Employer-provided coffee in the office has not only been growing rapidly in popularity, but is also known to contribute to productivity, overall job satisfaction, and the ability for companies to attract top talent. Finding an optimal office coffee solution is a high-return investment that not only energizes staff and improves morale, but promotes productivity in the office.
When it comes to adding office coffee to your company’s list of perks, every office will have its own coffee needs based on employee preferences, office size, and office layout. To help you choose the best office coffee makers and solutions for your workplace, we have put together some preliminary tips to help guide your research.
The Best Office Coffee Solutions for Small or Medium-Sized Offices
Top Choice: A Single Serve Coffee Maker
Chances are that your employees have different tastes in coffee. Single serve coffee makers (like a Keurig®, for example) provide an office coffee solution that embraces this broad range of coffee preferences by allowing for easy, cup-by-cup production.
A single serve machine uses pods or packets to produce a single cup of coffee. These pods and packets come in a variety of flavors and types of coffee (including decaf) at a wide range of price points. This means you can provide many options to please the diverse tastes of your workforce. With K-Cups®, Mars Drinks™ packs, or soft pods, options include an array of well-known brands like Green Mountain Coffee®, Caribou, Peet’s Coffee®, Starbucks®, and more. Office-exclusive options include gourmet coffee capsules from Nespresso®, Mars Drinks packs, as well as soft pod offerings from local and national brands alike. With single serve coffee machines, employees can brew individual cups of specialty, flavored coffee with very little cleanup and virtually no wait time.
Since single serve coffee machines are compact and only make one cup at a time, they’re better suited for smaller break rooms or kitchens that don’t require a large volume of coffee. Additionally, single serve machines typically need less maintenance than other types of office coffee machines, which also makes them a great choice for smaller offices.
If you’re looking to supply coffee to a higher-trafficked area, the next few sections cover larger-volume options.
Quick Facts About Single-Serve Office Coffee Solutions:
- Most single-serve machines will provide coffee for up to 50 employees. Larger models will serve more than 50 people.
- Drink options for single serve machines also include tea, hot cocoa, and iced drinks.
- Very little cleanup and maintenance required
- No wait time for your beverage
- Diverse flavor options within one machine
Examples of Single-Serve Drink Options:
- Cappuccinos, Lattes, Tea, Lattes, Hot Cocoa
- Flavors such as Hazelnut, French Vanilla, Chocolate and more
- Quality single origins such as Colombia, Costa Rica, and Sumatra
Other Coffee Solutions for Mid-Sized Offices
Single serve machines are great for many different kinds of break areas, but some mid-sized offices may want to have multiple coffee machines, a variety of machines, or machines with larger capacity than a single serve machine.
Traditional drip coffee solutions that use large, thermal canisters (called airpots) produce a considerable amount of coffee in a short period of time, making them ideal for larger breakrooms or conference rooms. Unlike single serve systems, these types of machines make larger volumes of coffee. These systems vary from models that make 8-cup pots to others that make gallons of coffee. The main consideration point for this option is that coffee is readily available to pour as much or as little as you want once the pot is made.
Thermal airpot machines are generally more economical than other systems, and create less environmental impact than single serve systems. When paired with a grinder, this type of system expands the available options of roasts and blends, and also enhances the freshness of the cup.
Is Your Business Growing?
If your business is growing, or plans to grow in the near future, be sure to take that into account when searching for the best coffee makers and solutions for your office. In the next 2-3 years, will you need a larger capacity machine or will you need to stock an additional break room? Questions like this will help you determine if you need to consider larger capacity brewers or additional machines.
Talk to an Aramark expert to get a custom consultation
The Best Office Coffee Solutions for Large Offices
(Around 75+ employees, or with multiple breakrooms or conference rooms)
The Recommended Approach: A Mix of Machines
Larger offices with multiple break areas and conference rooms will typically require a mix of coffee makers and solutions to satisfy their company’s demands.
Smaller break rooms are often equipped with single serve machines (like Keurig machines) to deliver custom beverages in small volumes while a client-facing area or central break location may feature an espresso or bean-to-cup machine that produces more specialty coffee. Where mass coffee consumption occurs, such as in conference rooms, meeting areas, and large kitchens, we recommend large-volume machines (like an airpot machine) as the go-to solution. Meanwhile, offices with a lot of specialty coffee-lovers may consider a bean-to-cup machine or in-office grinder and drip machine combination to provide specialty coffee drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.
Airpot Machines and Thermal Brewers
If your organization has a significant number of staff, serves coffee in a heavily-trafficked area, or regularly hosts meetings or events, an airpot machine or high-volume thermal brewer is likely the right choice for you. Airpot machines and thermal brewers excel at making a large quantity of quality coffee at once, and the thermal pot keeps coffee hot and tasting fresh for hours. The thermal airpot machine is also an asset when hosting meetings or events, helping everyone stay alert and engaged with readily-available coffee that can be poured without disruption.
Take note that these larger-volume options require a direct hookup to a water source. When your service representative comes to install the machine, they’ll be able to help you choose the ideal location.
