Office Coffee Service in Alexandria, VA

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

Office Coffee Service in Alexandria, VA

Making great coffee while protecting the brewing equipment requires Alexandria, VA 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 beans 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 an Alexandria, VA cup of coffee.

Office Coffee Service in Alexandria, VA

To understand how hard and soft water changes the taste, 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
    • 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
    • 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   

If Alexandria, VA individuals are interested in monitoring the water that goes into their coffee, the following table from the Specialty Coffee Association’s Water for Brewing Standards 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

However, not everyone has the time or desire to check the mineral content and quality of their water. When that’s the case, there are several options to explore. The first is to reconsider your source for coffee beans. A local roaster will likely test their beans with local water increasing the likelihood that your Alexandria, VA employees will brew great tasting coffee. On the other hand, nationally recognized brands often use pure water, which can be found almost everywhere, to test their beans as they strive to create a consistent flavor nationwide. A second option is to use water that tastes good on its own. If water tastes and smells good and is clean straight from the tap, the end result will likely be tasty.

As a side note—avoid pure distilled or reverse osmosis water. While they are often recommended, they are too pure to brew coffee and will leave a lot of flavor behind. A better option is to 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 Alexandria, VA employers will know the chemical makeup of the water running through their coffee brewers.

Whether your Alexandria, VA organization is looking for a new office coffee service or just wants to update the office break room, SunDun Office Refreshments can help. We offer a wide variety of customizable vending solutions including healthy vending. To take the first step, call us at 800.466.2731. We look forward to hearing from you.

Office Coffee Service in Fairfax, VA

Fairfax, VA’s Evolving Office Coffee Service

Office Coffee Service in Fairfax, VA

 

Have you ever considered what the workday would be like without coffee service? No? Well, neither have I. And Fairfax, VA employers don’t want to see that happen either.

According to a recent report by Emily Refermat, Editor at Automatic Merchandiser, “employers are taking it [coffee] to the next level, spending money to bring in quality coffee, beverages and other refreshment. Due to an increasing number of options, including single-cup brewers, OCS [Office Coffee Service] providers are able to create a solution tailored to their customers wants, size and budget, while still keeping good margins.”

There is, however, one important factor to consider when determining the best possible solution—don’t treat coffee like it is a commodity.  

Beans

A coffee bean is actually a seed from the coffee tree. The two types of coffee species that are used for coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica represents 70 percent of the world’s coffee and Robusta represents the other 30 percent. Of the two types, Arabica is the more expensive one and is used in specialty coffees. Arabica grows at higher altitudes on steeper terrain at cooler temperatures and is more disease-prone. Robusta is primarily used in coffee blends and instant coffee. A hardier tree, the Robusta is more resistant to diseases, can withstand warmer temperatures and is grown at lower and more accessible altitudes.  

For Fairfax, VA’s  office coffee service, there are several different types of suppliers:

  • locally roasted coffee: the brand is known to local consumers; 31.1 percent of OCS sales
  • national coffee brands – value: the beans are sourced from different locations, and are mixed, processed, roasted, and ground on a large scale; 28.3 percent of OCS sales
  • national coffee brands – specialty: the beans are from a single location, grown to produce a higher quality bean, and roasted on a smaller scale; 21 percent of OCS sales
  • espresso coffee – a concentrated form of coffee made by forcing pressurized, hot water through very finely ground coffee beans; 8.9 percent of OCS sales

Office Coffee Service in Fairfax, VA

Packaging & Brewers

Options for packaging and brewing can be just as varied as the different types of coffee. In an office coffee service, coffee is packaged using several different methods: frac pack (enclosed filters filled with pre-measured amounts of coffee), whole bean, single cup (non k-cup), and k-cup. While the packaging can dictate the type of brewer required—single-cup packaging requires a single-cup machine, for example—often the two are separate decisions.

