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Thread: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

  1. #1
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    HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,
    sorry for the long story.

    I will say I am still on the coffee learning journey, and I learn a lot from coffeesnob.
    From machine (EM6910), other equipment and home roast (Corretto).
    Lately, I face different issue which relate to coffee as well.

    As a postgraduate student, I stay in the my office in uni most of the time.
    After moving my office to a bigger area which share with my supervisor, other colleague and students, I brought my EM6910 and grinder to uni to enjoy the coffee through the whole day.
    I am happy let others to use my machine if they know what they are doing.
    Home roast bean save people a lot compared to buy coffee from the coffee shop in campus, I love others to chip in the bean I roast.
    At beginning, people through few coins in the jar in the first 2-3 months.(I was asking 50c per double shot which is very close to my cost).

    In the past one month, no one put any money at all, but the bean consumption increase after people realize the quality of my roast is far better than the shop in campus.

    As a poor, no in come, live on scholarship student, I can not offer that lost every day.
    I yet do not have time to chase people to put the money every time when people use the machine.
    I am thinking to increase the request (50c up to 1 dollars?), but I worry its not fair for people really pay the money but the sneaky people wont pay anyway.

    I believe there are huge number of members here have their machine in their office or working place.
    I am looking for a solution not to damage the relationship in the office but not lost my profit either.


    I feel its a lit culture background differentiate myself and others.
    My asian/chinese background is more conservative, especially to my supervisor.(I did not care if my supervisor will pay or not anyway)
    Maybe its better straight forward to others about the money issue?

    Any advice and suggestion is appreciated.

    Colin

  2. #2
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    Give people an inch, theyll take a mile

    One possible solution is to have the office chip in for a bag of beans and coffee machine/grinder, That way, you can still roast for your office buddies, but its not so much a burden on you

    Failing that, Id say start stepping on peoples toes, if they dont give you money, they dont get coffee, Keep the bag in a locked box, and only dole out enough for one shot at a time once they pay you the money. That might keep the bastards honest

  3. #3
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    I think you have been more than generous enough by allowing people to use your coffee machine and grinder. The fact that you supply the beans as well is just ridiculous. Its time to lock out the freeriders. There is no way that i would allow people i dont know to use my machine. They should at least be supplying beans or paying a contribution. What about wear and tear on your gear? Thats not really factored into the price.
    I think the honest people can still appreciate what a great deal it is. I have spent many years at uni drinking overpriced and horrible tasting coffee. $1 is an absolute bargain.

  4. #4
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    When there was a community machine available at a previous workplace, a team manager used to keep the group handle and users needed to pay him to get the group handle. Another manager had access if the first was not at his desk. Of course, this relies on the user then returning the handle and not leaving it in the machine for others to use.

    Laughing@Fates idea of having the office throwing in a bag is good.

    50c a double is exceedingly generous and doesnt cover your costs. When you factor in green bean and roasting costs I would charge no less than $8 for a 250g bag and $15 for a 500g.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pavoniboy's Avatar
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    I agree $1 is an absolute bargain that all should be happy to pay. How to make the sneaky pricks pay at all is more difficult and might require locking away the beans but will become a hassle to you as everyone is constantly bothering you for some beans.

    I want to take my machine to work when I am in a position to do so and have been wondering how to regulate it. I would want to have each person who is going to use the machine demonstrate to me that they know how or take a quick lesson from me on how to use it before they are allowed to use it, but am left worried that idiots who dont know how will come along and try anyway and who knows what they will do to my machine! I would also want to charge $1 to cover costs, but have no foolproof way of making sneaky people actually pay.

    So Ill also be watching this thread with interest for peoples ideas.

  6. #6
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    My options:
    1 hide the portfilter
    2 run a contrabutions paid book
    3 increase charge to $5 week or $20 month
    4 take it home and buy a plunger
    5 label it prominently as "private property - ask first"
    6 any combination of above
    dabbler

  7. #7
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    The first and clearest thing that came into my mind on this was.....

    a) what issue? Simple....take it home (and get a plunger for the office, and hide the coffee) and problem solved.

    Then after reading above I though another useful alternative could be:

    b) hide the group handle AND label the machine prominently as "private property - ask first". In which case, take the cash up front upon handing over the group handle OR, keep a book with a page for each user, where they place an initial next to each time they borrow the group handle. If you are not there, they dont use the machine (as in you are not there to hand over the group handle). Running a book will cause you to chase them for the money each week (and also chase them for the group handle because odds are they will leave it with the machine instead of returning it to you each time. Double the price to $1.00 each, because everytime someone makes a cuppa, someone else will ask them to run one off for them at the same time....

    On second thoughts dont run a book...no cash no group handle its so much easier.


    Failing that.....take it home. You are at work and dont have time to waste on this sort of BS from your work "mates", also if I was the boss I would be asking how much time you are spending doing this while you are on work time.

    No one is going to argue if you take it home, particularly those that have been abusing your hospitality.

    Rgdz,
    Attilio
    very first CS site sponsor, and long time coffee workplace sociologist :D

  8. #8
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    An easy solution for my workplace has always been to convince the boss that the beans should go on the company account ;) I realise thats not always possible though.

