How do you make the right coffee choice?

Monday, October 21, 2019

Coffee is indispensable in today’s workplace. With an average of 4 cups, we drink more than 23 million cups a day.

Tasty coffee gives employees and the hospitality in your organization a boost. Yet there is still a lot of complaining sometimes about the quality of coffee at work.  So how you can make the best coffee choice for your organization?

Why is there so much complaining?

Coffee quality has increased enormously in recent years. People are used to a barista-quality coffee, with freshly frothed milk including plant varieties such as soy, almond and oat milk. The out-of–home industry offers a larger coffee portfolio including exotic single origins and exclusive blends. In the coffee industry, we increasingly see wine-style coffee-tasting scenes where you can distinguish all kinds of tastes and tones.

How did that happen?

This has created a tension between the cost and the quality that employers want to offer their people. The price for a cup of coffee varies from 5 cents per cup to 25 cents, and sometimes more. The cleaning of various devices varies from five minutes to half an hour a day. These differences stem from the coffee choice, the brewing method and the service you choose. On one side, a good cup of coffee is seen by more and more organizations as a reward for its employees, while on the other hand associated costs are also increasingly seen as a cost to cut out of an organization.

How do you make the right coffee choice?

When making the right choice, it is important to map out the wishes in the organization, to see what is available on the market and to involve your colleagues. As a buyer, it’s more than just the quality of the coffee. For example, what about machine maintenance and the type of service do you expect if a machine malfunctions? Why not ask other buyers or facility managers about their experiences? Make a list of criteria and ask yourself questions such as:

  • What coffee choices would I to give to my people?
  • What do my employees find important?
  • What do I expect from a supplier?
  • What is the maximum amount of time and budget I want to spend on the coffee provision and machine maintenance?

Fresh beans or instant coffee?

That depends on the nature of the organization. Everyone wants freshly ground beans, a fully automatic espresso machine or even a piston machine. But making a delicious espresso - including grinding the beans, compressing the coffee and brewing – takes at least 30 seconds, often more. That might not be a problem in a law firm, but in a factory or at a location where 50 or 100 people have a break at the same time, that is hardly practical. The same applies if you regularly want to fill a thermos with coffee. In these cases, instant coffee is the better choice. Not only is it faster, but it also has the advantage that you have little waste and you don't have to clean and maintain grinders.

How important is taste?

Taste is important and to a certain extent personal. Filter coffee is standard in some countries while instant coffee is drunk in some others. In Mediterranean countries and in South America, for example, instant coffee is seen as good, highly acceptable quality coffee. Taste is therefore mainly related to perception and what you are used to. For example, people are now getting used to premium coffee, high-quality espresso with a somewhat more powerful taste.