Architects and Coffee

January 13, 2014 — 142 Comments

Let me get this out-of-the-way right up front – most architects I know drink coffee.

A LOT of coffee.

In fact, most of them are snobby and frequently a-holes about the coffee they drink … if Grey Poupon made coffee, architects would drink it.

So despite the fact that I am an architect (and possibly an a-hole), I am not a coffee drinker. When my classmates in college were going on coffee runs at 2:00am to Captain Quackenbush’s Intergalactic Dessert Company and Espresso Cafe, I didn’t go with the group to “fuel” up and as a result, I never did develop a taste for coffee in those formative years – without painting too clear an image, my stomach just couldn’t handle it and the ramifications were [ahem] unpleasant.

To this day, I still feel like I’m missing out on something. Those people … the “coffee drinking people” … they LOVE their coffee and I have been relegated to looking in from the outside.

Until now.

Our break room makes me cry

The picture above is our “break room”. It’s pathetic really and I debated showing it because most dorm rooms are better equipped from a culinary standpoint. I am waiting for the day when I’ll have this conversation:

Bob: Hi Mr. Client. Can I offer you a water [say yes, say yes, say yes] or maybe some (gulp) … coffee?

Mr. Client: Coffee sounds terrific,that would be great. Thanks.

Bob: [crap!] Coming up! Just need to put some water in this kettle, get it heated up and in 10 short minutes, we’ll be halfway done.

Mr. Client: What?! 10 minutes is too long, that’s …

Bob: [interrupting] Would you like some toner with your coffee? I mean creme??

Mr. Client: Water. Water would be better. Could I change my response and get the water?

Bob: Okay … if you don’t want any coffee, I can get you some water. Room temperature water okay with you?

Nobody drinks coffee at our office without leaving the building and walking across the street to the grocery store to get it. MmmmmMmm … grocery store coffee sounds deliciously smooth to me. So when I was offered a new Bosch Tassimo T55 brewing system, and casually mentioned it to the people sitting around me, they said I might “accidentally” fall on the sharp end of an architectural scale if I didn’t say yes.

Yes … I will take your Bosch Tassimo T55 brewing system and try it out. And please hurry, it sounds like my life might actually depend on it.


Bosch Tassimo T55 Brewing system

So here it is – my Tassimo T55, and what might end up being the ticket to my survival and, more importantly, to coffee infused, happy and productive employees. So with fingers crossed, I opened the box and set it up (ten minutes with everyone watching my every move.)

Our Tassimo in it's new home

Our new Tassimo brewing system

The Tassimo T Disc

I also received an assortment of different coffee T Discs to try out – because the Tassimo system doesn’t just push hot water through a cup … this brewing system by Bosch uses what they call “INTELLIBREW” to scan each T DISC and identify precise brewing instructions with the exact temperature, water, and time duration, so each and every drink is perfect every time. Because this is a smart system, you have many more options than just coffee or tea (although those are pretty good) – latte, cappuccino, crema, espresso … all sorts of hot beverages. You put the T Disc in, the machine scans the bar code and determines how to make whatever drink you desire.

After I hooked up the machine (i.e. plugged it in and put water in the tank), there was basically a line of people ready to fix themselves a tasty hot beverage. Another interesting observation is that since our office is small (and our “break room” sucks) I put the Tassimo out into the drawing-room and so every time someone makes a drink, the entire office smells terrific. In fact, it smells like how all architecture offices should smell … like a coffee fueled design spectacular!

In an effort of full disclosure, I’ll admit I didn’t go for the hard stuff right away. Despite the ridicule I know is coming my way, I went with ‘Hazelnut’ coffee and for almost the first time in my life, I didn’t have post-coffee “acid-stomach” and the (literal) fall out associated with drinking highly over-roasted super acidic coffee. It’s a start but I feel like I’m on the road to becoming a fully fledged coffee-drinking architect and I’m pretty excited about it. I am already thinking about how my social life is going to change – my popularity is going to be terrific even if my breath isn’t (note to self: get after-coffee breath mints).

Since everyone in the office is now drinking coffee like crazy, I thought it would be fun to see the coffee mugs that people brought up to the office. I think your coffee mug is important and can tell someone a lot about who you are …

So take a look at your coffee mug and see what you think it tells others (other than you never properly wash it and have most likely owned it forever). Here are ours:

Architect Bob Borson's coffee mug

Yes, I practice what I preach and bought a BIMja coffee mug and let me tell you, my BIM skills AND my coffee drinking skills have dramatically improved since getting this mug. (hint hint)

Architect Bob Borson's coffee mug

Yes, I know. The guy in the office who didn’t drink coffee has two mugs. Well, this was my original pre-BIMja mug and I’m not really ready to bring it back home. My daughter drew this picture a few years ago and I’ve always really liked it. No, that’s not a chocolate chip cookie but a planet … and if you’re paying attention, you can find an alien cruising around in its flying saucer … just a little something extra.


