Why Office Coffee Machines are Being Swapped Out for Something Better
Cupper’s roasters and baristas are born disruptors.
We love finding ways to bring fresh, exciting coffee culture to dark corners of the old-school, corporate coffee industry.
First we tackled the “serious” caricature of the solemn, expert coffee guru.
Our mission is to be masters at our craft, provide the best gourmet coffee you’ll ever drink, AND have fun doing it.
Secondly, we never stopped adding art to the science of coffee roasting.
We pull every roast by hand.
We don’t depend on computers screens to tell us when our roasts are perfect.
Next, we completely redefined light roast coffee.
Our light roasts have incredible flavour and aroma without being green or grassy or baggy.
Now? We’re taking on office coffee.
Office coffee machines have been slooow to change. Office coffee brewers are stuck in the 90’s.
The industry has too long been dominated by large companies which are mired in coffee products that have serious drawbacks.
We’ll get to those later.
For now, let’s just say that most old school office coffee brewers brew bad coffee.
They produce one-size-fits-all coffee drinks with typical corporate efficiency that erases all the rich personality that a great cup of coffee offers.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to take your office coffee to the next level.
Time for something better!
- Why Coffee Machines for the Office are on their Way Out!
- Commercial Office Coffee Machines vs Single Cup Solutions
- Old School Coffee Machines for Office Rental
- Best Coffee Machines for the Office
- Office Coffee Machines, Single Cup Brewers vs Coffee Pods
- Before You Buy a Coffee Machine for the Office, Consider these Superior, Cheaper Alternatives
- What is the Best Coffee Maker?
- Office Coffee Brewing Methods
- Upgrade Your Coffee Machine for the Office and Improve Your Workday
- Best Coffee Makers Under $100
- Office Coffee Solutions for Expensive, Stale, Moldy or Unhealthy Coffee
Why Coffee Machines for the Office are on their Way Out!
Office coffee companies may not have noticed, but people who drink coffee at work have dramatically raised their coffee expectations.
In the last few years, everyone has upped their coffee-drinking game.
Coffee culture is real thing!
At home, thoughtful coffee drinkers are brewing freshly roasted coffee, preparing it just the way they like it.
These dedicated coffee drinkers educate themselves on coffee brewing methods and best coffee making protocols.
They have easy access to all the information (internet, anyone?) they need.
Outside their home, at their local coffee bar, they probably have access to specialty coffee beans and gourmet coffee blends.
They’re buying whole beans and grinding their coffee at home.
And yes! They can order customized coffee drinks, made to perfection.
It’s a different story.
At work, people often put up with coffee that is stale and brewed badly.
The resulting drink is tasteless in the cup, thin-bodied and acidic.
It takes a lot of sugar, creamer, and added flavouring to make it palatable.
The answer is simple.
Office coffee companies have not kept up with the coffee-drinking market, and the lag shows up in the equipment they offer.
Good news though!
Managers and owners are waking up and re-thinking their office coffee solutions.
Commercial coffee machines are not the only option, and they’re starting to realize the benefits of offering their valued staff and workers a more personalized brewing experience.
BTW, are you familiar with the research on how gourmet coffee and one-cup brewing solutions can skyrocket productivity in the workplace?
Commercial Office Coffee Machines vs Single Cup Solutions
Commercial office coffee machines, by design, are built for speed and volume: pump out the most coffee in the least amount of time.
Your office efficiency manager will love it, which should send up red flags right there.
Speed and volume are two things that coffee culture mavens have scorn for.
Thoughtful coffee drinkers are not looking for fast-food coffee that was brewed 3 hours ago and has been sitting in a glass carafe on a burner.
They want fresh, flavourful, smooth, satisfying, and personalized coffee.
The kind they get at home or at their favourite roastery. Because coffee culture.
Old School Coffee Machines for an Office Rental
There are pros and cons of commercial coffee makers.
The pros, as mentioned above, are a basic ability to provide a lot of coffee, quickly.
This efficiency is a basic selling point, sold to office managers as convenience.
The types of commercial coffee makers on offer range in style, from old-fashioned drip coffee brewers to new-fangled one-button drink makers.
You have to go through a lot of coffee to be offered one of those.
Office coffee companies may provide the machine for rent or for “free,” make you sign a contract, and force you to use only their coffee as long as you’re using their machine.
This is why the quality of the coffee is often so low.
