Is yours a free coffee organisation?

coffee machine on free vend

What kind of employee experience do you have? A good customer experience is going to be an extension of a good employee experience. If I feel good about my employer, I am more likely to be a brand ambassador for them. So how do you improve my employee experience? Well there’s all the usual stuff, benefits and bonusses, but the little things are just important. Like the coffee machine.

There seem to be six different approaches to enterprise coffee:

1. Vending machine that serves [quality] coffee on free vend.

2. Kettle and filter coffee / Cafetiere to make my own.

These two make me feel good about the organisation

3. Kettle. I buy my own instant coffee. Usually associated with SMEs rather than corporates.

Not so good. but better than…

4. Vending machine that serves [quality] coffee that I have to pay for.

I have never seen this. Organisations who know coffee don’t charge their people for it.  These vending machines are always on free vend.  As in above photo.

5. Vending machine that serves [tasteless] cofee that I insert coins into.

6. Vending machine that serves [tasteless] coffee that I insert a vending card into.

This final one insults me as an employee. I’ve got to “charge” my card up. I’ve got to get a card. My coffee consumption can be tracked. More often than not the same machine serves water (because these organisations don’t have water coolers). And the water tastes like tea that tastes like soup that tastes like hot chocolate that tastes like every other concetrated liquid that is squirted into a brown plastic cup.
How much more can it cost to offer free coffee? How much are you saving by doing so? Because tasteless vending machine coffee is a sure way to send your staff out of the office on regular errands to Starbucks.


  1. Kerry Buckley - Random musings on life, work and software development. » Rating a company by its coffee provision · Monday, 22 January, 2007

    […] Rating a company by its coffee provision By Kerry Marc McNeill makes some interesting observations on how you can judge a company by the coffee facilities it provides its employees. He lists, in order of decreasing clue: […]

  2. Tom Adams · Tuesday, 23 January, 2007

    What about a seventh, companies that supply an espresso machine (automatic or manual) with free beans. All you have to do is make it. I’ve also worked for a company that negotiated a deal with a local cafe.

    I’m not sure where you live, but I’ve never seen a vending machine server “quality” coffee on the two continents I’ve live on 🙂

  3. Tulio · Thursday, 8 February, 2007

    Now if they would do the same for soft drinks. I am not a coffee drinker, but I do need some caffeine.

    Mountain Dew

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