The Coffee Routine

My daughter had a birthday recently, and one of the things she asked for as a present was a French Press. She loves coffee and is willing to wake up 15 minutes early each day to grind beans and make a nice cup of coffee each morning before high school. This has been a routine for her this past year, one that has generated requests for me to return home from my trips with new coffees for her.

In a chat with Andy Warren recently, he mentioned that his new company has a few different coffee machines, with different choices available for employees. Some simple machines, some French Press, and other ways that employees can get their morning coffee fix. This is a small perk, but one that often goes a long way in the technology world as many developers I know aren’t morning people. They appreciate getting coffee provided by their workplace.

This is in contrast to the situations I encountered early in my career. Back then there was no Starbucks available during my commutes, in fact, with few choices for coffee shops. I started in a large company where each department was in charge of their own coffee. We pooled money together to buy a cheap Mr. Coffee (replacing it ever year or so) and each of us contributed to fund to buy a large tin of Maxwell House every few weeks. I’m sure quite a few of you couldn’t imagine that scenario: cheap, bad coffee every day. In other companies, the same Mr. Coffee was provided, along with the buckets of ground coffee. After a decade and a half in this business, I finally worked at a company where we had a better machine.

I was thinking about this on my recent trip to the Redgate office( after a quick stop in Copenhagen where I was instructed to be sure to get a bag of coffee for my daughter). The Redgate coffee machines (4 of them) are all located on the ground floor, in the atrium. This means that anyone wanting a cup gets to leave their desk, or make a trip before a meeting, to the open area. Lots of conversations start here, and certainly there are interactions between departments that might not otherwise occur. Plus, we have great machines, as you can see in my video.

Despite the hassles, I visit the machines a bit too often while I’m there. At least 4 or 5 times a day, which means it’s probably good I’m not in the office full time. Now if I could only get them to put soy milk in one of the machines…

Steve Jones

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