Office Coffee Machines: The Employee Perspective

Anyone that knows me knows I am a bit of a coffee addict. Perhaps fanatic is a nicer word to use. Either way – I love my coffee! I am also at a point in my life where I am not afraid to go so far as to say I need my coffee. I have always enjoyed a nice cup of joe early in the morning to get my day started, but as of the last few years I have found myself needing an extra one or two in the afternoon as well.

As we all get a little older and the work load picks up, most of us need an extra afternoon kick to stay focused and productive. Since we do not all get the opportunity to get out on a lunch break, and buying coffee every day can be expensive, we rely on the wonderful office coffee machines to keep us going all day long. Having spent a number of years bouncing around different internships and job placements, I have seen my fair share of coffee machines and every office seems to have a slightly different setup. I want to break down the pros and cons of a few types and what employees really want when it comes to their office coffee machine.

Types of office coffee machines and their pros and cons

OFFICE COFFEE MACHINES

Manual / Traditional Coffee Makers: This category covers a large range of coffee makers. It includes the standard pot you could pick up for $10 from Walmart to the large catering style cylinders often found in an office meeting. Some can be plumbed right into the workplace but they all need to be manually loaded with coffee. The size of the pot does not often matter in terms of how long it takes to make. Usually the smaller ones can be filled sooner but they take longer to boil and drip. The larger ones can often boil water quicker and run it through faster, but there is more coffee needed to fill the pot.

Commercial Coffee Machines: These are more often used by cafés in the production and sale of coffee as opposed to coffee breaks in the office lunch room. They often have the capacity to produce multiple cups at a time and process much more coffee at a faster rate than the traditional coffee maker. Most of them can even come fully plumbed into your workplace, meaning you do not need to waste time refilling any water. On the down side they are very large and often much more expensive. These often get confused with an office coffee vending machine, which is covered in the next section.

Capsule / Pod Coffee Makers: The capsule coffee makers are the ones that produce individual servings in a package or ‘capsule / pod’. The machine calls for a small pod, reads the barcode and adds the corresponding about of hot water required. These machines are slower than a standard coffee maker because they only produce one serving at a time. They are great for those people that want an afternoon kick, but do not want to make or waste a large pot of coffee for one cup.

Espresso Makers: These machines simply make espresso instead of regular coffee. The difference being that espresso is a much more concentrated form of coffee and often uses more grinds in the process. Espresso’s can be made around 6-8 times more concentrated than regular coffee, which is why they are 1oz servings and not an 8oz cup. These machines are often equipped alongside a regular machine, allowing for both types of coffee to be made. These machines can be pricy, and may not be worth it on their own without the capability of making regular coffee as well.

Office coffee vending machines: is there a difference ?

I kept this paragraph separate from the last section because I have already gone into a bit more detail on another post about coffee vending machines, here.

For the most part the major difference between coffee vending machines and regular office coffee machines is that vending machines do not require any handling of coffee grinds where the traditional ones do. In fact, the capsule coffee makers are a type of vending machine. Even though a pod must be loaded, it is pre-measured and the grinds do not need to be touched.

When to start thinking about office coffee machines

OFFICE COFFEE

As soon as you have an office. Office coffee machines can come when your business is big enough to have an office (even a home office!). Even if you are just getting off the ground and only have one employee, get one of the small office coffee machines! Most employees drink, want and I would go so far as to say deserve coffee at the workplace. Coffee is in fact a mild stimulant and a number of people depend on it to stay focused and alert throughout the day.

Providing the use of office coffee machines for free is not something most employees notice when it’s there, but notice when it is not there. We are at a point in time where it is almost expected. Being able to connect with colleagues in the morning while grabbing a cup of coffee is a great way to build better relationships and foster communication.

Office coffee machines: services

There are a number of companies that can offer coffee service for your business. These services are often used to restock your office coffee machines and ensure that week over week there is enough coffee to go around. The companies will monitor usage and stock accordingly. It is best to dig locally into reputable vendors to determine which company you’d want serving you.

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Twin Size Box Spring and Mattress: Is it the right fit for me?

While it’s not something I often think about in my day to day, when it comes down to it, choosing the right box spring and mattress can be both exciting and sometimes a little confusing. People spend on average 1/3 of their day (meaning 1/3 of your entire life!) in bed and on their box spring and mattress. That means it’s probably something we should spend a little bit of time considering when we make our next purchase. I don’t even want to dive much into the mattress in particular because there is just so much to consider, especially for anyone with back problems or any degree of insomnia. I will save that debate for a later post!

For as much as there is to know about the best mattress, I never thought to pay much attention to the box spring – which is also very important. And perhaps the biggest question is what size should I get? I used to always think the bigger the better but now I’ve realized that the twin size box spring is in fact the right fit for me. Let me tell you why.

