folks.

  176. Kendrick*

    I also work as an admin in a law office that does not provide coffee (grrrrrr) and I have a single-cup French press – has actually gotten me a lot of admiring looks from my coworkers!

  177. Jlv*

    These people know nothing about coffee lol

    I vote that everyone gets their own coffee and stops complaining.

  178. Nat20*

    Some people suggesting a personal Keurig which is a good idea; another potentially cheaper (and more fun) option would be to get one of those adorable single cup size french presses and a cheap electric kettle for your desk, along with your own good coffee.

    Also my guess is that the coworkers are so used to shitty coffee that they think normal coffee that tastes like anything other than ass is “flavored”.

  179. Some Internet Rando*

    I like the idea of fake coffee from a humor perspective, but actually lying is petty and mean spirited. Just do your own coffee thing.

  180. Danielle*

    simple: one cup Keurig or off brand around $30-40 on Amazon. plug it in at your desk and drink what you like.

  181. Jasmine*

    “If that doesn’t work, the only remaining solution is to swipe an empty Kirkland container the next time one runs out, fill it with the plain dark roast of your choice, and bring it in and see if everyone loves it.”


  182. Mister_L*

    I’m curious, can you get a Kirkland container that you hold on to and refill with offbrand coffee every time it’s your turn?
    Just to find out if they actually notice.

  183. Caleb (he/they)*

    This is very dependent on your office (both in terms of culture and in practical terms of how much space you have), but would it be possible for you to just ask to be taken off the rotation, get a small personal coffee maker (e.g. a French press or a Keurig or something), and start making your own coffee?

  184. Skippy*

    Next time it’s Laverne’s turn, give her $10 to buy an extra tin of coffee. It’s just as easy to buy 2 containers as 1 and doesn’t take an extra trip. Then get yourself a one-person coffee setup, say you’ve decided to try decaf or mushroom coffee or something no one else will want, and in the middle of someone else’s tub, remark that you just haven’t missed all the coffee you used to drink. Every once in a while, offer to kick in $10.

  185. Madame Arcati*

    Get yourself an Aeropress (easier to store and clean up than a cafetière [french press] imho] and leave the Kirkland coffee princesses to their own mean girl devices.

  186. No name Username*

    This is definitely about something other than coffee selection in that office. All the admin need to do is throw another tub of coffee in the cart when it’s their turn and get reimbursed by the OP. Are they difficult in other areas of work?

  187. Pink Candyfloss*

    Honestly if there was ever a time for malicious compliance, now is it. If they don’t want to take the effort to go and get the coffee they really want if you still offer to pay for it, then they get what they get :) there’s no reason to jump through hoops on this.

  188. Coffee Fund Zealot*

    I had a similar issue at a prior job (that also involved theft of the coffee fund) so I bought a Keurig for the department and everyone had to bring their own pods. I kept a reusable pod and can of coffee in my desk.

  189. Orange You Glad*

    OP, are you in a position to pay for coffee every time it runs out?

    I agree with the problem of admins buying coffee for lawyers. Can your admins rotate buying what they like and you reimburse them every time? (I know they tried this for when it was their turn but maybe it could work if it were a more permanent solution). They said the rotation was the actual running of the errand, but what did they do when you weren’t there? Or if you also didn’t drink coffee?

    It might also be worth talking with the senior attornies about getting the office budget to cover coffee. I understand they don’t drink coffee, but now that you are here it’s creating a weird imbalance with the admins buying you coffee.

  190. Diane Selwyn*

    I’m late to the conversation but this reminds me of the meeting scene from “Mulholland Drive” where they’re all nervous about the espresso and the guy ends up spitting it out. “That’s considered one of the finest espressos in the world , Sir!”

  191. iglwif*

    I don’t think this is about coffee at all. I think it’s about the “old” staff being jerks to their new teammate, and while I absolutely love the Fake Kirkland suggestion and would likely be unable to restrain myself from trying it in the LW’s situation, I also think the best thing LW can do here is nope out of the whole thing and start bringing their own coffee in a thermos from home.

