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Coffee solution(s) for a large office
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drdreydel
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jan 2009
Posts: 81
Location: MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07
Grinder: Le'Lit Pl53
Posted Fri Feb 21, 2014, 12:50pm
Subject: Coffee solution(s) for a large office
 

I work for a large, rapidly growing technology company with multiple office locations across the US that is struggling with keeping its employees appropriately caffeinated. Recently, I got on board with a project to rethink the coffee strategy since everyone, up to the CEO, is frustrated with what we currently have available. Currently, my company has somewhat decent drip coffee (in air pots) available for sale in our cafe. Free self-service "coffee" is available in kitchens throughout our campus from the typically terrible Eccellenza Express variety of automatic bean to cup machines. I don't think I know a single person around here who likes what these machines produce and they seem to be very underutilized. At the same time, some groups have bought their own grinders (cheaper bodum, or capresso burr grinders) to use for French press and pour over coffee. As part of ongoing renovations, we are considering putting in a cafe served by a professional barista. In my opinion, that should be the single source for espresso and espresso based beverages since doing espresso right takes the sort of dedication and skill that your typical office worker is not going to have. I've mulled over the idea of replacing the not excellent exccellenzas with Quickmill Monzas since they're regarded to be pretty much the best quality super autos, but I'm not sure if they are suitable for such an environment for reasons of maintenance and cleanliness.

So, with that...what would be some suggestions for providing the greater employee population with access to much better coffee that's not from the barista? Looking around elsewhere, the typical answer seems to be getting a bunch of Fetco drips combined with quality, freshly ground coffee. I recognize that these would also need a level of service and maintenance, but the product should be much better. I'd greatly appreciate any advice or suggestions especially if you have experience in a similar setting.

Thanks!
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Feb 21, 2014, 2:17pm
Subject: Re: Coffee solution(s) for a large office
 

The ambitious outside-the-box approach to your multiple-location-with-universal-quality conundrum would be for your company to interact with another company that is a large-volume roaster that wants to vertically integrate into cafes, as many are doing.  Such an example as George Howell comes to mind, since he is in your neck of the woods.  That roaster recently opened a cafe in Newton, so the idea would not be foreign to them.
For other company candidates, well, this forum is full of good reports about favored companies.  The advantage to the companies would be many, such as free or discounted rent on the cafe space, a 'captive' customer base and a possible distribution point into a new market location for their product.  Hiring, training and transporting new personnel might be deal killers for all but the larger companies, however.

Let me know if your company wants to invite prospectuses and is willing to commit floor space, and to modify existing electricity and plumbing.  A main detail to be considered is who employs the baristas (I see a minimum of two per location as essential) and who signs off on their hiring?

You imply that doing this without putting people into the equation is the most doable solution.  You are, of course, correct.  Putting people into the mix always complicates business.  There is, however, a quality bar that you are not going to be able to clear if the rank-and-file are responsible for their own drinks.

Buckley
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drdreydel
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jan 2009
Posts: 81
Location: MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07
Grinder: Le'Lit Pl53
Posted Fri Feb 21, 2014, 2:29pm
Subject: Re: Coffee solution(s) for a large office
 

Thanks for the reply. For the cafe portion, pursuing a vertical integration with an existing local chain is definitely something that is top of mind for me. At least at our HQ, the space would be brand new and planned with cafe needs in mind. I like George Howell a lot and get most of my espresso beans from the Newton store (but some of the baristas there are definitely a notch or two below others, and even so I think the quality of the drinks at say Fixe in Brookline is notably better).

The self-serve question is the more difficult one. I don't yet know if the cafe would be sponsored or have a nominal fee. I for one would gladly forgo "local" from the leased machines no one is using, and would be willing to walk over to get a free cup instead (who knows, it might be net 0 once we stop leasing the machines). Even better would be to replace the machines with a good burr grinders with pre-defined settings for french press, pour over, etc. and hot water dispensers.
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