While I love a good cappuccino, I rarely drink plain coffee — why drink an addictive beverage that stains your teeth and keeps you up at night? I realize I am in the minority here, particularly among the traveling crowd, but perhaps it is for the better. After all, my primary airline is United and the post-merger coffee has not been branded “Fresh Poo” by accident. We’ve been hearing rumblings about new onboard coffee and an internal article to United employees entitled “Something’s brewing. It’s going to be better” shows us that we are one step closer.
As part of our continuing focus on what’s important to our employees and customers, we are reviewing our coffee served both on board and in our United Clubs.
What is the process? It began with 17 coffee brands; we narrowed the field to nine and invited the vendors to participate in evaluations. After the remaining brands were presented to us, we conducted blind taste tests recently with three finalists — two premium coffee blends from competing global brands and the current blend, which served as a baseline. We asked employees and customers to sample the coffees and share their thoughts with us — this took place in late October at our ORD Flight Ops and Inflight Services bases, on Nov. 3 at our Willis Tower location in Chicago, on Nov. 4 in Airport Operations at EWR and on Nov. 5 and 10 on board several of our flights. The taste tests included Boeing, Airbus and United Express aircraft…
This is encouraging news — testing it onboard is pivotal and the very testing process shows that United is finally addressing the little things that have bedeviled customers for the last few years.
While no coffee aficionado, I do know that water matters too and hope that United will consider using bottled water rather than the potable onboard water that sits in a tank of unreliable cleanliness.
United should also think about refreshing its onboard tea — not having green or Chinese-style tea on flights to/from Asia is culturally insensitive and the black tea currently offered is uninspiring. United stocks Numi tea in many of its airport lounges and it would be great to see a selection of tea bags onboard as well.
No date yet for the new coffee, but we are getting closer and I doubt it is even possible that the new blend could be worse than what we have now.