beverage options in Auburn

Auburn, Watch Out for Caffeine Lurking in Your Beverages and Snacks

beverage option in AuburnIn 2018, the number of beverages, snacks, and food that contain caffeine has skyrocketed. Whether it’s espresso, coffee, decaffeinated coffee, hot or iced tea, caffeinated soda (cola and non-cola varieties), chocolate and anything made with chocolate or coffee, energy drinks including energy water, caffeinated snacks such as  granola bars and energy bars, or gum, everything contains caffeine. The challenge for Auburn employees is to figure out how much caffeine is too much since everyone experiences and is impacted by caffeine differently.

Recent research by Dr. J.W. Langer, a clinical pharmacology lecturer at Copenhagen University, found that “each person’s unique genetic makeup determines to what degree a given amount of caffeine will affect the individual. Some [individuals] will metabolise caffeine quickly, while others will metabolise it more slowly. Some will show greater sensitivity to the stimulating effects of caffeine, while others need higher amounts to feel an effect.”

Auburn’s employees’ genetic makeup is only one of the reasons why each person responds differently to caffeine. That genetically-caused response usually triggers a unique self-regulating reaction that can affect a person’s regular intake of caffeine. Either a person will be able to consume more caffeine before they have a negative response, or they will recognize that they need to consume less because the response is too strong.

So how can this information improve your Auburn break room? The answer is by encouraging organizations and facility managers to look closely at their employees’ refreshment needs and to realize that a variety of caffeinated and non-caffeinated snacks and beverages should be offered in the break room. Below is a chart that shows which beverages have the most caffeine per eight ounces of liquid.beverage options in Auburn

There are several important responses that can occur when caffeinated snacks and beverages are available in the break room.

  • Spontaneous conversations and problem solving are more likely to happen when employees remain on-site for meals, snacks, and coffee breaks.
  • Morale levels often get a boost when there is an inviting break room space with sought-after snacks and beverages.
  • Productivity levels increase as consuming caffeine is known to boost energy levels.

If an increase in spontaneous conversations, problem solving, and morale and productivity levels sounds appealing, it’s time to change up your Auburn break room. Come collaborate with Automatic Food Service and design a customized menu offering a variety of caffeinated and non-caffeinated snacks and beverages. For more information about elevating your break room, contact us at (334) 264.7336.  

Coffee options in Auburn

Finding Coffee in Auburn

Coffee options in Auburn

Enjoying coffee continues to be a daily experience for 64 percent of Americans. That number is important because it means that, according to research performed by the National Coffee Association (NCA), 5 percent more Americans are drinking it daily than there were in 2016. Unfortunately, not all of the results in the study were positive as out-of-home coffee consumption decreased from 40 percent in 2017 to 36 percent in 2018, and those who claimed to have a workplace coffee area decreased by 3 percent.

While these new findings might sound negative, they create an opportunity for Auburn employers to offer a sought after benefit, keep employees onsite, and increase productivity during the workday. The first step in developing a great office coffee service is to understand which types of beverages are preferred.

Espresso

24 percent of NCA study participants preferred espresso-based beverages. Espresso or a  black coffee beverage is made by forcing water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans and is the base for a number of other beverages.

  • caffe macchiato = 100 percent espresso + dash of steamed-milk foam
  • caffe Americano = 1/2 espresso + 1/2 water
  • latte = 1/3 espresso + 1/3 steamed milk + a thin layer of steamed-milk foam
  • cappuccino = 1/3 espresso + 1/3 steamed milk + a thick layer of steamed-milk foam
  • latte macchiato = 1/3 espresso + 2/3 steamed milk + dash of steamed-milk foam

Gourmet versus Traditional Beans

Coffee made from gourmet beans was preferred by just 16 percent of the participants. Arabica beans are considered to be gourmet beans. They are more expensive to grow because they need very specific growing conditions, must be carefully handled and roasted to perfection. All of this combined creates a gourmet cup of java.

Traditional coffee is made with beans that are not considered gourmet and was preferred by 31 percent of the participants. This type of brew is usually made from Robusta beans or a mix of Robusta and Arabica beans. Robusta beans are cheaper to grow and easier to handle, but have an inferior taste.

While it appears that the study participants preferred traditional beans over gourmet ones, it is important to compare the demographics of the study to the demographics of your Auburn employees before making a decision. For example, only 19 percent of the 18 to 24 year-olds in the study drank traditional coffee while over 30 percent of the same cohort preferred the gourmet version. In older demographics, the traditional variety does better, but gourmet beans still draws in more than 30 percent of that age group.

Coffee options in Auburn

At Home or At Work

The second step is to understand where employees are getting their caffeine fix. For the majority,  coffee-based beverages are still consumed at breakfast in Auburn homes, but there has also been an increase in enjoying coffee between breakfast and lunch or when employees are at work. This second block of time is when an office coffee service can have an impact.

Rather than having to go offsite to find either an espresso-based beverage or a cup of coffee, employees can find what they are looking for in an onsite break room with a cafe-style service. It’s a benefit with a highly perceived value that outweighs the actual cost. Increasing the perceived value is easily accomplished by offering snacks via a micro-market or vending machine. A healthy mid-morning snack with a cup of Joe is a great way to boost your employees’ energy levels.