Quick Facts on Airpot Machines and Thermal Brewers:
- Airpot machines can produce up to 80 cups per hour, and large-volume thermal brewers produce up to 300 cups per hour
- Coffee stays warm and ready all day
Talk to an Aramark expert to get a custom consultation
The Best Coffee Solutions for Offices with Coffee Aficionados
With office coffee solutions that produce specialty coffee drinks, those accustomed to leaving the office every day for a gourmet cup of coffee will have a reason to stay in. This makes coffee solutions like bean-to-cup machines and espresso machines convenient for both employees and employers alike, saving time and money on those 15-minute coffee runs.
The Bean-to-Cup Machine and Drip Machines:
If you’re looking to please specialty coffee drinkers in the office and provide a gourmet coffee experience as a treat for your team, a bean-to-cup machine or a combination in-office grinder and drip machine will both be good coffee solutions for your office.
As the name implies, bean-to-cup machines use a built-in grinder to grind whole coffee beans and deliver fresh, gourmet coffee. These systems allow the consumer to make one gourmet cup at a time, ensuring a freshly ground and brewed cup. While bean-to-cup machine options are often limited to holding two or three coffee bean varieties, they do allow you to make specialty drinks like lattes, mochas, chai lattes, and even hot chocolate, expanding the drink options provided by traditional drip coffee. Bean-to-cup machines come in multiple sizes and often come with touchscreen displays to fit the preferences of today’s digitally-connected workforce.
There are generally two types of brewing methods available with bean-to-cup machines; Espresso and French Press, each making a delicious cup of coffee. Combined with artisan roasted beans, bean-to-cup office coffee solutions can deliver a complex, specialty coffee that rivals premier coffeehouses. Bean-to-cup machines also allow for customization at a spectrum of price points, with national brands like Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, and regional and local coffees from Joffrey’s® and La Colombe®.
Quick Facts About Bean-to-Cup Brewers:
- Bean-to-cup machines support spaces with daily traffic of about 45-100 people
- Each machine can accommodate 2-3 different whole bean types at a time
- Many professional grade machines have additional options like brew strength and varying cup sizes
Combination of an In-Office Grinder and Drip Machines: Innovative Office Coffee Solutions
Aside from seeking heightened flavor and quality of specialty drinks, the coffee aficionados in the office also want a more hands-on experience, with more control over the grinding and brewing process. We offer an additional office coffee solution that combines in-office coffee grinders and drip coffee machines that provide options for both a carafe of coffee or an individual serving. This solution provides a customizable and mess-free system to mimic the pour-over brewing method that is popular with true coffee lovers.
The Choice for Caffeine & Espresso Enthusiasts: The Office Espresso Machine
Much like the bean-to-cup machine, an office espresso machine is very popular among the specialty coffee-lover crowd and is one of the top recommended office coffee solutions for companies with coffee aficionados.
Espresso machines also have the advantage of providing several options in drink type and flavor, such as americanos and cappuccinos. Having an espresso machine in common areas, along with the matching cups, signage, and merchandising provided by Aramark Refreshments, is appreciated by workers and impressive to visitors. It's much like having a high-end coffee shop and barista in your office.
Quick Facts About Office Espresso Machines:
- Office espresso machines can serve 10 to 150 people per day (or more than 150 with some machines)
- Many models also have an iced latte drink options.
Talk to an Aramark expert to get a custom consultation
Alternative Choices: The “Hottest” Thing in Coffee: Cold Brew
More than ever Americans prefer to drink their coffee cold – and the trend is growing. Unlike iced coffee, cold brew is made by brewing coffee in cold water for 12 to 18 hours, which creates a distinctively smooth, low-acidic, and highly caffeinated brew. To learn more about the specific benefits of cold brew in office settings, you can read our post on cold brew for the office.
Summary of Machines: What is the best coffee maker & office coffee solution for me?
Single Serve Machines:
- A good choice for offices trying to minimize ongoing maintenance
- Best for smaller offices and smaller break room spaces
- Caters to a group with varied preferences in coffee types and flavors
- Great for offering coffee in lower-traffic areas
- Can be used in addition to airpots, bean-to-cup, or other machines
Airpot/Thermal Brewing Machines:
- Used for brewing a large quantity of coffee at once
- Best in large break rooms and conference rooms
- Suited for offices where coffee is in high demand
- Good for keeping coffee hot and fresh-tasting for long periods of time
- Perfect for offices of coffee enthusiasts
- A great way to offer modern office perks and amenities
- Good for offices skewing to a younger employee base
- Use them for treating office visitors or guests to gourmet coffee
- …and treating employees that want specialty drinks, like cappuccinos and lattes
- A good fit for offices with high caffeine needs or refined tastes
- Popular among coffee aficionados as well as younger age groups
- Also good for treating office staff and visitors alike
Still Not Sure?
Our team is highly experienced in providing the best refreshment solutions for your office.
Contact an Aramark Refreshments representative today to learn more about the best coffee solutions for your office.