Today, pour-over coffee brewers and automatic brewers continue to play an important role in many Fairfax, VA break rooms. Single-cup brewers, however, are slowly finding their own place. Emily Refermat wrote that “consumers love the idea of brewing coffee one cup at a time. Whether it is the novelty, the ability to brew a personal hot beverage choice, create an espresso-based drink conveniently at work or the newest, must-have OCS innovation, single-cup attracts consumers, despite the fact that it costs more per cup.”

An alternative to the single-cup brewer, and a potentially a less expensive option, is the bean-to-cup brewer. When a/an Fairfax, VA employee orders a drink, the appropriate amount of whole beans is dropped into the grinder, ground, and brewed to the drink’s specifications. It’s a gourmet coffee shop and single-cup brewer all rolled into one.

Offering coffee service in your office break room is a great benefit for future and current employees, but don’t forget about other popular Fairfax, VA employee benefits. Water filtration services and healthy vending machine choices are popular additions. For more information about adding or updating any of these options, call SunDun Office Refreshments at 800.466.2731. We look forward to hearing from you.

Office Coffee Service in Rockville, MD

A New Coffee Service Benefit for Rockville, MD Employees

Office Coffee Service in Rockville, MD

Enjoying coffee and tea from the office coffee service may provide Rockville, MD employees with additional health benefits. Scientists from Boston Children’s Hospital recently found that consuming caffeine may help decrease pain sensitivity in those with chronic pain. The consumed caffeine caused dopamine, a carrier of messages between nerve cells in the brain, to flood the brain’s pleasure center resulting in decreased pain sensitivity, a huge benefit for chronic pain suffers.

Healthy levels of dopamine help regulate emotions, cognition, food intake, and the endocrine system. Chronic pain, on the other hand, often causes endocrine, cardiovascular, immune, neurological, and musculo-skeletal system problems resulting in decreased immune health, spikes in blood pressure, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, and disruptions of daily activities. It appears that caffeine causes a boost in dopamine which works against some of the negative effects of chronic pain.

This new information is great news for the 25.3+ million adults who live with chronic pain. But caffeine has other benefits that can improve workplace productivity too. Caffeine has been known to decrease fatigue, offer short term mental boost, and improve memory. Coffee, tea, and chocolate are a few of the more familiar sources of caffeine. The different levels of caffeine in caffeinated beverages is a result of different places of origin, varying processing and preparation methods (including brewing time), and the amount of milk or cream added.

Office Coffee Service in Rockville, MD

Typical levels of caffeine in tea and coffee include:

  • Coffee: 8 fl oz. mug includes 95 mg to 165 mg
  • Espresso: 1 fl oz. shot includes 47 mg to 64 mg
  • Black Tea: 8 fl oz. mug includes 25 mg to 48 mg
  • Green Tea: 8 fl oz. mug includes 25 mg to 29 mg
  • Ready-to-Drink Bottled Tea: 8 fl oz. bottle includes 5 mg to 40 mg

If coffee and tea have too much caffeine or are too acidic for your Rockville, MD employee, enjoying a bar of dark chocolate or a mug of hot cocoa from the office break room is another option. Both dark chocolate and hot cocoa have less caffeine than the traditional office coffee service choices.

Typical levels of caffeine in chocolate include:

  • Hot Cocoa: 8 fl oz. mug includes 9 mg
  • Dark Chocolate: 3.5 oz. bar with 70% to 80% cocoa includes 80mg
  • Dark Chocolate: 3.5 oz. bar with 50% to 69% cocoa includes 70mg
  • Milk Chocolate: 3.5 oz. bar includes 20 mg

Consider offering all of your Rockville, MD employees the chance to enjoy a caffeine pick-me-up while at work. Whether enjoying coffee or tea from the office coffee service or a bar of dark chocolate from the vending machine, there is an option for everyone. For more information about adding coffee service or updating your vending machine options, call SunDun Office Refreshments at 800.466.2731.

