It’s All Downhill from Bad Coffee


Bad Coffee


In my humble opinion, good coffee is an integral part of the guest experience. More than half of U.S. adults drink coffee every morning, and the majority of them say they are not themselves without it.

Most hotels have coffee pots available to guests in-room, which is fantastic for those (including myself) who would rather not face a lobby full of people before their morning coffee. I only remember one hotel stay that did not offer this amenity, but there was a very excellent selection provided right outside the elevator each morning. The better quality made up for having to leave my room to obtain it.

My point here is, at the very least, to provide decent coffee for your guests along with an easy way for them to get it. On my recent trip with my kids, I woke up each morning at least two hours before they did. My philosophy is to never wake a sleeping child (they are easier to keep an eye on that way), so I was happy to see that I would be able to brew a couple cups of coffee in the room without disturbing anyone. I was much less happy with the coffee.

Let me be clear. It wasn’t that the coffee wasn’t great, which I could have handled. It was awful. I’d put it in the top five most disgusting things I’ve ever tasted. Everything about it was bad, from the coffee itself to the powdered creamer that only enhanced the bad flavor, to the Styrofoam cup provided with it. To make matters worse, the nearest cup of real coffee was at the hotel diner – located in a different building.

In this case, it probably would have been better for the hotel to offer no coffee at all, but I think the following suggestions would go a long way to improving the guest experience.

  • Be sure that coffee pots are cleaned regularly, and the water provided for them is drinking quality.
  • If you’re a coffee drinker, taste the coffee yourself. Otherwise, enlist a staff member to taste the in-room coffee on a monthly basis.
  • If you can provide non-powdered creamer, do so. If not, have your taster try that as well.
  • Housekeeping staff should check the expiration dates on all in-room consumables.
  • The old-school Styrofoam adds a weird taste to hot coffee. The newer type and the paper variety are much better if you’re looking for a disposable option.
  • Lastly, if quality in-room coffee is not an option for your property, provide a coffee cart in the lobby for the morning hours with a few flavor options, along with a good selection of add-ins.