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Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
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Discussions > Espresso > General > Opportunity to...  
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OrlandoCoffeeDude
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OrlandoCoffeeDude
Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Still Saving
Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013, 4:43pm
Subject: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

I have been a visitor on the forum for about 2 years and decided it was time to sign up as I would benefit from the wisdom here regarding an opportunity at work.  First let me give you a little background on me and my espresso.

I hardly ever drank any coffee or espresso until my daughter was born 5 years ago.  I started going to Starbucks on my way to work and tried a variety of hot beverages until I finally settled in on lattes and the occasional mocha.  Over time I couldn't justify the expense.   I have been brewing my own beer and wine for 10+ years I decided to explore the world of espresso from home.  In doing my research I started out with a Gaggia Classic and ESE pods and have been pleased with the taste and cost savings versus Starbucks.  We are saving our money for a prosumer machine and quality grinder.

On to the work question.  I have noticed that a large number of the people I work with (at a not for profit) stroll through the office with Starbucks coffee drinks each day.  We currently have a tassimo machine and a brew pot with some assorted coffees (I don't use either).  Our not for profit doesn't pay well (like most) so I wondered about my fellow employees spending their hard earned money on overpriced, burned coffee.

Our Executive Director is addicted to SB soy mochas and has at least one a day, 5 days a week.  I mentioned to him how much cheaper and better mine taste and asked if he would be open to my putting a machine in the office.  I told him I could deliver espresso drinks that taste better than SBs at McDonalds prices.  He asked how I would recoup my costs and I told him I could set up an iPad with a Square card to take payment.  I would use the income to recoup the cost of the machine, pay for the beans and milk, set aside a reserve for repairs and eventually replacement.  Once I had recouped the initial investment I would donate at least 10% of the proceeds to work.  He is fine with this idea.  He was concerned about liability and asked if anyone could be scalded by hot water or steam.

Considering that, my big question is what set up do I go with?  We have 35 staff so the idea of a super automatic is appealing but only as a user friendly option.  I would much rather get a prosumer machine (with a no burn steam wand) and quality grinder but I don't know how realistic it is that 30+ people could learn how to grind, tamp and pull shots as well as steam the milk.  Either way it is going to be a sizable investment.

Do any of you have setups at work?  Did you have to make this kind of choice?  I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and ideas.


Thank you,

Leonard
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Laowai
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Beijing, China
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Eupa TSK 1819A
Grinder: Feima 600N
Posted Fri Aug 2, 2013, 2:21am
Subject: Re: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

The wife has a few at her office (great big MNC), go with a full automatic is my best advice and teach how to use the steam wand.  I advise a pictorial explanation of it.  At the office, the steamer is actually disabled, instead directing people to use the hot soy milk dispenser, and there's a can of whip in the fridge.  For payment, you're probably better off with a monthly collection to cover cost+overhead, or leaving a jar out for "coffee fund".  Another option would be going with an integrated access control, rfid is the easiest, on a fully automatic and link it to the grinding circuit... this will require tinkering on your part.  

Alternatively, here's the elegant solution: stick with pods and just charge for them, and for milk, go with the milk boxes (and charge for them).  Boss likes his soy mocha, that's going to mean pre-measured ingredients, or a much better machine that is preset for various drinks (and they tend to be setup for vending, but cost a LOT more).

Here's the problem you'll run into:  not everyone wants to know how to make the drink they like.  Nor is *everyone* going to want the same roast.  And of course no vending machine is going to be setup for everything everyone wants.

Next steps:
Take a survey of employees:
1) What, if any coffee do they prefer to drink, complete with peculiar details
2) What they spend on coffee normally
3) How many times during the week they go out for coffee
4) If they would be willing to learn how to make their coffee drink if it meant saving money
5) Have they ever used an espresso machine
6) Would they be willing to pitch in for a coffee fund
7) Would they be willing to pitch in 1 month's worth of regular coffee expenses to fund an office-based solution (in return for 2 months of coffee)

A vending solution is more suited to a larger office.  All you have to really do is break-even after payoff, anything extra is a bonus.  Bring in a used full automatic and a money box on the honor system.  If it doesn't get the money it needs, you just cut into the supply.  If the boss is enjoying his brew and he's cut short because someone is stingy, either the boss will pitch in some extra, or the freeloaders will get to deal with shaming from everyone missing out on their cheap fix... or someone else will bring in beans.  Less investment means less to recoup, lower prices, and just easier overall.  Find the minimum that will make the super-majority happy and you're golden.  Try to keep it under 7 or 8 bills so the break-even is faster, charge like half a buck over supplies cost.  With 10 daily users, that's $100 a month.  Maintain a slush fund to cover 2 months of supplies and enough to replace the machine when/if it dies.  The goal here is not gourmet perfection, the goal here is "better than SB for cheaper", keep that in mind and don't go overboard.  If you can bring in your own machine for a trial run, you'll have less risk.
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takeshi
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takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 999
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
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Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Fri Aug 2, 2013, 7:04am
Subject: Re: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