The right twin size box spring can be efficient on space

For anyone that has spent time living in an urban area, especially in a downtown core of some city, then you may know that space can be quite limited in any apartment. There are many ways to get creative with storage and decorating to make a space seem bigger, but one of the biggest helps can be as simple as owning a twin bed instead of a double. Every inch counts when trying to organize a room, especially the bedroom, and the difference in width between a double and a twin is 15”, which can make a significant difference when trying to get everything to fit!

     But would a twin size box spring be too small?

It certainly could be too small. If you’re sleeping with a partner, then you may need to consider other alternatives; however, if you’re sleeping alone than a twin is the best option. There is more than enough room to roll over when needed and get a comfortable sleep, and in a pinch it is wide enough to cater to a second person for a night or two.

Do I need a twin size box spring or just the mattress ?

I know I’ve asked this question a number of times, as I am sure many other people at one point in their life – can I just own the mattress and plop it on the floor, do I even need a box spring underneath? In short, the answer is ‘definitely’.

Most often when purchasing a mattress, the warranty on it is only valid if it is supported by a box spring (or a similar alternative such as a platform bed). The box spring helps provide a longer life for the mattress and keeps it feeling comfortable longer. It absorbs shock, which can help if you ever have any little visitors that like jumping on the bed! It also keeps the mattress higher off the ground, which can make getting in and out of bed a little easier, especially as we get older.

Twin size box spring dimensions

Box spring and mattress dimensions are all standard and do not often vary from one manufacturer to another, other than by a very small fraction. Which is perfect, because you always know what to expect. The following is the standard dimensions for twin size box springs.

Width: 39” Wide. A twin size box spring for this reason is definitely meant for one person use. As mentioned earlier however, it could certainly accommodate a second person, but you’d have to be comfortable enough to cuddle!

Length: 75” Long. Some manufacturers sell XL Twin Size Box Springs, which are the same width but come 5” longer to total 80” in length. For anyone that’s fairly tall I’d recommend looking for an XL to accommodate a more comfortable sleep. Just remember that it is the XL when you shop for sheets and a comforter set!

Height: Often 4-6” high with some that can come as high as 8.5″. This is where it can vary the most. Some people like being closer to the ground and some like being as high up as possible. Personally, I prefer the highest possible – where I have to jump to get into bed!

2 Twin Size Box Springs make King Size Box Spring

2 Twin Size Box Springs make King Size

Also an interesting point is that a king size box spring is just two (XL) twin size box springs set side by side. The king size is double the width of a twin, but not any longer. Which means if I ever get a house with a bit more space in the bedroom, I can go big with a king and only buy one more twin box spring.

What is the price of a twin size box spring ?

One of the cheapest comes from Walmart and is $58.33 for a 5” Mattress Foundation (yes, they call box springs ‘mattress foundations’ – sounds a little sexier does’t it?). If you’re looking for an extreme, head to Sears for their $450 6” Box Spring. They do have one on the lower end for $87.50 as well.

While between manufacturers, prices are relatively consistent, there is still a definite range depending on the quality and color required. On average you can expect to pay between $100 to $150 for a decent quality box spring. Keep in mind you can sometimes get a deal when buying the box spring and mattress together. Also while I don’t recommend ever buying a mattress used, if you’re ever in need of just the box spring then even Kijiji or Ebay could be a good spot to get a decent used box spring.

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Coffee Vending Machines: Another Coffee Supply Option

As I am sure many of you will come to realize, I’m a bit of a coffee lover. I wouldn’t say coffee snob in the sense that I constantly seek out the finest bean, but that I love drinking coffee and find I am a lot more productive, especially when it comes to writing!

Coffee is great and I’ve played with many a mechanisms for getting it into my belly. Whether that be a press, pot, and even an espresso machine once upon a time. Of course traveling to the local Starbucks makes it easy too. Something I only discovered through a work placement however was that of the coffee vending machines. I’ve only seen two in my day, but there are a few different types available. Most of the machines only dispense coffee, although sometimes coffee is dispensed alongside a number of other products in a full-line vending machine.

Coffee vending machines vs regular coffee makers

The big question that first must be answered is what is the difference between coffee vending machines and regular coffee makers or other complex commercial coffee machines?

The fact is in terms of how the coffee is made, the process is basically identical. The difference comes from selection and preparation. With a normal coffee maker, the user must decide what coffee they want and then proceed to make. Someone might start by grinding whole beans and then adding ground coffee to the machine. The coffee machine would then get turned on and run hot water through the system.