Caffeine Snacks and Beverages in Gaithersburg, MD

Gaithersburg, MD Employees Enjoy Caffeine’s Benefits

Caffeine Snacks and Beverages in Gaithersburg, MD

Maintaining recommended fitness levels is a challenge for many individuals, but there is new research about caffeine that might make it just a bit easier to accomplish. Recent research from the University of São Paulo in Brazil found a link between caffeine consumption and more effective workouts. In the study, the participants’ cycling speed was recorded after the cyclist burned 450 calories. The first time after taking a caffeine pill, the second time after taking a placebo, and the third time after taking nothing. The average cycling speed after consuming the caffeine pill was 3.3 percent faster than when compared to taking nothing. That is a substantial boost.   

Benefits

But caffeine offers more benefits to Gaithersburg, MD individuals who consume it than just improving one’s workout performance. If you ask, most individuals know that it decreases fatigue first thing in the morning as well as during the mid-afternoon slump. Less familiar may be the idea that caffeine has been found to provide a mental boost for 45 minutes after consuming it and improved memory over the next 24 hours. Gaithersburg, MD employee’s reaction time, and concentration also increases. Each of these benefits on their own are good for employee productivity, but when combined, they could be great.  

Caffeine has also been found to play a role in preventing a number of health conditions including type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, as well as reduce the risk of liver cancer and mouth and throat cancers.

Caffeine Snacks and Beverages in Gaithersburg, MDSources

To get the most benefit, it is best to consume snacks and beverages with naturally occurring caffeine. “Added” caffeine does not contain the powerful antioxidants and vitamins that are found in the naturally occurring form causing its boost to be a sudden jolt up and a fast crash down. Some of the 60 plant species that contain the naturally occurring form include cocoa beans, kola nuts, tea leaves, coffee beans, yerba maté, guarana berries, guayusa, and the yaupon holly. Chocolate, tea, and coffee are three of the more popular forms of naturally occurring caffeine in Gaithersburg, MD, and each one contains different beneficial antioxidants.

  • Chocolate: flavonoids, procyanidins, epicatechin, cocoa phenols
  • Tea: epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin
  • Coffee: chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and melanoidins

Which one is your favorite type—chocolate, tea or coffee? Offering all three of them in your Gaithersburg, MD office break room is a cost-effective way to help your employees relax and  at the same time, boost their productivity. For more information about different vending machine options, call SunDun Office Refreshments at 800.466.2731. We can help you determine the best caffeinated options for your employees.

Coffee Service in Alexandria, VA

Alexandria, VA, How Do You Drink Your Coffee?

Coffee Service in Alexandria, VA

Did you know that the majority of U.S. coffee drinkers do not drink their coffee black? According to the most recent National Coffee Association’s National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) report, 68 percent of coffee drinkers add some type of non-dairy or dairy product to their coffee, and about 50 percent add a sweetener. Other trends that the researchers found include:  

  • Dairy and Non-Dairy Additives
    • 35% of coffee drinkers add a non-dairy creamer (or coffee whitener, as it is known in some regions)
    • 14% of coffee drinkers use half-and-half
    • 13% of coffee drinkers prefer whole milk
    • 5% of coffee drinkers enjoy a non-dairy milk alternative
  • Coffee Flavoring Preferences
    • 21% of coffee drinkers prefer the flavor to be in a powder or liquid creamer
    • 5% of coffee drinkers would rather add the flavoring by itself
  • Demand for “clean label” creamers or creamers made from natural ingredients including plant-based creamers has surpassed demand for “traditional” flavored creamers
  • Increased Demand for Sweeteners
    • 38% of coffee drinkers use sugar
    • 12% of coffee drinkers prefer artificial sweeteners

With an increase in the type and number of potential options that can be used to change the flavor or sweetness of a cup of black coffee, it is important to take the time to understand your employees’ preferences. If their preferences aren’t available, they are likely to go offsite to find that “perfect” cup of coffee.  

