Back to Basics: The Coffee Essentials

We can talk all day about the importance of goals and objectives and strategy when it comes to your event, and all of these things are tremendously important.  However, before your attendees can know, do, or feel any of the things you want them to know, do, or feel, you must provide them with the one essential, vitally important, cannot-do-without tool … their coffee.

We’re not kidding.

You can put on the most flawless, most strategic, most goal-oriented event, but if you don’t give your people coffee, that is the only thing they will remember.

So, how do you know how much coffee to give them?  Well, just keep it flowing all day, right?

WRONG! At $100 per gallon, you’ve got to get strategic when it comes to coffee!

A Gallon of Coffee is $100?

Yes, at many venues a gallon of coffee can cost as much as $100 (makes $4 per gallon gas seem like a great deal, right?).  If coffee is not included with your morning meal or break menu and you need to order it a la carte, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Men will drink more regular coffee and women tend to drink more decaf coffee.  If you have a mixed audience, we typically recommend ordering regular coffee for 60% of your audience and decaf coffee for 25% of your audience.
  • Don’t forget the tea drinkers too – we usually assume about 10% will drink tea.
  • Some people will shy away from the hot beverages and want cold water or soda in the morning.  You’ll have to decide if providing soda options in the morning is the right call for your audience.

To figure out how much coffee you need, start out by remembering that a typical gallon of coffee will have 20 cups.  Let’s say we have a mixed audience of 250 people:

  • 250 x 60% who will drink regular coffee = 150 cups = 7.5 gallons of regular coffee, which you will round up to 8 gallons.
  • 250 x 25% who will drink decaf coffee = 62.5 cups = 3.125 gallons of decaf coffee, which we would round down to 3 gallons (at $100 per gallon, it’s crazy to order a whole gallon when we only need .125 … we’ll just make do without it!)
  • 250 x 10% who will drink tea = 25 cups = 1.25 gallons of tea.  We might also round this down to 1 gallon … again, at $100 per gallon, it’s crazy to order a whole gallon (of hot water!!!) when we only need .25 … if we need more, we’ll grab a few tea bags out of our emergency stash and find some hot water!

Coffee in the Afternoon? Not as Critical, But Still $100 / Gallon!

The percentage of coffee drinkers drops as the day goes on, so for an afternoon break, we typically drop the coffee percentages in half and increase the amount of water and soda served.  For our same 250 people, we’d figure about 30% will drink regular coffee, 20% will drink decaf, and the same 10% for tea so we would order 4 gallons of regular coffee, 2 gallons of decaf, 1 gallon of tea.  But, in the afternoon, you also have to factor in that many of those hot beverage drinkers will also want a cold water or soda so you will have some beverage overlap for your afternoon breaks. 

Never thought you’d get this calculating when talking about coffee, right? Well, when it can be $100 per gallon, your budget demands that you do the math when it comes to coffee.  Just make sure you’ve had your coffee first!

Image courtesy of lockstockb