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New coffee machines good news for tea lovers too

The coffee machine: it’s an indispensable device on campus. It’s where numerous students and staff members go to every day to get a shot of caffeine or to have a talk. On May 1, the current machines will make place for a new version, one that doesn’t just offer sustainable coffee and chocolate milk, but six different types of tea in three different temperatures as well. But how is that new coffee supposed to taste? Students and staff members had a say in the matter.

The reason why the old machines will make place for new ones, is because the contract of current supplier Maas expires. The company came out on top once again during the new tendering process, which is why Maas will continue to supply the TU/e campus with coffee, tea and chocolate milk for at least the next seven years. Even though the supplier – and the price of hot drinks – remains the same, there’s still a lot that’s about to change. The university uses the new tendering process to make some serious strides in the field of sustainability, and to address some of the features of the current machines that users were critical of.


One of the things people were critical of, was the tea, says Bertie-Fijneman-Sloots, coordinator at Facility Services. “Tea drinkers tended not to like the taste. That is why we will offer separate tea bags of six different types of tea. The machine can also pour water in three different temperatures.” In addition, the new machines are likely to malfunction less often from now on, because they are able to detect any malfunctions in advance.

The university paid special attention during the new tendering process to quality and impact in the field of sustainability, says Bregje Portier – Van der Steijn, policy officer at Facility Services. “I’m particularly proud of how sustainable the new contract is. Maas is an extremely sustainable company, that also scores high on social entrepreneurship. The coffee, cacao and tea are all Rainforest Alliance certified. And the coffee suppliers take sustainability and circularity even a step further. We also take part in the Made Blue Foundation: for each liter of water that runs through the machines, we donate a liter of water to developing countries.”

Tasting coffee

On 27 and 28 February, the TU/e community got to share its ideas on what type of coffee should be on offer in the new machines. Students and staff members were allowed to sample three types of coffee, free of charge, and cast their vote. Screens, mounted next to the machines, showed the sustainable story behind each type of coffee. BLENDSTAR Single Origin excelled in chain responsibility in Ethiopia, the Optimist in social and local impact, and the Circle of Beans in circularity. Even though many people certainly appreciated the sustainability aspect, it was the taste that mattered most in the end. BLENDSTAR Single Origin received the most votes (223), and will be available in all standard machines as of May 1. Since the Optimist came in second with as many as 209 votes, Facility Services decided that it will offer this type of coffee in the more luxurious coffee stations on campus.

De TU/e-gemeenschap mocht op 27 en 28 februari meebeslissen over de koffiesoort die straks uit de automaat komt. Studenten ...

Students and employees taste coffee for new machines

De TU/e-gemeenschap mocht op 27 en 28 februari meebeslissen over de koffiesoort die straks uit de automaat komt. Studenten ...

As of May 1, the machines will no longer dispense separate cups. Fijneman-Sloots: “This anticipates new legislation. From 1 January 2024, it will no longer be allowed to offer disposable cups and food packaging. We anticipated this with the new contract.” TU/e students and staff members are supposed to use their own cups. They can also make use of the Billie Cup, that canteens provide. Employees can use the facilities of the pantries. The university is still thinking about a solution for guests who didn’t bring along a cup. “We are a service-orientated service, which is why we want to facilitate students and staff members if they wish to get coffee, also if they don’t have a cup of their own,” the coordinator says.


In addition to the standard machines, all major buildings will also have a machine with a vegan topping, such as oat milk. The price of that coffee is 55 cents, just like the coffee in the regular machines. The university felt that it was very important that prices of (vegan) hot drinks remain the same, Portier – Van der Steijn says. “We don’t want people to be unable to make a sustainable choice because of financial reasons.”

Vegetarian work lunch

Apart from the coffee machines, Facility Services also wants to promote sustainability in other areas. This is why the standard for work lunches offered by caterers Appèl and Vermaat that are offered in the banqueting map has been vegetarian since the end of February. Those who wish to eat meat or fish during lunch can specifically choose those options. Fijneman-Sloots hopes that the varied assortment of wraps, luxury sandwiches and salades won’t make people choose meat or fish after all. “I believe that what people want most of all is an attractive product. As long as it’s varied and tastes good, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a vegetarian product or not.”

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