Regular Coffee vs. Decaf?

TobyTNovember 2, 2010

I have taken over (read drafted!)chairing the refreshments committee for our high school band's major fundraiser "February Blues." It is an evening performance at which we serve baked goods, coffee, tea, lemonade, ice tea and ice water. For some reason decaf coffee has never been offered, but I would like to give people the choice, particularly since it is in the evening. Anyone have an educated guess as to the ratio of decaf drinkers to regular coffee drinkers?

About 400 people attend, mostly adults and last year 1500 - 1600 cups of coffee were served over a 2.5 hour period. I have googled for the info, but of course there are 100's of different answers. Anyone?

Jane

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ci_lantro

Whoa! 3-4 cups of coffee per person? At night?! What part of the country, if you don't mind my asking, do you live in?

Another option is to serve a 'half the caffeine' blend as the solo offering. That's what I would choose to serve, I think, just for their own good! ;)

From my experience working (volunteering) in the concession at the ice rink during my sons' playing days is that we sold very little coffee in the evenings. Mostly hot chocolate and some cappucino. Yeh, both have caffeine, too, so go figure. Occasionally, an herbal tea or two. We did offer decaf for a while but rarely sold any so we discontinued it.

Oh--I'm in central Wisconsin. Beverage choices do vary with different regions in the country. Growing up, I worked in my parent's restaurants in Oklahoma and we very rarely ever sold a cup of hot chocolate. I was amazed at how much HC is consumed here in WI after I moved here. In WI, it was near impossible to get a glass of iced tea &, if you did find it, it was sweetened (yuck) glop from a concentrate. (Still is, for that matter.)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 7:41PM
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lindac

the percentage of decaf drunk will be dependent on the age of your crowd....older people drink more decaf....as do the 20 ish health nuts...people in their 40's and 50's drink full caf....as do teens.
You could serve all decaf....and not mention it unless asked, but don't serve "half caf" to everyone. I couldn't drink that after 3 PM of I would be awake all night and I know others who have heart rhythm problems who would have big troubles with that.
For an normal mixed crowd, I would say 20% de-caf....if your crowd is older....add more decaf.
Linda c

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 7:52PM
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annie1992

I agree with LindaC, I think you'll have 20 or 25 percent decaf drinkers.

Of course, that's only based on my experience in large family parties, wedding and funerals!

At Amanda's wedding we made 120 cups of coffee and most of it was consumed, or at least poured. (One 40 cup pot filled 3 times). I made 36 cups of decaf (one 12 cup pot filled 3 times) and we had just a few cups left, so I'm figuring 120 regular/30 decaf, which is a 75/25 ratio.

Decaf is a good idea, though, some people absolutely cannot drink regular coffee. Elery can't because of his acid reflux and his sister can't either, but they will each have ONE cup of decaf.

As for time of day I can slug down the regular octane stuff all night and still sleep as well as I ever do, it seems to have little or no effect on my sleep. I do the same with Diet Coke or tea.

Annie

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 8:24PM
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rachelellen

My experience in the restaurant and catering business leads me to agree with Linda in that crowd age is a big factor. Serve time is another. You mention that it is an evening event, but don't specify your serving time. 5:00, you'll need more caf....9:00, more decaf.

I wouldn't recommend the half caf half decaf solution. People who can't handle caffeine in the evening (like ME!) won't order the coffee at all unless decaf is specifically offered, and people who NEED the caffeine won't get their proper "fix," lol.

