MAASTRICHT. There is a queue at the coffee vending machines next to the university cafeteria inside Universiteitssingel 40 this Tuesday morning. Not just because people want to start their day with a shot of caffeine; important work is going on here. As of 1 March 2021, all coffee vending machines at the university will be replaced. Today, students and employees may test which coffee they prefer. The candidates? Douwe Egberts and Segafredo.
Mark Anneveldt, who is project leader of Food & Drinks Contracting and who also deals with the coffee, is standing at the entrance to the spontaneously set-up ‘coffee bar’ handing out forms. The idea is that the participants get a coffee from both vending machines – it can be an espresso or a cappuccino, as long as they are both the same. Subsequently, they give points for taste, aroma and temperature, but also for the user-friendliness of the vending machine and something the catering business is wild about: the ‘experience’.
“Oh, this is chill,” says a student to her friend who is busy at the other vending machine. “You can choose the strength. I actually want three beans, but if I am going to drink two cups, I’d better choose two beans.” Then, looking at the paper cups: “They are small cups, though.”
Judgement passed by the testers will count heavily in the choice made, says Anneveldt. “But we will also look at factors such as price.” The contract is for five years, with the option of an extension of two years. It will have to be clear by the beginning of December who gets the contract.
According to Anneveldt, the coffee drinker will be better off regardless. “All vending machines will have fresh coffee beans, which is not the case at the moment. And of course they are new, more advanced.” Initially the coffee machines were only meant for employees, but in the new system students can also use them. They pay a small price; exactly how much will depend on the supplier. Coffee is free for employees, i.e. the department pays.
Coffee is not the only change that is about to happen in the field of food and drinks within the university. The new catering company will also start on 2 January. Eurest Campus will take over from Albron. Eurest feels very strongly about serving both sustainable and healthy food, two aspects that are important to Maastricht University.
The business already has experience with higher education. They cater for Eindhoven University of Technology and Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda. Exactly what Eurest can do in January, will depend on the COVID-19 regulations at that time.