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My department recently tried to start a coffee 'club'. The admin bought a Keurig coffee maker, it came with some sample K cups, and she put up a sign saying everyone should bring in K cups for everyone to use. It was supposed to be an informal system with no record keeping or money collecting. Not a huge surprise, everyone drank the free samples and no one has volunteered to donate coffee to the office. The Keuring is now purely decorative in the break room.

Does anyone know of a simple effective way to run a coffee club?

Update: I should probably mention that this a large department(75+ people).

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I have a coffee machine that uses "pods" and we have an honesty box for the cost of each pod. This may not be able to be done in other workplaces as we have a company culture that makes honesty boxes less of a risk, there is over £20 in the honesty box at times.

  • Do you have a suggested donation per cup or do you just let people decided what to donate? – ErinGoBragh Oct 26 '16 at 14:33
  • Its not called a "donation" it is the cost of the pod (or snacks when we have a tuck shop too) and it is not worded in a way that makes it seem optional "coffee pods 40p" (40p = £0.40 = $0.50) – Topher Brink Oct 26 '16 at 14:36
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If someone wants to make coffee, they use their own K cup.

They can keep a box of their favorite in their desk or bring in a K cup in their pocket every day. If they forget to bring one in, they can ask a friend to sell them one.

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I ran one in my last office but went with a pay to drink system. When there is a requirement of bring your own to share with everyone mentality, it usually doesn't succeed because others start to become aware of who isn't contributing.

My suggestion to you would be to require people to pay. Figure out:

  • how many people will be part of it
  • how much people drink
  • how many K-cups are needed to sustain the need
  • track in a spreadsheet that can be viewed be everyone
  • require payment by XXXX date

When people realize how much they will be saving, it usually goes quite well. I charged $5 a month for each person (about eight people). The cost of going to a chain at about $3-$4 a cup adds up.

  • That does sound effective...although I'm not sure it would be simple. It sounds easy enough for a small group (you mentioned it working well for 8 people), but this is a larger group. Keeping track of getting money from 75+ people each month would be challenging. – ErinGoBragh Oct 26 '16 at 14:04
  • Are all 75 people willing to join? Or is that just how large the office is? – Flat Banana Oct 26 '16 at 14:11
  • The office is a couple thousand people. There are about 75 people assigned to this break room. I'm not sure if everyone drinks coffee. – ErinGoBragh Oct 26 '16 at 14:14
  • I would assume that half wont do it, not everyone drinks coffee and not everyone wants to be involved in it. Its almost like when you have a candy jar out in an office, the "owner" puts a sign up donations welcome. 10 people take candy but usually theres only one that actually donates. This is usually how a coffee club works as well, without some sort of accountability (money) it won't work. – Flat Banana Oct 26 '16 at 14:21
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In the next department to ours there is a Cafe X (X is the nickname of a guy who founded it and then later died of cancer). It has been going for 30 years. There are two machines. People put marks on a list when they take a cup. They are expected to refill machines when empty and so on. In general this works fine - people do restart the machines, they do mark the list. Cafe X never makes a loss, and if they make a profit they reduce the price for a while. Since X died other people take turns to do the shopping and keep the kitty.

Maybe it works so well because they still remember X, who was a really nice guy, and everyone knows they don't make a profit.

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