They purchase low grade coffee in large volumes, add flavours to disguise the rank nature of the low grade coffee, and presto, you’re drinking unsatisfying coffee that gives you a stomach ache, or heartburn.
Office coffee companies promise to clean, maintain and fix your (their) equipment.
In our experience, commercial machines require attention, and small accounts can wait days, sometimes weeks, to get their equipment cleaned or repaired.
In the meantime, your staff is scrambling for coffee.
Best Coffee Machines for the Office
We totally get that companies and offices have to watch the bottom line, and cost plays a big part in office coffee decisions.
There’s a lot to consider when looking for the best coffee machines for the office.
There’s real, measurable value to providing your staff with amazing coffee.
Check out our office productivity tips and hacks.
When you really understand the long term costs of lousy coffee, and the long term benefits of amazing coffee, you might start considering other options as your office coffee solutions.
What the best coffee machine for the office is will vary from office to office, and we have some suggestions and coffee brewers ranked below.
But first, let’s talk about the dreaded coffee pod, and why they’re not the best option for your office coffee.
Office Coffee Machines, Single Cup vs Coffee Pods
So yeah, big brands of single-serve automatic machines have worked hard to get your attention.
Those single serve coffee pods sure are convenient.
You know what else they are?
- Freeze dried, low grade coffee
- Sprayed with chemical flavourings to hide the taste
- Notoriously hard on the environment
- Badly brewed – not enough heat or pressure to make great coffee
Those single serve coffee machines would have to go through a significant design revolution to produce decent coffee.
And the coffee in the pods would have to be significantly better.
Your office deserves better.
NOTE: There’s a big difference between these single-cup brewers and the single-cup desktop options we’re going to suggest below.
Before You Buy A Coffee Machine for the Office, Consider these Superior, Cheaper Alternatives
Your office can have one brewer that everyone uses like a drip machine or push button…
or your office can provide superior brewers that are less expensive and make WAY better coffee.
If you suspect that the exceptional, less expensive ways of brewing coffee take more time and energy to use?
But the advantages in the office far outweigh the disadvantages.
We’ve broken this down in another post.
Will everyone in the office want to brew their own coffee? Maybe not.
But we have answers for that too.
What is the Best Coffee Maker?
Sorry, there may not be ONE best coffee maker for your office.
If you value your staff and want to seriously upgrade your coffee game, you’re going to want to think about this differently.
- The best coffee maker is the one that your staff loves the most. (There will be a variety of opinions.)
- The best coffee maker is the one that makes, hands down, the best coffee. (Again, your staff will have different opinions on this.)
- The best coffee maker is the one that makes your staff feel valued and appreciated. (Another highly personal value judgement.)
The best coffee maker can’t be evaluated in the same old objective ways.
Coffee culture is about personal taste and preference.
This is a shift in perspective that requires a bit of imagination.
Office coffee will no longer look like a single coffee brewer that everyone uses.
Instead, it will look like what is described below, and be much more in line with current coffee culture:
- Choice: Even though there may still be a basic drip machine or something similar, there will also be a variety of small, single-serve coffee brewers that can be used at a desk or kitchen counter
- Ease: These options are easy to use. Most often, the only extra equipment required is a kettle or hot water dispenser. Some use filters.
- Personalization: To each his or her own. Those who choose to do so will brew their own coffee, to desired strength and intensity.
Here are a few single-serve brewing methods for your office that will deliver the value you’re looking for.
Office Brewing Methods
Each one of these brewing methods is inexpensive (more on this later) and will meet the highest coffee expectations.
They are easy to use, easy to clean, convenient to store.
And, they one has very few moving parts, is manual instead of electric, and is easily replaced.
Yes, they only take a few minutes to use.
The break that this provides is not a time-waste.
There are huge benefits to providing your staff the extra minutes to brew up a cup.
Add freshly roasted coffee, and you’ve got an office full of happy coffee drinkers.
Single Serve Brew Bag
Hello new technology!
The brew bag is an unbelievably convenient way to make an excellent cup of coffee.
Look for quality.
Coffee is freshly roasted, and quickly ground and packaged with an inert nitrogen flush to preserve freshness.
Use it just like a tea bag.
Steep your coffee right at your desk for as long as you like.
Longer steep time will get more intense flavour.