For coffee vending machines however, once the user decides what they want to drink, they just insert an empty mug and press a button that corresponds to their selection. They typically have a choice between different types of coffee, tea or even chocolate milk. The machine then takes care of the amount of coffee and water needed and pours out exactly one cup.

Table top coffee vending machines and other options

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of different vending machines available for coffee. The following is a short list of the many options currently found out there on the market today.

COFFEE VENDING MACHINES

Table Top units: These often have around 8 selections of various hot beverages. Usually 4 types of coffee, 2 types of tea, hot chocolate and plain hot water. These sit on top of the counter and can either be plumbed directly into the water supply or have a tank. Plumbing would be recommended as a tank would take up a lot of space and be hassle to fill if many people are using it throughout the day.

Floor units: Floor unit coffee vending machines are exactly the same thing as a table top unit, but on a bigger scale. They offer a greater selection (at least ten hot beverages) and look like a typical vending machine. One of these bad boys could make approximately 550 – 650 cups each day.

Capsule units: These have become very popular and common lately, especially for individual consumers with Tassimo and Keurig. These machines still offer the same concept as a typical coffee vending machine in the sense that nothing needs to be measured or prepared. The user simply picks a ‘pod’ or ‘capsule’ of the desired hot drink and inserts it into the machine. With the press of a button, the machine makes a cup of whatever capsule was inserted. Delicious. The larger machines can be plumbed; however, the smaller at-home ones typically just have a small water tank attached.

Each machine functions relatively the same way, it just depends on how many cups per day are needed. All of these would also provide the option of supplying just hot water as well.

Where can I find coffee vending machines for sale

The smaller, personal use vending machines can be found at any large retailer either in-store or online. In terms of having someone service a small or large vending machine, there are many companies that offer vending services. The services are primarily for businesses, but could likely get one in your home if you felt so inclined.

Any large city would have a number of vendors available to service any company’s coffee vending machines. Typically the organization could supply the vending machine for a fee or rental rate and re-stock every week or month. After a few weeks, the vending companies will know exactly how often and how much coffee they should be bringing in. Luckily, unlike many consumable goods, coffee can last for quite some time, which reduces waste. It would be beneficial to ask around to other corporations and see who they use for their services. Recommendations are a great way to source a reliable coffee vendor.

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Motorcycle Backpacks: Choosing The Best One For Your Needs

There’s nothing quite like the open air and enjoying a nice ride on a motorcycle. With the beautiful weather and sun shining it’s exciting to get the bike out and on the road. As much as I do enjoy riding on my motorbike I also hate that I never have any storage if I want to use it for anything other than joy riding.

I know I’m not the only person that experiences this problem. Specifically for me it was being able to transport things on my bike safely – especially for work. This is what lead me to look into some options for motorcycle backpacks. When deciding what motorbike bag to pick up I had to consider a few things in the process. I thought I would share what I found with you here.

Motorcycle helmet backpack: helmet storage on the go

This is a big one for a lot of people. Fortunately, my bike allows me to lock my helmet in so I’m not worried about anything happening to it or having to carry it with me. However, I have a lot of friends where this isn’t the case. Fortunately there are a lot of great motorcycle helmet backpacks that can solve this problem. They have extra space or an added carrier specifically designed for carrying your helmet.

It might not seem like a big deal but trust me it’s great not having to carry around a helmet whenever you get off your bike.

Motorcycle laptop backpacks: do you need to carry a laptop?

motorcycle backpacks

A Motorcycle laptop backpack is a great solution if you are a professional using your laptop to and from work. Personally, this was exactly what I needed. I had a normal old laptop backpack but it wasn’t anything special and it wasn’t as reliable and durable as I would have liked for my bike. I wanted a bag that was very secure for my laptop but was also able to carry a lot – most laptop bags I’ve seen in the past took up a lot of space for the computer storage.

Be sure to choose a waterproof motorcycle backpack

Almost all bags on the market now are waterproof, but this is still something to look out for. Getting a good bike backpack is one thing, but if it’s not waterproof and you get caught in the rain – bummer. And don’t say you won’t get caught in the rain because let’s be honest, it happens to the best of us.

If you’re getting a laptop backpack then they should all be waterproof, but either way make sure you ask for a waterproof motorcycle backpack when you’re buying it.

Choosing the right brand of motorcycle backpacks

There are a lot of different brands out there when it comes to getting the best backpack for your motorcycle. As we discussed earlier, finding the right type of backpack is the most important since you’ll need to use it very consistently. However, it is also fairly important to consider the different brands depending on your price range.

So what brands should you look at? Some of the more popular motorcycle backpack brands include Ogio, Icon, Fieldline, and Kriega. I won’t go into too much detail in this post on the differences between the brands because I really do feel that getting the right style of bag is more important, but feel free to look into these brands separately.

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