Upon arrival in their room, one of the first things guests will do after checking out the view is assess the quarters’ coffee situation. Question number one: is coffee brewing even an option? Other inquiries to follow may include: pods or filter packs, decaf or regular, and how many? cream and sugar, and how many? styrofoam cups or ceramic mugs?
It seems simple enough, but in-room java can be the tipping point that makes the guest in the garden suite add an extra star to their online review. Even before they get to the waffle maker or omelet station, travelers are passing judgment on the a.m. offerings. And hotels across the country are waking up to myriad innovative ways to ensure that every guest gets their favorite cuppa. No more waking up and missing the smell of fresh brewed happiness―guests can now have a “better” coffee and tea experience in the comfort of their rooms.
Sometimes coffee is all about pleasure. It used to be a thrill when the barista etched a heart into cappuccino foam, and now San-Francisco based AF & Co. Restaurant & Hospitality Consultants predicts boutique coffee drinks such as almond milk lattes and nitro coffee on draft, coffee lemonade, coffee cocktails, and more in their 2017 Trends Report.
Other times, coffee is about necessity. Travel blogger Ben Schlappig has written extensively about his coffee experiences on his blog onemileatatime.boardingarea.com. “I’m rarely in one timezone for more than a few days,” he says, “so I’m often asked how I deal with jetlag. The answer is coffee. Lots and lots and lots of coffee. All day. Every day. That’s why I write quite a bit about hotel coffee.” One might think, when someone is using the beans for medicinal purposes, that not much matters beyond caffeination. On the contrary, Schlappig writes, “When you’re jetlagged and constantly in different timezones, you notice the oddities of how different hotels approach coffee. Some hotels offer crap in-room coffee.”
Well. This is simply inexcusable. And it doesn’t have to be like that.
Hilton Worldwide took this issue head-on by forming a partnership with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to ensure that every guest gets “fresh gourmet in-room tea and coffee offerings.” The exclusive Hilton Morning Blend offers a 100 percent Arabica blend from El Salvador, Sumatra, and Brazil and is also available through the hotel's online store HiltontoHome.
In partnership with H.C. Valentine, Fairmont hotels offers a signature blend of Arabica coffee beans harvested from Africa and Central and South America. Aligning with Fairmont’s emphasis on sustainability and locally-inspired experiences, H.C. Valentine is committed to finding farmers who honor sustainable growing practices. The Signature Blend coffee beans are delivered to the hotels within a few days post-roast, where each pot is then freshly ground and served to guests immediately.
In New York City’s Flatiron District, Broadway Plaza hotel offers, “fresh ground Starbucks coffee and Lipton tea around the clock” to ensure that the guest is never out of options.
illy caffè, the third-generation family-owned coffee company from Trieste, Italy, recently announced its new cold brew coffee steeping pack for hotels. Using only single origin Arabica beans from Brazil, the illy cold brew packs are designed for ease of steeping, with zero waste.
And now a company called Tradecraft Outfitters is bringing regionally-specific craft coffees and specialty teas to the mainstream. “When you need to find new ways to grow F&B revenue,” they assert, “the premium price point that craft coffee and tea drinks command is a great addition to your offering.” With Tradecraft, even large national hotel chains can now deliver a specialized, local, and authentic program in their lobbies, restaurants, and guestrooms. This “one-stop solution” includes all equipment, accessories, and training. Headquartered in Chicago, the company has formed partnerships with local roasters across the U.S., including Lamplighter Coffee Roasters in Richmond, Virginia, Parlor Coffee in Brooklyn, NY, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. This not only showcases the talents of specialty roasters, it gives guests an extra connection to the local culture.
But really, whether it’s a fun assortment of pods, a singular blend, or a geeky craft brew, coffee-loving guests just want to know they are taken care of. Then they can really rest easy.