If your office coffee company has done it right, using arabica beans, ethically sourced and meticulously roasted…
then your coffee will never get bitter, and you’ll marvel at the depth of flavour.
Minimum time required: 2 minutes
Travel Mug Brewers
These are a basic travel mug with a French press mechanism built in.
They make excellent coffee providing you’re using the right grind.
Like all of the brewing methods in this list, it’s easy, convenient, and can be used right at your desk.
All you need is great coffee and boiling water.
The really big advantage of a travel mug brewer is a (mostly) leak-proof lid.
If you’ve ever knocked over your coffee mug into your keyboard, you’ll know what I mean.
There are a lot of brands out there, but we really like the Planetary Press Double Shot and the Bodum Travel Press.
Minimum time required: 4 minutes
How to Make Coffee in a French Press
The basic French press is a great addition to your coffee room.
They come in all shapes and sizes, from 1-cup presses that can be used at your desk, to larger presses that can make coffee for 3 or more people.
A French press is so easy to use.
Add coffee to the carafe, pour boiling water over, let steep for 4 minutes, press and pour.
The most common question we get is “How much coffee in a French press?”
If you use one scoop (rounded tablespoon) per 12 oz, you’ll get a great cup of coffee.
Lengthen the steep time for more intense, full-bodied coffee.
Minimum time required: 4 minutes
Aeropress Coffee Maker
The Aeropress was designed by an engineer coffee maven.
It’s a cool little unit that uses slightly more pressure than a press to extract more flavour from the coffee.
That said, you can make your coffee anywhere between an American style cup of regular coffee to a more intense, espresso-like brew.
The only extra gizmo you’ll need is a paper filter, and the Aeropress comes with a package of 300 to get you started.
There are metal filters available, too.
Above and beyond the normal way to use an Aeropress, aficionados have used their imaginations to come up with all kinds of ways to use the brewer.
Minimum time required: 3 minutes
Pour Over Coffee
Pour over coffee takes a wee bit more time and attention than the other brewing methods.
But as any Chemex fan will tell you, it’s worth it.
You pour boiling water over coffee that’s in a paper or metal cone-shaped filter.
Pour slowly for a bit more extraction time.
The only extra equipment required is the filter.
Chemex comes with paper filters, other brands such as Bodum have built-in metal mesh filters.
Both produce amazing coffee.
The biggest concern that people have is the coffee to water ratio pour over.
Use 1 rounded tbsp per 12 oz of water.
Minimum time required: 4-5 minutes
How to Make Coffee Without a Coffee Maker
This is a question we get from people who daydream about the good old days when instant coffee was a thing.
If you really search it out, you can still buy instant coffee.
It’s freeze-dried and awful.
The only decent way to make coffee without a coffee maker is to use the Coffee Brew Bag which we discussed above.
If you’re choosing your brand wisely, you’ll be shocked at how good the coffee is.
Upgrade Your Coffee Machine for the Office and Improve Your Workday
Upgrading your “office coffee machine” to the individual brewers is like leveling up in your favourite video game.
You feel like it’s a reward you’ve earned, and it feels good.
No question that great office coffee will improve your workday.
Let’s count the ways.
Best Coffee Near Me or Coffee Shops Nearby
Did you know that the two of the most highly searched phrases on the google machine are “best coffee near me” and “coffee shops nearby?”
It means that people are looking for coffee.
They’re looking for great coffee!
There’s no way your staff should be googling “best coffee near me” or “coffee shops nearby.”
If you’re doing it right, the “best coffee near me” is just a few steps away, in the coffee room.
We so believe in this that we cheekily created a medium coffee roast called, A Coffee Shop Near Me.
That’s how strongly we feel that your staff should want to stay in the building knowing that you’re serving the best coffee around!
If you’re doing it right, coffee shops nearby should be a non-issue.
Your staff won’t be running out to grab themselves a great coffee.
They’ll have great coffee at work.
Give your staff this perk, and they’ll pay you back with loyalty and productivity.
Their workday, and your workday, will get a lot better.
Espresso Coffee Machine
If you really want to impress your staff and add HUGE value to your office coffee culture, you might consider providing a espresso coffee machine.
Your staff will be able to make lattes and cappuccinos.
In under 3 minutes!
What a delicious and amazing on the job perk!
JURA’s new E line is revolutionizing the enjoyment of coffee in every aspect – especially the office.
The espresso brewing process has been 100% perfected.