Coffee Service in Alexandria, VAOffering cafe-style coffee service in the office break room is a cost-effective way to help encourage Alexandria, VA employees to stay onsite when they want a cup of coffee. To make sure everyone is able to customize their coffee, consider offering a mixture of the following products in the office break room:

  • non-dairy creamer (or coffee whitener): a plain or flavored liquid or granular substance added to coffee, tea or hot chocolate
  • half-and-half: contains equal parts of whole milk and light cream, and has 10 to 12 percent fat content (more fat than milk, but less fat than cream)
  • milk: cow’s milk that has been fortified with vitamins A and D, and is available as whole milk (~3.5% fat), 2% reduced-fat milk, 1% low-fat milk, and fat-free or skim milk
  • non-dairy “milk” options: almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, etc.
  • sugar: granulated or “regular” sugar, cane sugar, organic sugar, etc.
  • artificial sweeteners: aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, etc.

Which items do your Alexandria, VA employees request the most? Are they available? Whether your current coffee service needs a tune-up or you want to create the ultimate break room by adding cafe-style coffee service, SunDun Office Refreshments can help. For more information, contact us at 800.466.2731.

Coffee in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C., Is Your Coffee Service Up-to-Date?

Coffee in Washington D.C.

Have you noticed that coffee has had a makeover? Kyra Auffermann, National Coffee Association communications and content manager, described it best when she wrote,

“Coffee” used to be associated with a traditional percolated brew, consumed at home at the breakfast table. Now the perception of coffee has expanded to include an afternoon nitro cold brew while working at a café, or a bottle from a vending machine in the train station after work.

And the makeover has definitely had a positive impact. 62 percent of Americans now drink coffee on a daily basis—up from 57 percent in 2016. How that coffee is prepared at home, and the types of coffee consumers drink have also changed.   

Single-Cup Brewing

The introduction of single-cup brewing systems has impacted how consumers prepare their coffee at home and at work. Not only have single-cup brewing systems had a 500 percent growth rate since 2012 but 33 percent of U.S. households now own one. The flexibility of the single-cup brewing system takes into account individual preferences when compared to traditional drip brewers and allows users to enjoy all types of coffee as well as tea and hot cocoa; a bonus at any Washington D.C. workplace.

Gourmet Coffee

The classification, gourmet coffee, covers many different types of coffee beverages and represents 59 percent of coffee consumed daily; a 13 percent increase since 2012. Gourmet coffee offers consumers a way to experience new flavors and preparation methods. While there isn’t a specific definition for gourmet coffee, for a beverage to be called gourmet coffee, it must meet several criteria. Gourmet coffee…

  • is “specialty coffee” consumed any time of the day
  • is often not made at home
  • must meet a higher level of quality
  • is more expensive than traditional coffee as consumers are willing to pay more for better drinks
  • includes non-espresso based beverages such as cold brew, nitro coffee, and frozen blended coffee

Coffee in Washington D.C.

And it’s not just one segment of the population that is requesting gourmet coffee beverages. In fact, individuals between 40 and 59 years of age had a 16 percent increase in daily consumption followed by 10 percent for those 60+ and 9 percent for 25 to 39-year-olds. With the increase in coffee consumption at all times of the day, it isn’t surprising that research has found that coffee service at work is a benefit that Washington D.C. employees value.

Does your coffee service match what your employees are looking for—individual gourmet choices? We can help you meet those needs by developing a plan for new coffee service or upgrading your current break room. Contact SunDun Office Refreshments at 800.466.2731 to make the next step.

Coffee in Columbia, MD

Benefits for Columbia, MD Coffee Drinkers

Coffee in Columbia, MD

Coffee seems to be transforming its reputation. It’s no longer seen as the harmful beverage it once was. Just this year, the International Journal of Cancer published the results of a study examining “the effect of Italian-style coffee consumption on prostate cancer risk” in almost 7,000 men in the Molise region of Italy (Pounis, et al., 2017, p. 72). The researchers determined that the men who consumed more than three cups of Italian-style coffee per day had a 53 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer than those who drank zero to two cups per day. That is great news!

But, wait a minute—what is Italian-style coffee? Is it the same as American coffee? Turns out, it isn’t. Italian-style coffee is prepared in high-pressure hot water (over 1600 degrees Fahrenheit) without using filters. Most Columbia, MD employees know it as espresso, not coffee.

