It was only a matter of time until we started to see articles like this one in the Australian Daily Telegraph about businesses adding espresso bars to their offices to cut back on employee “cappuccino runs.”

Coffee runs have become the new smoko and businesses have become so fed up with workers leaving their desks in search of a caffeine fix that many are now paying for professional coffee machines to be installed on-site.

The article itself is interesting and intent of the companies featured well-meaning; however, they’re making a big mistake. The $6,000 “machine” emphasized in the article is only one component of a larger system necessary for employees to receive beverages at a quality standard to which they have become accustomed.

There are a number of factors that directly impact the quality of specialty coffee beverages served which may go undetected to the novice that foolishly assumes that the “machine” does all of the heavy lifting.

When businesses take the time to invest in water treatment, a fresh coffee and dairy supply, and most importantly training for the staff to operate and maintain the machinery properly (yes, even the super-automatic ones), they may find that it is not practical to maintain a fully functional coffee bar for an office of less than 20 people.

My solution for the small office concerned about staff spending too much time in line for coffee? More interns.