    Ive set up lots of "honour" based drinks & chocolates before, I did it for about 6 years at the last workplace of 30 - 40 people. I found after the initial weeks / months, people started to forget to pay, perhaps they just thought "Ill IOU for later" and never rememberd, I dont know. In the end I watched ebay for some $500 vending machines, paid another $500 to ship them, and stocked everything in there with a fixed price. This worked great, and they paid themselves back within a year. Further profits always went to BBQs and social events.

    In my opinion, you need to control a critical stage of the process - either beans or some part of the machine. Controlling a part (like pf) is a problem if youre not always there, so I would suggest controlling the beans - not shot by shot as this is a problem too. How about buying some clip-lock bags, and selling beans in small amounts? That way everyone can buy 2 shots or 10 shots worth of beans from you to make coffee for the day/week, and no-one can use it without first paying.

    I also think $1 is very cheap and well worth it - youre always able to slip in a few extra beans to those who you like!

  9. #9
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    Thanks for everyones reply.
    At beginning, I really worry people will think I am too miserly to share the bean with others.
    Now, it seems like just people around me did not appreciate what they have here.

    The main reason I brought the machine into office, not only because I spend 7am to 6pm in my office.
    I also feel the interaction with other student and colleague is important for science.
    However, scientist does not always think throughly about the money.

    Hiding the portafilter actually is what happen to my friend in another building, but he left the machine in the tearoom/kitchen, its more complex than here.
    My office is not restrict area, but neven a stranger walk in to use the machine.
    Most of the users are friend or colleague.

    I chose 50c as price for per cup, one reason is our school did offer a auto one-buttom coffee machine for 50c per single shot (Saeco royalty?), but the school take care of the maintain and the bean (of course, its supermarket one).
    School will take care of any lost too. I am the one have to take care of my own property.

    I think I will keep the bean (since I did not care too much if people bring their own bean to use), and try to be strong in my voice to tell others to pay.

    Having say that, one of my colleague who consume the coffee a lot did pay me 30 buck per month.
    But he definitely drink more the 3 cups per day and "generously" treat his friend some my coffee (I dont think he treat that part as his consumption)

    I do agree with Fresh_coffee, I am tired of worry this BS when I have to work on my study.

    Thanks everyone opinion, I would like to see what happen to others and I will update my situation too.

    Colin

  10. #10
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    Ha! Dont assume your scientific colleagues dont consider money matters. I worked for 15 years at a university and mixed professionally and socially both during work and out of hours with academic, research and clerical staff and postgrads. Money was ALWAYS an issue especially with such a disparate group, and we succesfully ran a very public payment list/book. Never underestimate social pressure.

    Your "friends" are using you if they know you are footing the bill!

    Its great to show respect to your supervisor but remember your supervisor is PAID to supervise and gets credit for your successful completion. Most supervising staff I worked with would "feed and water" their pgrads and if that happens to you then it is right and proper for you to be generous in return. The most important thing is everyone should know the beans and machine are yours. If they take offence too bad. You and others are spot on - you dont need the BS.* Your thesis is more important than other peoples coffee.

    What are you studying/researching?
    dabbler

  11. #11
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    @dabbler
    I had a laugh, yes, I know the money is still mater for scientist, apply for the grant is always competitive.
    What I mean the money previously is they are happy to pay 5 bucks for the watery coffee but did not put a coin in my jar?
    And they are also making the sweet money than my basic stipend.

    I am studying marine biology in far north QLD.
    GBR is quite a good place to do the marine bio.^^

    And just update what just happened.
    When I mentioned I start to feel I lost money when I almost bring 1 kg bean to uni everyday, but only got few coin in the end.
    One of the friend who drink often, pass me a 20 dollar note.
    He said he may not realize how much coffee he drink, he will try to make sure support my home roasting and wont stop bring the fabulous bean to office.
    Not too bad result, I feel I just need to let people know the few coin IOU thing in a long term may produce a damage on my roasting hobby.
    Maybe make it straight forward is easier for the culture here.



    Quote Originally Posted by 545152525C5542300 link=1323382836/9#9 date=1323397825
    Ha! Dont assume your scientific colleagues dont consider money matters. I worked for 15 years at a university and mixed professionally and socially both during work and out of hours with academic, research and clerical staff and postgrads. Money was ALWAYS an issue especially with such a disparate group, and we succesfully ran a very public payment list/book. Never underestimate social pressure.

    Your "friends" are using you if they know you are footing the bill!

    Its great to show respect to your supervisor but remember your supervisor is PAID to supervise and gets credit for your successful completion. Most supervising staff I worked with would "feed and water" their pgrads and if that happens to you then it is right and proper for you to be generous in return. The most important thing is everyone should know the beans and machine are yours. If they take offence too bad. You and others are spot on - you dont need the BS.* Your thesis is more important than other peoples coffee.

    What are you studying/researching?
    dabbler

  12. #12
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    Hide the beans for a week, when people start to get withdrawal symptons from real coffee they will be so desperate for a fix they will agree to almost anything.... Thats when you lay down the law about payments!

  13. #13
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: HELP!! Deal with coffee sharing issue

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Im afraid that once your machine gets used by more that 3 people that you know very well, it has become a business, and theft from businesses is a factor.

    Sorry for the bad news.

    Greg



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