This isn’t to say that coffee doesn’t have any health benefits. In fact, the results of two studies that were published in 2016 show that coffee does more than offer an energy boost and decrease the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. The International Agency for Research on Cancer determined, after reviewing 1000 previously completed studies, that coffee cannot be classified as a cause of cancer anymore. At the same time, a different group of researchers was performing a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between coffee and different cancer types. They found that coffee intake was associated with reduced risk of oral, pharynx, liver, colon, prostate, endometrial cancer, and melanoma. More good news.

Coffee in Columbia, MD

There is one concern, however, that researchers discovered while studying coffee. Drinking hot or very hot beverages, whether coffee, tea, or something else, can contribute to an increased risk of esophageal cancer or cancer of the esophagus when compared to lower temperature beverages. To help avoid that, remember to give your coffee a few minutes to cool before drinking it. Columbia, MD consumers also have a variety of cold beverages such as iced tea or water to choose from if they are looking for something at a lower temperature.

With such a variety of benefits and coffee’s improved reputation, it’s time to consider either updating your current Columbia, MD office coffee service or offering a new benefit to your employees—the gourmet coffeehouse experience in your break room. Uniquely sourced and locally roasted beans are the foundation for a great cup of coffee and a relaxing mid-afternoon break. To learn more, contact SunDun Office Refreshments at 800.466.2731 for more information.

Reference:

Pounis, G., Tabolacci, C., Costanzo, S., Cordella, M., Bonaccio, M., Rago, L., D’Arcangelo, D., Castelnuovo, A. F., Gaetano, G., Donati, M. B., Iacoviello, L., & Facchiano, F. (2017). Reduction by coffee consumption of prostate cancer risk: Evidence from the Moli-sani cohort and cellular models. International Journal of Cancer, 141(1), 72–82.    DOI: 10.1002/ijc.30720

Hot Tea in Washington D.C.

A Drink So Popular in Washington D.C., It Has Its Own Month

Hot Tea in Washington D.C.

January, a time of new beginnings, health awareness, and goal setting, is also National Hot Tea Month. According to the Tea Association of the U.S.A., drinking hot tea can increase blood flow for improved cardiovascular health, provide antioxidants for cancer risk reduction, and boost energy expenditure which may help combat obesity. It appears that in a month when the world focuses healthier choices, drinking more tea may be a small change that can make a big health difference.

In addition to its health benefits, tea also has a rich history, diverse flavors, and soothing qualities. It should be no surprise that in America, the third largest tea importer in the world and the only western nation with increasing consumption, approximately four out of five consumers drink tea.

Here are a few more interesting numbers and facts from vendingmarketwatch.com:

  • Millennials are making more than coffee “hipster” cool. Their love of tea has triggered an overall increase in Additionally, while older consumers think of tea drinkers as older, female, and soft-spoken, Millennials associate tea drinkers with younger, predominately male, and loud individuals.
  • The most popular additions to tea are sugar (46%), honey (40%), and milk (26%).
  • In the same way that coffee drinkers identify with their hot beverage, it appears that tea drinkers do as well. Green tea drinkers are likely to describe themselves as creative, adventurous, spontaneous, and bold, whereas black tea drinkers are more likely to describe themselves as creative, confident, peaceful, and intellectual.

What does this mean for your Washington D.C. office beverage service? Consider the following options:

  • To create a full menu, we highly suggest offering a variety of qualityHot Tea in Washington D.C. teas. Historically, coffee has been the star of the office, but as trends change, your break room menu should too. Consider offering at least one green, one black, and two to three herbal teas to meet the tastes of everyone in the office.
  • If you are a heavy coffee drinker, consider starting each day with a cup of green tea before your first cup of coffee. It can be a gentler way to start your day, and you will reap some extra health benefits.
  • For your office break room menu, think about adding honey packets or bears and organic milk to sweeten your tea program.

As drinking hot tea grows in popularity, it is important to modify your Washington D.C. break room options to meet the demand. Not only will your employees enjoy the benefits of drinking their favorite hot beverage, but they will also be more likely to turn to their healthy break room for snacks and beverages. For more information on improving your office coffee and tea service call SunDun Office Refreshments today at 800.466.2731.