How do you decide what’s your favorite South Fork Coffee? If you are a company like Inflexion in Eugene, Oregon, you have to do an in-house extensive research study.

Inflexion is a nonprofit consulting group that helps educators better prepare students for life by finding ways to create a learning community with the best systems and supports.

“We are a company filled with researchers so this had to be a very research-y project,” noted Roberta Kellis, the office manager for the company.

First came the preliminary tastings. Monday through Thursday mornings the Inflexion team brewed several pots of each of the eight coffee varieties from South Fork Coffee used for the experiment. Employees then submitted comments into the dedicated Slack channel where they could vote YES or NO for the individual coffee flavors they tried.

On Friday morning Systems Administrator, Ryan Butler conducted a blind taste test of the top four flavors. Pots were numbered 1-4 and only one person held the key to the coffee names. Ten taste testers were given 4oz of each flavor in 4 individual cups with matching numbers 1-4 to the pots of coffee. Each taster rated the cups with a number —

  • 1 = great
  • 2 = not bad
  • 3 = nope

“Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves, even those who were not testers or even coffee drinkers,” said Roberta. “It was a great moral boosting event all week.”

After the week long, arduous journey, fraught with drama and sleepless nights (thanks to too much coffee), the staff determined the office favorite was French Pete followed by:

  • 1st Place: French Pete
  • 2nd Place: Sumatran
  • 3rd Place: McKenzie River
  • 4th Place: Kona

According to Forbes, team building is the most important investment you will make in your employees. It doesn’t have to be awkward, lame or expensive. So take a cue from Inflexion and have some laughs over a few cups of good coffee.