The scene

You walk into an amazing lobby with great views. There are the values of the company for all to see. There are great perks, meeting rooms, snacks and even food. You spot a beautiful coffee machine and walk up in anticipation.

Will this time be different? Sadly, no. The coffee sucks. The same experience you have had in most offices before.

Why is it like this? Does it have to be this way?

Things are this way not because they were meant to be, not because that makes the most sense, but because people like you and I made decisions at a point in time that may have suited that time and place.

The good news is that we can also make decisions to change this reality.

Office coffee

Most office coffee works like this:

Someone wants to offer coffee at their office (or they have always done so).

They look at a few suppliers.

They want it simple and easy.

They mostly pay a $ per kg price or a mix of minimum rental and use of consumables (including coffee).

It’s easy. It’s cheap. The level of commitment is limited.

It’s off the books.

However, for the supplier to make it work they have to choose equipment that’s not the best but relatively cheap and easy to service. They make their money on the consumables, the biggest one being coffee. That means they have little incentive to offer great coffee. The incentive is to buy the cheapest coffee and make sure as much of it is used as possible.

This also means only a certain type of supplier is willing to enter this market. That’s someone with lots of capital and someone who is interested in cheap(er) coffee.

Things have changed

What’s changed is that this model doesn’t work for everyone. Especially in an era where more companies want to showcase their values to their customers and people through the decisions they make. Coffee is a pretty central decision at work. It’s a ritual, it’s a perk, it’s part of the conversation and the experience.

Office coffee

Towards better coffee

There is another option. 

Before talking about that option, we have to talk about the mindset.

The mindset has to value coffee and the experience of those who drink it.

The mindset has to realise that you get what you pay for. And it’s worth paying for quality and sustainability.

Office coffee is not here to replace cafes. The coffee experience and quality you get in a specialty coffee shop will always be different. Office coffee is about elevating the office experience as much as possible without replicating a cafe in the office (NB: coffee is so important that some offices DO have cafes in their offices with Barista made coffee for their employees).

The two elements

Office coffee should be looked at in two elements.

The machine and the coffee.

Coffee machine

The machine

Automatic machines have come a long way. They have gotten really good. We are big fans of the EverSys machines in this category (or the Breville Oracle for small offices). However, the level of class and innovation has increased in recent years and there are other options.

But this only works if people are willing to lease or buy the machine that they want. There are different price points and you get what you pay for.

The coffee

Again, there are various grades of coffee as well as various types of businesses that source it and roast it. You should choose a partner that represents your aspirations and values.

By decoupling the decision coming from a different mindset almost all businesses can access great specialty and ethical coffee.

Pioneer blend

The full experience

An office wanting to go down this path should have a holistic view.

They are providing an experience and not just a beverage. 

They should consider all of the following:

  • Capable and high quality automatic coffee machine (s)

  • A great main specialty blend (get your teams involved in tasting various blends)

  • A great decaf (decaf drinkers are people too!)

  • Premium teas

  • Premium sugar (panela) and syrups if you so wish

  • Specialty Coffee Concentrate for quick and easy iced coffees (or areas that don’t justify a full machine)

  • Pourtables (drip coffee) for those that want a single origin or black coffee alternative

  • Pods for areas that don’t justify a full machine

  • A reusable cup solution for your office (we love the Huskee cup)

It’s important to start small and then scale up. Get your team involved.

Final words

Coffee is a key element in the office experience. It’s worth investing time and money in this aspect to elevate the employee experience.