As an employer, you know the importance of a productive office environment, and that the little things that can feel like big things—cleanliness, good lighting and windows, and a natural flow to the workspace. And great coffee is at the top of the list.
A national survey of nearly 1,000 employees conducted by Opinion Research Corporation in Princeton, NJ, found that three out of five workers felt motivated to do their best work when provided with small perks like fresh, free gourmet coffee. Bob Nelson, Ph.D., who developed the survey, named coffee as a particular office perk that has a very high perceived value. Employees who feel valued are far more willing to conform to an all-too-familiar request these days—to do more with less. Good coffee is the currency in which today’s office deals, and the fuel on which it runs.
So how to make it better?
The Proof Is in The Beans First things first: good coffee comes from good beans. They should be 100% Arabica, which contain less caffeine and are generally acknowledged as better-tasting due to their lower acidity level.
Keep It Fresh Buy fresh, whole beans—not grounds—and grind only what the office will need for the day. The coffee bean, like any natural product, deteriorates over time. Once ground, you have a million individual, infinitesimal grains exposed to the air, rather than a single big one, so the sooner you make your coffee after grinding it, the more flavor it will have.
Daily Grind Your office coffee also benefits highly from a quality grinder, which produces more uniform grounds and makes a significant difference in flavor. Better equipment like good coffeemakers and airpots ensures that your coffee will be made right, and kept hot and fresh for your employees to keep them happy and on their toes.
Don’t Buy Cheap Filters Unless you enjoy the flavor of filter, spend that extra forty cents on good ones. Look for paper that is labeled “oxygen-bleached” or “dioxin-free.” Don’t skimp on your filters—those few extra cents can make a world of difference in your employees’ coffee experience.
Use the Fridge Make coffee ice cubes for hot summer days for iced coffee, brew sun tea on a windowsill and chill it, and make coffee freezer-pops. Your employees will be surprised you went to the extra effort.
Keep Your Options Multiple You’re not running a coffee shop, you’re running a business. The problem is, your employees want to feel like they have as many options as if they are at their corner café. Use flavored options, like creamers and a single serve machine to give them options. Change flavors with the season—pumpkin spice for fall, and peppermint patty for the holidays.
Surprise Them with Treats Nothing brings employees together more than unexpected breakfast. Thank your employees for a job well done by bringing in coffee cake, bagels or muffins to accompany your coffee.
Keep It Clean, Part I Oil residue builds up on any surface coffee beans touch, from grinders to storage containers to the coffeepot itself. This residue has a bitter taste that is transferred to your coffee. Cleaning all surfaces regularly is a small chore that makes a big difference.
Keep It Clean, Part II The coffee station is Destination One for most, if not all, of your hard-working employees. Little touches like a clean counter, neatly organized sugars, creamers, cups, lids and stir sticks put your service over the top.
Personality Goes a Long Way It’s not just any old coffee station, it’s your company’s coffee station! Hang pictures of the employee-of-the-month; set up a bulletin board where employees can trade tips and jokes; add a bit of flair. It won’t go unnoticed.
Ronnoco Coffee Company, 618 S. Boyle Avenue St. Louis, MO 63110