  192. Dek*

    “If that doesn’t work, the only remaining solution is to swipe an empty Kirkland container the next time one runs out, fill it with the plain dark roast of your choice, and bring it in and see if everyone loves it.”

    Honestly, that was my first thought.

  193. Ccbac*

    the 600+ comments on this post made me laugh (people really to have Opinions on coffee!)

    I agree that the whole situation is ridiculous and the admins would likely not notice fake Kirkland, but I also think there is something to be said for just going with the flow and not ruffling feathers (esp as a new/junior attorney with long term admins/paralegals).

    My other thought is to get the partners to “gift” the office a Keurig type machine with a bunch of pods to start and then everyone provides their own after (I believe Kirkland does make Keurig type pods? so the admins could still have their Kirkland and letter writer could have whatever. ). That said, this is likely going to be more expensive long run and may outweigh the cost of a Costco membership.

    misc note: personally, specifically Folgers and price chopper store brand make by stomach hurt but Kirkland doesn’t. Not relevant to the post as the admins haven’t mentions this, but my stomach would def notice the difference between those brands.

    1. Dawn*

      Look, I absolutely kept my Opinions to myself and merely recommended the OP buy an Aeropress for themselves in the office.

      Although even speaking as a coffee snob, while I haven’t had Kirkland coffee, I’d try it. Kirkland products are usually pretty reasonable quality. I really like their protein bars.

  194. Lacey Gross-Gentry*

    A knock off Keurig is $20 at Walmart. purchase and donate it to the office, then all the coffee drinkers can take responsibility for providing their own pods.

  195. Michelle Smith*

    Do you drink the coffee all day or is your habit more one where you can bring a cup of your own already brewed coffee in your travel mug every morning and be satisfied?

    If the latter, I’d just bring my own coffee in from home (or drink it before I got to work) and let the admins buy their own coffee their own way. But that will only work if you never, ever drink the coffee they paid for.

  196. Yet Another Office Manager*

    Am I misreading, or are the admins (does this mean director? admin assistant? office manager?) asking the newest attorney to purchase the coffee out of their own pocket?

    As the office manager, I buy the coffee and tea and snacks for the office, *with the company credit card* It is in my job description. I like doing it. I happen to have a Costco membership and I get loyalty points for using it for the office. If my family discontinued the membership, I’d ask if we could get an organizational membership.

    Occasionally I have asked one of the other admins to cover me. On *extremely* rare occasions I have asked other office staff to cover for me. (I have worked here for 15 years and I’ve asked maybe five times.)

    I’m honestly appalled.

    1. Ccbac*

      it sounds like the admins and lw are the only people in the very small office who drink coffee and, prior to lw joining, the admins alternated who bought coffee (from Costco apparently). they are all paying out of pocket.

  197. Ann Nonymous*

    I LOVE the Kirkland can solution. I once read a funny story where a mom said her kids only wanted a particular kind or brand of milk that was expensive. Her solution was to refill that brand’s container with a less expensive milk. It all went well until one kid said, “Mom? Is this milk good? It says it expired in October of 2022!”

  198. IneffableBastard*

    Fill the tub with coal and they will not spot the difference if they like burnt beans so badly.

    Seriously, now, I think that buying any dark roast remotely similar to the one they want and filling the original tub would really solve the problem.

  199. Luanne Platter*

    I really think OP should just say “No, I’m not doing that anymore”, and bring her own coffee for herself and let the others continue their weird control of the coffee. Are they going to discipline her for not spending her own money on coffee that everyone says they hate? What a weird office dynamic.

  200. Dawn*

    Speaking as a coffee snob myself, the admins have wrecked their tastebuds with bad coffee and there’s not much you can do to fix that.

