314 Spears Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37405   (423) 266-2600

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Coffee to Satisfy Every Taste


If your question isn’t listed, contact us and ask. Your question will be answered. If your question is added to the FAQ list, you’ll receive a free case of 100% Colombian Private Estate Reserve Coffee from the top 5% of the world’s beans or a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

Q: What can Southern Coffee do for my business?

A: We can provide your company with a wide assortment of fresh, quality vending products and be responsive to your needs. Employee breaks are short and do not always fit the work schedule. A refreshed, happy employee is safer than a tired, “out of sorts” employee. A good break (which includes refreshments with freshness, variety, value and quality) makes employees more productive by lifting their mood.

Q: What is Southern’s philosophy toward its customers?

A: Everyone knows the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have it done unto you." Southern uses the Platinum Rule: "Do unto others as they want it done unto them." Southern's focus is on the customer's needs. There is no fixed plan; everyone is different. This leads to two core principles for regular service customers: 1) a 100% Money Back Guarantee of product satisfaction, even if the customer used the product; and 2) No long-term contract because Southern wants happy customers. Our service agreement lets customers know what to expect in a long-term contract. We’re pleased that we can offer you a Service Agreement so you know what to expect in the mutual relationship. We plan to exceed expectations.

Q: Do you really offer a 100% money back guarantee if I am not completely happy with my coffee?

A: Yes, even if the product has been consumed. We do this because our guiding principle has always been trusted service and value.

Q: What do I do if there’s a problem with my order?

A: Southern does make mistakes and has equipment failures. Customers may forget to inform us of a problem or special need. When an issue surfaces, Southern creates a permanent computer record and assigns the issue to the appropriate person to solve the issue. Every morning, a service review is done to make certain that issues or requests have been performed or that a plan is in place which is satisfactory with the customer. Communication and rapid response are keys to customer satisfaction and trust.

Q: Why should I buy from Southern instead of another vendor?

A: We hope that the great taste of our product is what really makes you a customer for life, but Southern Coffee also attempts to be a good citizen by giving back and paying forward. That’s a Southern tradition. Profit made by Southern stays local. Since 1978, Southern has supported local civic and charitable organizations with memberships, donations, and active participation. A few organizations are the Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, Junior Achievement, Kidney Foundation, Heart Association, and Muscular Dystrophy to name a small number. To help the City and area grow, Southern participated in the Vision 2000 and Re-Vision processes. This is an appropriate time to thank all of our present customers for the business given to Southern. That business has enabled us to tangibly assist the positive changes in the local economy.

Q: Can I expect good service at Southern Coffee?

A: Southern is proud to say that your service representatives and the office staff are all long-term, well trained professionals. The phone is answered by a 15-year veteran who calls customers by name. Accounting is handled by a 28 year veteran who handles every account as the account wishes. The customer service representatives are 10-, 15- and 20-year tenured employees. Things change so Southern is always training. Rely on Southern's representatives to have up-to-date information or to know where to get it.

Q: Can I trust Southern Coffee employees?

A: Because Southern's field customer representatives have to enter restricted governmental installations (dams, buildings, power plants, etc.), they have been background checked by agencies of the government. This is another assurance that the persons entering your premises are trustworthy and known to be of good character. Having a trusted "one stop, single source" company for your coffee, water, and vending costs you less and makes you more secure.

Q: What’s your secret to having such great employees?

A: Some coffee, water, and vending companies do not pay a share of their employees' health coverage or carry liability insurance to protect you. Their prices may be lower, but they do not take care of their people. Southern has always paid a large majority portion of every employee's benefit costs and offered supplemental benefit plans to afford more protection and lower the cost of benefits. Think about this as you evaluate your choice of suppliers. Protecting our employees is good business. Protecting our customers is good business.


Q: What is Coffee?

A: American coffee is the liquid result of hot water dissolving flavor compounds and oils from the roasted and ground fruit of the coffee bush. A large number of complex chemicals provide the taste, similar to wine.

Q: Which Coffee is the Best?

A: Why, the one you enjoy the most! For a group such as an office, a better coffee is required to satisfy 99% of the drinkers. Everyone's taste is different, but no one likes harsh, bitter coffee. 100% Arabica high grown mild beans are the better choice.

Q: What Makes Coffee Taste Bitter?

A: Acid usually. Robusta coffee generally has more acid than Arabica, but poor quality beans, improper storage and transportation, over roasting, and grinding too finely can impart a bitter or "off-taste."

Q: Since Coffee is a seasonal agricultural crop, how do you keep the flavor consistent from year to year?

A: Customers expect the coffee they drink today to taste like the coffee they drank yesterday, last month, and last year. The Roastmaster is the key to the art and science of good coffee. He or she selects beans using small samples which are "cupped" (tasted) for their flavor profile. Using experience, the Roastmaster blends coffees, determines how long and at what temperature to roast. The grind (particle size) changes the taste also.

Q: Why have a coffee service?

