Offices run on coffee. Sure, there’s the caffeine (and its effect on alertness), but coffee breaks also give people a structured way to step away from their monitors—which in turn boosts morale, team-building, and overall employee health.
Here are some tips to help you find the right device for your office, as well as some non-coffee alternatives that will wet your team’s whistle.
What to keep in mind
When shopping for an office coffeemaker, the most important considerations are how easy the device is to use and to clean. Get these wrong, and some poor soul (maybe you!) will be stuck forever scraping up coffee grounds, or making everyone else’s drinks because they’re the only one who knows how to operate the machine.
And then, of course, there’s the budget…
Here are some great options at three different price points.
High-end coffee machines
The ideal espresso and coffeemaker offers a wide variety of different beverages at the touch of a button—and requires only infrequent maintenance. There are several high-end built-in espresso makers that meet these criteria, including brands like Bosch, Wolf, and Miele.
The self-cleaning Miele CVA 6800, for instance, is recessed into the wall, and grinds beans fresh to order to deliver dozens of barista-grade brews (and even has a built-in cup-warming drawer). Connect these models to a water line, and the only maintenance they’ll need is to be emptied of used grounds every few days.
High-end models like these can run upwards of $5,000—which sounds steep, but consider that store-bought lattes can cost $5 apiece, or $5,000 per 1,000; even if it averages only 3 drinks a day, your new high-end built-in will pay for itself in about a year.
For those looking to make a bolder statement in a high-traffic area (or who have no suitable place to mount a built-in appliance), Scanomat makes TopBrewer, which sits beneath a countertop to quietly deliver freshly brewed espresso drinks via a single streamlined spout. With all its hardware hidden away, TopBrewer is operated by app—you can even use your Apple Watch to conjure up a cappuccino as if by magic.
A great mid-range coffee maker
If you’re not yet prepared to make that kind of a financial commitment, Keurig systems are an economical alternative.
Using a system of pods, Keurig machines boast easy clean-up and a straightforward user interface, as well as the ability to quickly brew up a dizzying assortment of beverages—from vanilla hazelnut coffee to Earl Grey tea, hot chocolate to apple cider—so that everyone gets just what their heart desires in single-serving quantities.
Nespresso machines are another pod-based option, with similar pricing and flexibility. If you go this route, though, watch out for the potential coffee pod black market that can emerge in your office…
The classic economical coffee machine
When it comes to drip coffee, it doesn’t get any simpler than Chemex. Since 1941, this budget-friendly coffee machine has required nothing more than coffee grounds, hot water, and paper filters to deliver a brew that outperforms even the most expensive systems’ on taste.
Cleanup is as easy as removing the filter and giving the glass flask a rinse. Chemex is completely idiot-proof, doesn’t require its own power outlet, never breaks down, and boasts hipster-approved good looks.
Don’t forget the non-coffee drinkers
Coffee is not everyone’s, erm, cup of tea. To make sure you’ve got everyone covered, why not stock up on some options for the non-coffee drinkers (even if they’re completely crazy)?
- A direct hot water hookup, or a kettle, opens up a world of choices, from green and black teas to herbal tisanes. Teabags keep forever, so stocking up on a variety of flavours is no sweat.
- Juice and fruit can be a refreshing alternative to coffee, and stocking a fridge couldn’t be easier. If your office is near a juice bar, use it as an excuse to take a stroll; if not, consider a fuss-free juicer like Julavie, a countertop cold press that’s currently taking preorders.
- Fizzy drinks don’t have to be limited to the usual sugary colas. SodaStream’s countertop devices can carbonate virtually any liquid in seconds; the model produced by KitchenAid is a standout. Make your own sparkling water, or get creative with other juice blends.