JURA’s Pulse Extraction Process (P.E.P®) is the only process of its kind in the world.
It optimizes the extraction time and guarantees the very best aroma even for short specialty coffees.
And get this…
You can make an excellent cup of coffee while sitting at your desk!
The new JURA Smart Connect uses Bluetooth®.
With the app, you can then wirelessly operate and program the machine.
Now, that’s added productivity in the office!
Contact us if you’d like one of these amazing machines in your office to scale up your office culture.
Best Coffee Makers Under $100
So, the great news is this: every coffee maker we recommend for your best-ever office coffee game is far less than $100.
In fact, you can probably buy 4 or 5 of them and pay less than $100 total.
And if you’re looking for the best inexpensive coffee maker?
Any one of the above options can be ranked as the best.
We love this.
Because it means that you can afford to spend a little more on the quality of your coffee, which is crucially important to office staff and other workers.
You can look for small local roasteries that ethically source and meticulously roast their coffees.
Office Coffee Solutions for Expensive, Stale, Moldy or Unhealthy Coffee
Doubts that people have are centered around 4 concerns:
These concerns are easily addressed.
Office Coffee Companies: Choose Wisely
All of these concerns can be alleviated by choosing the right office coffee solution, provided by the right roaster.
The best companies have already thought about these issues and have solved these problems for you.
It pays to take some time and do a little research. Choosing your office coffee provider wisely is a smart move.
Best Coffee Beans, Why Specialty Coffee Matters
Specialty coffee roasters ethically source their coffee.
The best coffee roaster imports the best beans, which means arabica beans instead of robusta beans.
Specialty coffee roasters seek out organic coffee growers, and family-owned farms or small cooperatives that use green growing practices.
High quality beans are better for your health – remarkably so.
We’ve written extensively on this subject.
There’s also an economic domino effect at play here:
- What’s good for the coffee workers is good for the growers.
- What’s good for the growers is good for the roasters. And,
- What’s good for the roasters is good for the consumers.
Benefits exist at every part of the coffee chain.
Office Coffee Solutions - Competitive Pricing
When you take into account the real, measurable economic benefits of providing your staff and workers with great coffee, you’ll be surprised at how little it costs per cup.
Specialty coffee may cost slightly more, in the short term, than supermarket or commercial coffee, but the long-term benefits far outweigh the extra cost.
Office Coffee Solutions - Why Freshness is so Important
Freshness is key to flavour.
Freshly roasted coffee just can’t be compared to stale coffee.
Freshness can be eroded at several places in the coffee chain.
If you’ve chosen your office coffee solutions wisely, all of these will be addressed for you:
- Coffee should be packaged and delivered within days of roasting. This ensures optimal flavour and freshness.
- If ordered ground rather than whole bean, the packaging and delivery time becomes even more important because the flavour of ground coffee will degrade more quickly than whole beans.
- Storage also effects freshness. If possible, your provider should be able to provide smaller shipments more often. Also, your provider should provide special zip lock, vented bags to store the coffee in.
Office Coffee Solutions - Health Considerations such as Mold
Some coffee brands have made claims about mycotoxins (mold) in coffee.
First of all, reputable roasters takes measures to ensure that green beans are not stored in humid environments.
Check this out with your coffee roaster.
Second of all, like many food and health claims, there’s a lot of contradictory information out there.
Our advice is: do your own thoughtful research, and be careful not to believe the first thing you read.
Accurate scientific information is available and the results are reassuring.
Office Coffee Solutions - Grinding and Storing Coffee
A few extra words on grinding and storing, because so many customers bring these two topics up with us.
There’s really no need to be grinding coffee in the office, unless there’s a real coffee maven on board who wants to grind the coffee herself.
Grinding can be a bit messy and noisy, and why not leave that up to your roaster?
If the coffee is being stored properly, in Airscape Canisters, for example, or specialty coffee bags, there’s no reason not to order pre-ground coffee.
Yes, there’s a very slight flavour degradation in pre-ground coffee, but it’s so minor that most people won’t notice it.
So, What is the Best Coffee Maker for the Office?
Hopefully this blog post has helped you answer that question for yourself.
Coffee culture is alive and well on our continent, and with it comes elevated expectations for coffee quality and flavour.
Our answer, our office coffee solution, is to meet those expectations head-on and disrupt the old-school office coffee paradigm.