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
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
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.