For more information about adding office coffee service or another vending service option to your Auburn break room, contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

Coffee Service in Auburn

Office Coffee Service Boosts Productivity in Auburn

Coffee Service in Auburn

“Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” is a phrase almost all Auburn employees have heard at least once at the beginning of the workday. Whether an individual needs the caffeine to finish waking up or to just mentally prepare for the day ahead, coffee plays an important role for more than 64 percent of American adults. With the increasing number of coffee drinkers, employers have an opportunity to harness the effects of caffeine by turning it into a productivity tool. As David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com expressed, “companies need to provide higher-quality coffee and related benefits as part of broader employee retention and loyalty strategies that ultimately help enhance employee productivity.”

Why Coffee?

With more than half (68 percent) of at-work coffee drinkers drinking coffee that is made or dispensed in the office break room, there is an opportunity to positively impact the majority of Auburn employees. Offering a sought-after selection of beans and roasts and other hot beverages will also encourage employees to get to the office in the morning and keep them onsite during the workday.

Increased Productivity

It is well established that the caffeine decreases fatigue, provides a mental boost, and improves, memory, reaction times, and concentration. Each of these benefits positively impacts an individual’s productivity, but recent research by the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis has found that caffeine also has a positive impact on a group’s performance. Groups that have consumed coffee were more willing to work and generated a higher number of topic relevant statements. Coffee breaks also contribute to an increase in networking and spontaneous idea generation among groups of individuals.

Coffee Service in Auburn

Plan of Action

Step 1: Offer options in your Auburn break room that can compete with coffee purchased or made outside of the office. Be aware that employees value quality and flavor, but are often disappointed when it comes to at-work choices.

Step 2: Invest in higher-quality options. Packaged Facts recommends offering only “two varieties that communicate clear distinctions that matter to the target audience could make most employees happy while keeping product assortment manageable.”

Step 3: Don’t forget to offer your employees a variety of sweeteners and creamers and a selection of healthy snacks and meals to enjoy with their cup of Joe.

Step 4: Contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336 to customize your office coffee service or to add healthy snacks and beverages via a break room micro-market or vending machines — your employees will enjoy the added benefit.

Office Coffee Service in Auburn

Auburn, Do You Know What the Secret Ingredient in Coffee Is?

Office Coffee Service in Auburn

Making great coffee while protecting the brewing equipment requires Auburn employees to constantly perform a balancing act. They must choose the best type of water to find the sweet spot between preventing damage to the brewing equipment and brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

Why is the type of water so important? A cup of coffee consists of 98 percent water. That means that the coffee only represents two percent of the beverage. The quality or type of water can range anywhere from “hard” (full of minerals like magnesium) to “soft” (distilled water falls into this category).

To understand the impact of hard and soft water on brewing equipment, consider the following:

  • many maintenance issues are caused by water because the water comes into contact with almost every part of the machine
  • for example, some compounds found in hard water are sticky and seek out specific compounds in the coffee grounds impeding the brewing process
  • the more minerals the water contains (or the harder the water), the more damaging the water can be to the brewing equipment
  • minerals cause scale buildup (or coat) the inner workings (pumps, boilers, and valves) of the brewing machine, causing corrosion, leaks, and ultimately, the destruction of the machine.

If too many minerals in hard water damage the brewing system, why not use soft or distilled water? The answer to this question is why balancing the water selection is so important. The right balance of minerals in the water improves the taste of a Auburn cup of coffee.

To understand how hard and soft water changes the taste of coffee, consider the following:

  • minerals found in water carry coffee’s body and aroma to the palate.
  • a high mineral content contributes to a decrease in the quality of coffee
    • too much alkalinity in the water can cause a soapy taste or residue in the brewed coffee
    • water that is too hard can give a bitter or chalky taste to the coffee
    • very little mineral content is also a problem at it causes strange extractions and off-flavors
  • soft water can create a bland cup of coffee   

Office Coffee Service in Auburn

If Auburn individuals are interested in monitoring the water that goes into their coffee, the following table from the Specialty Coffee Association lists the acceptable characteristics for the best brewing water.

Characteristic Target Acceptable Range
Odor 1 Clean/Fresh, Odor free n/a
Color 2 Clear color n/a
Total Chlorine 0 mg/L n/a
TDS 3 150 mg/L 75 – 250 mg/L
Calcium Hardness 4 grains or 68 mg/L 1-5 grains or 17 mg/L – 85 mg/L
Total Alkalinity 40 mg/L At or near 40 mg/L
pH 7.0 (neutral) 6.5 – 7.5
Sodium 10 mg/L At or near 10 mg/L

Specialty Coffee Association’s Water for Brewing Standards Table

However, not everyone has the time or desire to check the mineral content and quality of their water. When that’s the case, consider one of the following options:

  • Reconsider your source for coffee beans
    • a local roaster will likely test their beans with local water increasing the likelihood of your Auburn employees brewing great tasting coffee.
    • nationally recognized brands often use pure water, which can be found almost everywhere, to test their coffee beans as they strive to create a consistent flavor nationwide.
  • Use water that tastes good on its own; if it tastes and smells good and is clean straight from the tap, the end result will likely be tasty.
  • Avoid pure distilled or reverse osmosis water for coffee brewing. While they are often recommended, they are too pure to brew coffee and will leave a lot of flavor behind.
  • Consider installing a water filtration system in your office break room; employees can relax knowing they don’t have to worry about the water quality and Auburn employers will know the chemical makeup of the water running through their coffee brewers.

Whether your Auburn organization is looking for a new office coffee service or just wants to update the office break room, Automatic Food Service can help. We offer a wide variety of customizable vending solutions including micro-markets and healthy vending. To take the first step, call us at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.