Coffee has changed a lot in the past 25 years or so. Now more than ever, people are inquiring more and more about their favorite brew, including where it was grown and the processing method it went through. Small local cafes are popping up around the world, especially in large cities, and the quality of coffee has gone up substantially, because it’s what the consumer demands. Coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity, with oil taking first place. The coffee industry is much larger than many would think, with farms and roasteries scattered across the globe in just about any location someone can point to on a map.
Back in the days when vacuum sealing was first being used to keep coffee beans fresh during transportation, around the 1910’s, people did not really care where their coffee came from, or the quality of it. The most important thing was that they had coffee. Jumping to more recent years, the specialty coffee market has grown substantially, with people buying coffee based on the region it was grown, using more obscure brewing methods, and even drinking coffee black to taste it better. This is often referred to as the “third wave” of coffee, symbolizing the rise of a pickier coffee culture.
With this explosion of people who aren’t settling for generic supermarket coffee, some industries are still stuck in the past – such as resorts and hotels offering low quality and cheap coffee to guests. When was the last time you heard someone say the coffee at their hotel tasted good? Likely never. Hotel chains typically buy cheap coffee, mainly because it is inexpensive, and they don’t see it as the luxury commodity that it is. As a person who pretty much always starts their day off with a cup of coffee, I know it’s important, especially with the added stress of traveling, to start the day off right with a quality cup of coffee.
The majority of hotels purchase off-branded coffee that is usually close to its expiration date, meaning it was sitting a warehouse for a long time and was sold at auction for an extremely cheap price just to make room in the warehouse. Even the brewed coffee that is served with breakfast is usually bitter and tasteless, or even stale. As a guest, I would rather pay a couple extra dollars per night to be guaranteed fresh and quality coffee in the mornings, especially when I’m far from my French press.
A hotel that offers great coffee could benefit greatly from, at the very least, having a name brand coffee showcased. More luxury chain should be hiring a barista with an espresso machine on weekend mornings to offer guests expertly crafted lattes. Imagine as a hotel owner, to be complimented on the coffee you serve and offer to your guests – it would make your hotel seemingly one of a kind, enticing guests to come back time and again. Specialty coffee is slowly starting to dominate the industry, and any hotel that stays stuck in the era of cheap and old coffee will suffer.
Going with the flow is never an option in the hospitality industry, at least not if your goal is excellency. Remember, small things make the difference in your guests experience. Offering a great cup of coffee is nothing short of attention to detail, which will be appreciated in a very positive way.