Break Room Management – How Much Coffee Should You Buy?


Coffee is arguably one of the most coveted office staples. On a sliding scale of daily desirability, coffee probably falls somewhere between a fresh ream of copy paper and your coworker's brand-new gel pen. But how much coffee should you buy, and what type of coffee suits the office environment the best?

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How Much Coffee is Enough?

As you consider how much coffee to buy for your team, take the number of coffee drinkers and their average coffee coffee consumption into account. If there are 12 staff members in your office and each of those people drinks between two and four cups of coffee a day, you can safely assume that you need to brew between 168 and 336 cups per week. Or you will need that number of single-serve K-Cups on hand each week.

Pressing deadlines often boost that upper number, and if you also deal with clients in the office, you may want to increase your estimated weekly coffee consumption even more.

For brewed coffee most people use between 1 and 1 1/2 tablespoons of coffee per cup, which equals about 1/3 ounce. If you brew 12 cups at a time, you need roughly 4 ounces of coffee for a pot. If you brew four 12-cup pots of coffee per day, you'll go through 16 ounces of coffee before you lock up the office in the evening. Considering the average size bag of ground coffee weighs 1 pound, buying coffee in bulk seems like a logical option. Another smart option to consider is signing up for a coffee subscription. You can save time and money and ensure the break room never runs on empty.

Really good coffee also makes an awesome perk: if staff members have access to gourmet coffee in the office, they tend to spend less at coffee shops and may manage their budgets more effectively.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

You may love a deep, dark, espresso-infused latte in the morning but a co-worker might prefer a cup of half-caff with milk. Then there's yet another co-worker who dumps half a cup of hazelnut creamer in her mug before topping it off with standard brew.

To keep an office staff fully satisfied, you'd be well advised to buy several different types of coffee. Fully caffeinated medium-dark Colombian is a great choice for most people, and you can adjust the amount and the brew strength to accommodate varying tastes. On a foggy Monday, for example, you might want to put an extra scoop in the filter basket to get people going. On a Friday afternoon, you can reduce the amount of coffee and brew 12 cups of medium-strength coffee to keep your team going until it's time to leave for the day. 

Don't forget about the group that prefers caffeine-free. Some people love the taste of coffee but can’t tolerate caffeine or have trouble processing more than half-caff brew. Keep a plentiful supply of decaffeinated coffee and half-caff coffee on hand for them, along with a selection of regular and sugar-free creamers for individuals who like a little extra oomph in their mugs.

Coffee Quality Tips

Of course, all the coffee-buying advice in the world is for naught if you have a sub-par brewing process. Dirty coffee makers brew notoriously bad coffee, so make sure you clean your carafe, your filter basket and any other removable parts of your coffee maker. Use a soft brush in warm water. To improve your coffee even more, run the coffee maker on a vinegar-infused cleaning cycle from time to time.

Some people prefer weak coffee and some people prefer strong coffee, so consider installing two coffee pots in your kitchen to accommodate different tastes. If you have room, you could also designate a decaf coffee pot for workers who prefer to go without caffeine.

Coffee plays double-duty in the office, where it boosts productivity and morale at the same time. When your coffee stores are well stocked and contain the right types of coffee, you can cater to both caffeine lovers and decaf warriors at the drop of a brew switch.

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