Do you have any communication with the past chair? It might be worth it to inquire why decaf wasn't offered in the past. Lack of demand, lack of urns? If there was demand, but no equipment, you'll be on the right track offering it if you now have or can obtain that extra urn.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 8:40PM
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TobyT

Thanks for your input everyone.
Ci_lantro, I guess I should have said 1500 - 1600 cups were made. I'm sure it wasn't all consumed, but they are small cups, probably hold about 6 oz, so 3 or 4 cups wouldn't be unusual consumption of over a 2.5 hour period. We are in the Pacific Northwest and hot chocolate would be unheard of at an event like this, but would be served at skating parties, carolling parties, that sort of thing with a large percentage of children.
I would never serve caffeine to anyone without letting them know, as it can certainly be dangerous for some people.
Why wasn't decaf served before? When I asked the same question, I was told "oh - it's too much trouble." Oh?
I would say the majority are between 35 and 60 and the evening starts at 7:00.
We have 5 - 100 cup urns, so I think I will do one decaf and see how it goes and if it goes fast, I will make 2 on the next round
I can drink caffeine any time and will probably need several shots that night!
One more question to those of you with experience with 100 cup urns - how long do you think a 100 cupper will take from plug in to finished perking?
Thanks again
Jane

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 11:52PM
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lindac

Plan at least an hour for those 100 cup urns....perhaps more.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 12:34AM
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ci_lantro

What I meant to say is that I would replace regular coffee with the half & half. That's what I meant by 'for their own good'.

I certainly didn't intend to suggest passing off half caffeine for decaf. All too aware of the problems associated w/ caffeine from personal issues with it!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 1:02AM
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lpinkmountain

I'm 50 and I can't have caffeine, especially in the evenings, so I would appreciate decaf coffee. I'm sure there is some percentage of people there like me. Also, if you're just putting out hot water and a selection of tea bags for the tea drinkers, then add decaf tea. That's another option, serve caffeinated coffee as your main hot beverage, and then a hot water urn with packets of decaf coffee, decaf tea, regular tea and herbal tea. That satisfies all your alternative beverage drinkers. That's what I do at school events, (college ones, with lots of teens, early 20's but a fair mix of oldsters and health nuts mixed in among the staff). I learned the hard way not to serve the half caff. I thought that would be a good compromise in a one-urn situation. Boy did I hear complaints from the caffeine coffee drinkers!!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 8:55AM
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bulldinkie

I heard when you come right down to it the decaf has almost as much caffeine as reg.coffee.I heard it on tv one day but my hubby kind of proved it,If he drinks too much coffee.He gets pain in chest and arm.So he went to decaf same problem I said havent you been using decaf yep..He got the 1 cup keurig (Spelling) he loves it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 10:52PM
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lindac

I get the fidget-de gibbits from decaf at the wrong time of the day...

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 11:36PM
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compumom

When I'm serving coffee at an evening event at school, I usually make decaf only. Some people will be peeved not to have a choice (especially my 85 y.o. mother!) but many will be happy to just drink coffee any which way it's offered. If you're making 5 pots I'd make 2 decaf and 3 regular and see how it goes.

I will say that at the last two events (back to school night and a sports banquet) the regular coffee drinkers outnumbered the decaf contingent. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 1:11AM
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lindac

Since de-caf coffee costs almost twice as much as caffinated coffee, It's always smart to figure out as closely as possible how much to make.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 8:51AM
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ci_lantro

'Decaf' coffee is not caffeine free.

In the United States federal regulations require that in order to label coffee as "decaffeinated" that coffee must have had its caffeine level reduced by no less than 97.5 percent.

Anyway, I had a 'duh' moment & realized that a good part of the reason we didn't have much demand for coffee after about 11 am probably had something to do with the Boozer 'culture' we have in this state. Have been here long enough to forget how shocked I was by it when I first moved here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coffee FAQ

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 10:09AM
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jessicavanderhoff

I second the suggestion that you not serve half caf. If you have regular and decaf, people can mix them if they want. By forcing half-caf on the people who want the caffeine, you're implying that you think you know what's good for them better than they do-- which you don't-- they may be headed to the night shift, to visit a relative in the hospital, have to go grocery shopping before bed, not be sensitive to caffeine, have a baby who refuses to sleep before 3 am, etc, etc. Even if they're not making a good decision, your foisting your caffeine agenda on them will likely be just as unwelcome as being told 'you need to lose a few pounds' or 'that color doesn't look good on you'. Why make people unhappy when you're not getting anything out of it?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 10:57AM
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