A semiauto or auto isn't going to work in most office environments.  People that go to Starbucks do so for convenience.  That leaves you with a superauto or other single serve solution.  Neither of those will be drastically better than Starbucks and people aren't necessarily looking for better than Starbucks anyway.  A lot of coffee drinkers just want what they want.  It seems like it would be best just to let people continue doing what they're doing to me.
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OrlandoCoffeeDude
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OrlandoCoffeeDude
Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Still Saving
Posted Fri Aug 2, 2013, 7:25am
Subject: Re: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

Thank you so much for the response.  This is very helpful.  I had felt torn between wanting a semiautomatic machine because of the quality of the brew and just wasn't sure about a super-automatic other than for lowering liability.  The milk boxes are also a great idea that I hadn't thought of.  It will be much easier to track usage with those.  

I am still inclined to use an iPad with a Square card reader for simplicity.  I want it to be easy for people to purchase their favorite drink.  The cash box honor system didn't work too well for snacks when we tried that several years ago.

When I look at super-automatics I tend towards units that have the storable carafe like the Gaggia Academia.  I would get one carafe for 2% and one for soy.  That way I don't worry about people burning themselves and it is more user friendly.  Those types of units have programmable buttons for singles and doubles so it may do the trick.

We already completed a survey that addressed most of the questions you raised.  22 out of 30 said they would choose an in office option over SB if it had McD's prices.  Most people preferred lattes.  Average spent per person per week was $17.

I really appreciated your comment "The goal here is not gourmet perfection, the goal here is "better than SB for cheaper", keep that in mind and don't go overboard."  I have a tendency to go overboard so it helped to hear that.  As you said, if I can break even everything else is a bonus.  If there is any real cash flow to it maybe I can upgrade my Gaggia Classic to the DB/HX I am wanting (along with a quality grinder) sooner than my current savings plan allows.  :)

Let me know if there is anything else that we haven't thought of.

Thanks again.
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OrlandoCoffeeDude
Senior Member
OrlandoCoffeeDude
Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Still Saving
Posted Fri Aug 2, 2013, 7:30am
Subject: Re: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

I hear you on this. It certainly is a bit of a gamble.  I have never even had a drink from a super-auto so I have no idea how decent or terrible it might be.  The other thought I had was go ahead and buy what I want for my home and bring the Gaggia Classic to the office, provide ESE pods and go with a cash box type situation.  Something to consider for sure.
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,450
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Fri Aug 2, 2013, 8:55am
Subject: Re: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

OrlandoCoffeeDude Said:

I hear you on this. It certainly is a bit of a gamble.  I have never even had a drink from a super-auto so I have no idea how decent or terrible it might be.  The other thought I had was go ahead and buy what I want for my home and bring the Gaggia Classic to the office, provide ESE pods and go with a cash box type situation.  Something to consider for sure.

Posted August 2, 2013 link

Super autos are pretty, bad lol. Don't make espresso, their espresso is more like a 10 second gusher of a shot lol. However look at it this way, starbucks uses $$$$$$$$ superautos and the coffee still sucks balls, their burnt/stale beans don't help either. So if you get fresh beans even a superauto in the office will be better tasting then starbucks. Since your more of a coffee person you pry won't like it lol, but everyone in the office that loves "Charbucks" will pry like it better.

You want to use more of a medium to medium-dark (not a darker oily bean) as darker beans oils/grinds can gum up in a superauto.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,048
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Aug 2, 2013, 9:11am
Subject: Re: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

You can get an Oscar set up for pods.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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OrlandoCoffeeDude
Senior Member
OrlandoCoffeeDude
Joined: 1 Aug 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Still Saving
Posted Fri Aug 2, 2013, 10:40am
Subject: Re: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

You can get an Oscar set up for pods.

Posted August 2, 2013 link

Another good option.  Thanks!
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qualin
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qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 665
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Fri Aug 2, 2013, 6:03pm
Subject: Re: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

IMHO, the best and easiest way to address this would be to contact a coffee equipment supply store and have them set up a
coin-operated super-automatic with a service contract. This way, if the machine breaks down, the shop will fix it. As well, the
shop can look after the machine and clean it when it needs it. Nobody wants to spend time cleaning a machine.

These machines can be purchased or leased, but the key thing is the service contract, which may be cheaper than you think.

If Coin-Op is an issue, then you can take the ipad route..

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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Flori
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Joined: 18 Apr 2013
Posts: 114
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Aug 4, 2013, 10:57pm
Subject: Re: Opportunity to put espresso machine at the office
 

unfortunately, we do not have a high end espresso machine at work. so i bring my coffee fix with me along the way. usually brewed it myself or the occasional starbucks.

flori
blogger, coffeeloversofworld.com
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