One of the first things many people reach for in the morning, whether at home or work, is their coffee. When up bright and early for an event, that first cup is a must to get awake and focused for the day’s events, as well as additional cups throughout the day to keep things moving. But some planners struggle to incorporate coffee into the agenda. Where do you set up the coffee pots? How much coffee should you plan for? Will it become a distraction?
It’s pretty fair to say that having too much can distract from your event. But you also want to make attendees happy. The best way is to plan coffee breaks in the schedule. You should already be breaking up your meetings and sessions anyway. Make a clear time for guests to head over to the dining room or coffee bar to fill up their cup.
Location, location, location. Put your coffee bar somewhere that is easily accessible but doesn’t get in the way. It may seem like the entrance is the obvious place, but no. Too much congestion happens by the front door already, and the coffee station is only going to make it worse. Along the side or back of the room with plenty of space for people to line up and get their coffee is ideal. Make sure to put up some signage so that guests can plainly see where to get their drink.
Keep it stocked. This may mean putting someone solely in charge of the coffee, making sure the pots are both hot and full. About every hour and a half of serving, you should switch out to a fresh pot to ensure hot, tasty coffee. You could also do a self-serve station with a couple of Keurigs. Put out bowls for the different K-cups and make sure all of the flavors stay supplied. Make sure you also have plenty of mix-ins like cream and sugar.
If you want to go all out, hire a company that caters coffee. Trust me, it’s a thing. Professional baristas can come to your event to make specialized drinks for your guests. A benefit to this is that they can run everything and worry about amounts, so that you can focus on the rest of your event.
Speaking of amounts, how much coffee should you plan for? Unfortunately, there is no specific number, as everyone is different. Some prefer tea or water, or some may not drink anything. It also depends on how early and long your sessions go. According to Cvent, planners should assume 60% of guests will have at least one cup in the morning and 40% will have one in the afternoon.
Why go through all this trouble for a beverage? A study by the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that groups were more engaged and productive when drinking coffee together during a meeting. Participants in the experiment that drank caffeinated coffee before a meeting reported a more positive attitude toward their group members, as well as a higher alertness.
So, in the name of science, pour me a cup of Joe.