Architect Audrey Maxwell's coffee mug

This is Audrey Maxwell’s coffee mug and yes she did go to Wash U. Isn’t the color green supposed to mean something like you’re a genius or something? Sounds about right.

Ryan Thomason's coffee mug

This is the coffee mug of Ryan Thomason. Ryan sits next to me and is working with me on the KHouse Modern. I don’t know what this coffee mug tells me yet about Ryan other than he borrowed it from his meemaw’s house or something. Ryan’s a good guy but unfortunately (due to his proximity to me) he is relentlessly the subject of all my jokes – fact or fiction. I should probably buy him his next mug (that reads “I brutally killed the last guy who sat next to me”)

Architect Morgan Newman's coffee mug

Morgan Newman. If you knew her, this would make sense. Not because she’s an elephant (that’s stupid) but because she never forgets anything and is always in a good mood. And, as the resident vegan in our office, she might actually work for peanuts. (note to self: see if Morgan will work for peanuts)

Peter Joe's coffee mug

This is Peter Joe – who would probably rather be out riding his bike, doing some sort of time trial or something. If Peter had a mug that said “don’t touch this mug” believe me … I wouldn’t touch it. Peter is a guy who can make things happen and if you “need something done”, he always knows “a guy” who can make it happen.


I am interested to see images of other people’s coffee mugs – so take a picture of yours and attach it in comment section down below (if you are so technically inclined). In the meantime, I’d recommend you go out and pick up a Bosch Tassimo hot beverage brewing system for your office. It made a coffee drinker out of me and that should count for something.

Happy caffeinating!

Bob AIA signature


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Mad Hungarian

    That first shot of the coffee machine next to the model threw me for a loop there for a moment — what, you bought a 30′ high coffee maker?!

  • Tom Rogers

    Not my first but presently my favorite (my first one held 3/4 pot-no it never got cold:-) ). However I use it so much it has permanent stains on it.

  • Vado Retro

    perfect cat/coffee break.

  • Vado Retro

    those plastic one cups will be in the ground long after you’re in the ground.

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  • Jean-Charles Renaudineau

    I am not an architect (mechanical engineer working for oil
    and gas) but I really enjoy reading your blog. Here in Alaska engineers are
    also big time coffee drinkers. I have noticed that for some people at the
    office manliness is directly related to how strong of a coffee batch you can
    drink. Therefore, we end up having double and triple coffee batches that look like
    liquid asphalt when pouring down your cup, yummy… Thankfully this morning I got
    to make the coffee, so single batch it is! My stomach is thanking me. Below is
    the cup I use.

    • I can not imagine drinking a double or triple batch (not to mention it can’t be good for you). However, I can believe that the heartiness of the man is somehow batched to the strength of the drink. I just reserve my hearty drinks for the evenings and in the form of whiskey.

      Cool mug, particularly like the lid.

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  • Brandon Tyler Carr

    the coffee mug your daughter drew reminds me of one of my favorite childhood books, “the little prince”. its actually pretty cool!

    • It is cool isn’t it?

      Thanks – I’ll let my daughter know your thoughts

  • Drew Landis

    I don’t really have a favorite cup…as long as it has coffee in it. The peeps mug sits on my desk in studio and brings smiles to the other students who haven’t slept in 5 days and can’t figure out why their blade is already dull. The other one, well, it stays in my kitchen. Its pretty hard to forget where that one belongs. That mug was, um, liberated from my favorite restaurant. The last cup, not shown, is my iced coffee cup and it pulls double duty here at college. Its a beer glass from a local bar…also liberated.

  • Tyler Murph

    I’ve been a coffee drinker a long time, but never thought of myself as a coffee snob (ie. Starbucks is perfectly fine with me if its my only choice), but then I read your post, looked to my right, and saw this. I’ve been using a mug for a few years that came from a downtown Dallas shop thats been closed for a while now. Oh, and did I mention that they GAVE me this mug because I was in there so often? Yeah, maybe I do have a problem after all.

    Also note the heater to keep the cup relatively warm. I dont drink a cup fast enough to get through it before it gets cold…and there’s not much worse than luke warm coffee…

    Great post!


    • that is super fancy – does the handle get hot?

      • Tyler Murph

        nope! however, if you accidentally set your phone on it for too long when its turned on, it WILL cook your phone :-/

  • Jenny Heim

    I recently moved to Asheville, from Austin, and my husband was here a few months before I joined him. As a gift when I arrived, he bought me a mug from a local artist that has a chicken illustration on it, in honor of our chickens we had in Austin. The left chicken looks angry, which is not unlike me before I have my coffee!

    I typically have a very strong cup, brewed with my Chemex or our drip coffee machine, first thing in the morning. I admit I’m leery of the single cup brewers even though I used one a few times at my last office. Boiling water going through thin plastic? Eek.

    • Jenny Heim

      And here’s the mug…

      • I’m going to have to look up what a Chemex is …

        Nice chicken mug