    Get an AeroPress – the basic model costs like… I think $40 USD (I know the Canadian price) and a plug-in kettle for the office and just make your own coffee with it. It requires next to no space or clean-up and it makes much better coffee than a drip filter anyway, and let them drink their, uh, preferred choice, let’s say.

  201. Lindy*

    Get an AeroPress and bring your own coffee to brew at the office. It’s a very small coffee maker and makes amazing, not at all bitter coffee and espresso. Problem solved.

  202. Office Manager slash Miracle Worker*

    If that doesn’t work, the only remaining solution is to swipe an empty Kirkland container the next time one runs out, fill it with the plain dark roast of your choice, and bring it in and see if everyone loves it.

    That was my first thought!

  203. Djdj*

    I think the real issue here is being missed. The admins resent the fact that they are purchasing coffee for someone they perceive (most likely correctly) as making a lot more money than them. Buy your own coffee maker and keep it in your office and let them know you know longer need to share their coffee pot. Maybe occasionally bring in a different type of treat for the office.

  204. Have you had enough water today?*

    I bought a Nespresso machine for my admin team & I order the pods for it online every month because I make significantly more money than they do & I can afford it. Why is your admin team buying coffee for the higher paid lawyers? That seems arse about. I hate it.

  205. Fleur-de-Lis*

    I would 100% just swipe an empty Kirkland container, put your coffee of choice in it, and see what happens.

  206. MSPpete*

    Can u get it from the Costco website? If so someone with a Costco membership card can just order it and have it delivered.

  207. Amanda Turner*

    Just put a mini Keurig or coffee pot in your workspace and opt out of the rotation! I could not continue to deal with that silliness.

  208. DramaQueen*

    I would spring for a Keurig and offer to buy a variety of pods. If they don’t like that they can buy their own pods. Jeez. These admins are being ridiculous.

  209. Nancy*

    Get a single serve Keurig for your own office and drink whatever you like. Stop playing their coffee reindeer games!

  210. Just Me*

    my thought is if it isn’t provided because some do not like it, then declare you also will not be drinking the work coffee and bring your own (making sure to never have even one cup one a month ago that there is no way to claim you are drinking without contributing). They can’t rightly hold you to buying coffee with your own money that you are not drinking. If the situation were that they were reimbursing the purchaser and it was simply spreading around the burden of the purchase then you’d be stuck, but with the current situation, my recommendation would be the short term drama of dropping out of the rotation to avoid the long term drama that they obit like coffee you cannot buy (which very likely is the same as one of the ones you’ve already tried, because the Kirkland brand is typically a name brand product in a different package

  211. Jane*

    I would be bringing in my own Mini Keurig and pods (hidden away) and not participating in this at all. Ridiculous.

  212. Coffee Snob*

    I’m sorry this is happening to you, LW – they are making this much more difficult than necessary. I would recommend purchasing a small coffee pot or Keurig for your own use and move on. Again, so sorry… this is a THEM problem, not a YOU problem.

  213. dackquiri*

    I’m losing my mind about the tasting notes being insisted upon as added flavors. A big pet peeve of mine is snobbery—condescending to people for genuinely liking the cheaper/less-refined/less-chic/less-artisan option. It doesn’t matter what kind of top-shelf wine I favor, I will defend to the death your right to really like Barefoot.

    That said, (and perhaps somewhat hypocritically,) it is twice as irritating when people condescend up the scale of refined palates. LW’s coworkers are way too persnickety about their coffee to not know how tasting notes work!

  214. Jenny N*

    I would just buy myself a small single cup coffee machine and keep it at my desk so I wouldn’t have to share coffee with anyone. Your coworkers are being so bizarre about coffee!

  215. Johannes Bols*

    I brought my own French Press every day to work. I’d arrive early, grind the beans, pour the boiling water from the sink into the pot, infuse it, drink it, and then rinse and clean it. That’s that. You want coffee, make it. What I found annoying was coworkers who would ask to use the half and half I brought for my coffee. “No, you may not use my half and half. However, Kroeger does sell it, in case you didn’t know.”

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