An office’s coffee program has the ability to inflate morale and help communicate a company’s culture by showing appreciation for its employees. It is reasonable to say that the decisions required to set up an office coffee program are important and need careful discernment. Many of the following items need to be considered:
- What type of coffee machine best suits your office?
- Do you have the appropriate amount of space, power, and water in your breakroom?
- Does your office like a particular coffee or does it prefer a variety of blends?
- What type of allied products (creamer, sweeteners, teas, cups, plates, etc.) will your office provide?
- What is your office’s coffee service budget?
- What services are provided by the service company and which of them do they charge extra for?
- Who will be responsible for cleaning and maintaining the coffee brewers?
- How will the supplies be replenished – will one of your employees order the products or will the coffee service company handle the inventory?
- Does your company have a green initiative?
As you can see, there is much thought and preparation that goes into choosing an office coffee service program; however, all these collective decisions make your company’s coffee program successful, tailor-made for your employees. Let’s walk through each of the questions above to help you through this process.
BEST OFFICE COFFEE MACHINES
First, consider what kind of coffee system you want to offer your employees: Bean-to-Cup, Single Cup, or Fractional Pack drip-brewer. Bean-to-cup machines offer customizable drinks with different coffee blends and a wide selection of options. A.H. uses Cafection bean-to-cup machines that brew an excellent cup of coffee. There is also an app to have touch-free dispensing for this brewer.
Single-cup machines such as Keurig, Bunn Pods, and Flavia dispense one cup of coffee per brew. The benefit of using a single cup machine is that employees have a variety of different brands and coffee blends to choose from. K-cups may be used in any Keurig machine, so different machines such as Bunn Pods or Flavia might be a better choice to prevent items from going home. These single cup options have a higher cost-per-cup than traditional drip-brewers, but the ease of use and variety of coffee selections can make a single cup machine the perfect solution for your office.
Traditional drip-brewers, like the well-known Bunn models, are the most cost-effective option when considering the type of machine for your office. Fractional-pack (frac pack) packets are poured into the brew basket with a filter to make a pot of coffee. These pre-measured packets ensure a perfect cup of coffee every time with little waste. Drip-brewers have several different types of dispensers. They may use glass pots or glass pots with metal bottoms combined with a warming plate to ensure your coffee stays hot. Thermal carafes provide another option where these insulated containers remain hot and do not need warming plates. We carry many popular brands of frac packs as well as our own private roast, Anthony’s, which tastes delicious and is cost-effective.
SPACE, POWER, WATER
It is also important to consider the building’s location for your coffee services. You will need to choose a convenient area that workers can easily access. How much space do you have available? Pour-over machines will require more clearance to pour the water into the unit than plumbed-in machines. A Cafection bean to cup machine will require the most space due to the machine’s height and the extra room required to pour the coffee beans in. Also, cabinets above the countertop can sometimes present a space issue. Is there a water source in this area? While some machines do not require a water source, other machines do need to be connected to a water line. Will this space have enough power for the coffee brewers you choose? Most units use 110 volts but the amperage may be different from unit to unit. Each unit has a spec sheet that states its power requirements.
COFFEE BRANDS AND BLENDS FOR THE OFFICE
Next, think about what types of coffee you want to offer. Do you have a particular taste in mind? Initially, it’s best to find a blend that will satisfy the vast majority. This is usually a medium roast found in donut blends, arabicas, etc. From there and if your budget allows, you can pursue different blends like dark roasts or breakfast blends that will satisfy your more discerning drinkers.
There are coffee options that can suit any budget. Some companies like the visibility of name brand coffees, but others have learned that you can get the greatest bang for the bean with private roasts like our Anthony’s blends. Once you have figured out your options, a taste test would be the next step towards selecting which coffee(s) your employees would like. A.H. Account Representatives will set up a taste test to receive your office’s feedback. The employees’ input surely creates buy-in and ensures a successful coffee program.
You will want to consider which allied products to offer along with your coffee(s). Many offices offer their employees different creamers, sweeteners, cups, paper products, and more. Depending on your budget, the offerings can be extensive. Creamers can be powder or liquid – flavored and fresh. Sweeteners come in blue, yellow, pink, raw, or just regular. Since not every employee is a coffee drinker, most offices will also offer tea selections, instant soup packets, hot chocolates, or water flavoring packets.
OFFICE COFFEE SERVICE COMPANIES
Most coffee service companies gloss over their service, or simply state they have excellent service, but like most things, this needs to be qualified. Ask your coffee service provider what services they will perform for you. Will they clean your machines with each coffee delivery? Do they offer free delivery with your orders? How fast do they respond to service calls and is there a fee for service? Do they have convenient online ordering? What are their payment terms? These are all questions you should ask your service provider beforehand to avoid surprises later. References, reputation, and years of service speak volumes.
LOCATION, CLEANING, AND MAINTENANCE
It is also a good idea to determine who will be responsible for making the coffee each day, cleaning the coffee area, and verifying the deliveries to ensure its accuracy. Some offices select one individual to take over those duties while other offices create a rotating schedule, so all employees share in those tasks.
ORDERING/MANAGING COFFEE STATION SUPPLIES & INVENTORY
Depending on your office and its needs, an employee may be responsible for checking inventory levels to reorder supplies. For a slight fee, most coffee service companies offer to maintain your inventory and replenish supplies as needed. Discuss this with your coffee service representative to determine what might work best for your office.
GREEN INITIATIVES IN THE OFFICE
Many offices have some degree of green initiative. This will be important in determining many of the items above. Many single-cup machines have disposable plastic brew cups or pouches. This type of brewer creates landfill waste and may contradict your corporate mandates. A.H. also offers many eco-friendly options like wooden stir sticks, biodegradable cups and paper supplies, etc.
ONE-STOP SHOP FOR COFFEE & BREAKROOM SUPPLIES
Finally, does your coffee service provide all these products, services, and more? Most offices find it convenient and efficient to combine services through a single-source provider. Ask if they offer in-line water coolers, bottled water machines, carbonated water units, cold beverages and snacks, pantry service, vending solutions, and catering services.
A.H. Management Group is the one-stop shop for all your breakroom, pantry, or catering needs. Please contact us if you would like A.H. to help you in choosing the right coffee service program for your company.