The Office Bean
Good coffee is hard to come by in any given situation, and even more so in your average office environment. Now, everyone would be satisfied with a full, straight-from-the-coffee-shop menu of perfectly ground exotic brews, but everyone might not have the money for it.
One of the most popular choices for small to medium sized companies is the single-cup coffee maker, such as the Keurig. It offers a quick, easy option that can satisfy most employees' tastes thanks to a variety of 'pods', but requires a 30p expense per cup that cannot always be taken lightly. Moreover, the quality of the coffee depends strongly on the coffee machine, with many models being much better (and much more expensive) than the classic Keurig, which some comment on as making beverages that “taste less and less like coffee with each cup”.
Large offices can instead choose to go for coffee vending machines for a more customizable experience, which also requires less effort in terms of cleaning and choosing a coffee service, since the equipment is tied to a contract with one single brand.
On the other hand, cheap solutions that do not compromise on taste are available in the form of more accessible, basic machinery, but that often includes the burden of regular cleaning. Smaller offices can even choose to rely on single French-press or thermal carafes, which come in different models and sizes, but need to be cleaned by hand.
That choice may lead to a tastier espresso, but it does not allow for much variety besides the milk or no milk option, while single-cup makers and vending machines usually include a larger range of hot beverages, including chocolate and tea. The most demanding employees can even skip the whole hassle to go for personal coffee-making mugs and their own blend.
Which Coffee Is Best?
Past the coffee maker issue, offices have to deal with choosing the coffee itself. If the goal is to save up money, most companies will sell their ground coffee in supermarkets, but many employees lament the lower quality of those blends, which may sit on the shelves for months before ending up in their cups.
Better quality comes with the mail-ordered versions, which can be purchased singularly or be part of a service plan. These plans can sometimes come with machines, which can be bought, leased or even free of charge depending on the deal. Many popular brands such as Starbucks, Peet’s and Lavazza offer these kinds of services.
There is no magic formula out there for office coffee that makes everyone happy, and the choice predictably depends on the budget and how picky the employees are. However it may end, the heart-warming fact remains that bad coffee makes for a meaningful, bonding experience of daily employee-to-employee complaints and some beautiful small talk.