A: Many decision makers see no value in providing a cup of hot beverage to employees. The production efforts of WWII proved the value of providing coffee to workers and soldiers. The benefits to a business are: 1) It is a customary drink over which businesses is transacted employee-to-employee and employee-to-customer; 2) Roughly 75% of businesses do provide coffee to employees so it can be part of employee retention; 3) Caffeine in coffee makes employees more alert; coffee is called the “Think Drink”; 4) Compared to other benefits like insurance, there is no more economical or immediate benefit which employees use and enjoy every day. The new millennial generation is highly attracted to good coffee. The best workers seem to know coffee varieties and seek them. Churches are upgrading their coffee quality and modernizing their brewing equipment to help them deliver their message. Click “Why Good Coffee” to learn more.

Q: What makes Southern an expert in Coffee?

A: Experts are people in suits with briefcases from more than 100 miles away who tell you what you should do. A huge national coffee company tries to make one blend of coffee fit the whole nation. Southern and its importing and roasting partners design coffees for local tastes using more than 300 years of combined experience. Southern is concerned only with the taste preferences of the Tri-State Region. Perhaps you can liken it to the craft beer trend.


If your question is not listed, contact us. Your question will be answered. If your question is added to the FAQ list, you will receive a free case of Misty Mountain Spring Water or a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

Q: Why should I consider getting Bottled Water or a Water Filter Cooler?

A: The usual reasons are health and taste. Water — just plain water — is the most beneficial drink for your body. City water, by Federal law, must contain chemicals which offend the taste and smell and make others ill. Thus, they turn to sweet tasting drinks with even more chemicals. Water without chemicals tastes good and encourages people to drink more water, cleansing their bodies of waste instead of adding to the toxic load on their organs.

Q: How can I decide if a Water Filter Cooler or a Bottled Spring Water Cooler is better?

A: Southern has long experience with water filters and bottled water, and can answer questions and provide information. Both are more healthful than tap water. Southern believes the city water company does a good job of cleaning water drawn from the Tennessee River. But the water company has little control over the aging, decaying water pipes under the streets -- pipes that leak and are in close proximity to sewer, storm water, and gas pipes, which also leak. The city water company also has no control over toxic spills and farm runoff into the river.

Q: What is Spring Water?

A: Spring water flows naturally to the surface of the earth. Southern's Misty Mountain Spring Water comes from a spring 3,400' above sea level surrounded by the Nantahalla National Forest, away from pollution. The spring water is harvested and fed directly to the bottling plant. There are no tankers to cause contamination. If you decide on spring water, make certain it is bottled at the spring.

Q: Is Spring Water Healthy?

A: Our spring water has never been contaminated by toxic chemicals or waste products. Chemicals found in public water systems and filters can give water an objectionable odor and taste. Our "clean and pure" at the source spring water is refreshing and enjoyable. It promotes health because you will drink more water if you enjoy its taste.

Q: What is “Point-of-Use” Water Treatment?

A: The city water company draws water from the river and uses chemicals to treat it. Some of these chemicals remain in the water when it is released to the water mains. The water then travels to you by old, decaying underground pipes which add undesirable byproducts. Since only 3-5% of water is used for human drinking, the pipes under the street cannot economically be maintained in sanitary condition. 95-97% of city water is used to wash, water lawns, or for industry. You see the problem. To clean city water where it is consumed- at your location- is called "Point-of-Use" water treatment.

Q: What are “Alkaline and Oxygenated Waters”? An ad says they will cure any ailment or disease.

A: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true. These products are marketed with emotional stories told about the "miracle healing waters", but there is no hard, repeatable, clinical evidence to support a health claim by alkaline and oxygenated waters. The Better Business Bureau has forced many of these marketers to remove unproved health claims. The short answer is that there is nothing more healthful for your body than clean water. If you want the long answer including body chemistry, call Southern.

Q: A salesman said I needed UV and Ozone. What are these? Do I need them?

A: Most salesmen are paid a percentage of their sales. Adding features increases the price of a product and increases the salesman's commission. Some salesmen use "scare" tactics to get an up-sell. If you start with biologically contaminated water, UV and Ozone may be part of the cleaning process. Southern has these methods. City water is not biologically contaminated. It does have "floaties" and chemicals which are objectionable. Inexpensive, modern filtration techniques are usually all that is required to provide clean water at the point of use. For an in depth description of water chemistry including Ozone and UV, contact us.

Q: Why have a water service?

A: For health, taste, economy, and convenience. Fact: People eat or drink less of things that do not taste good. Yet, your body needs 8 eight-ounce glasses per day (or more if you are working hard and perspiring a lot). Every weight loss plan advises drinking water because the body will reach out for calorie-loaded snacks and more food if the body is searching for water. It has been proven that people drink more water if it tastes good and is convenient. Water service – bottled or filtered – from Southern takes the hassle out of having economical and convenient water that is healthy and tastes good. For more information about tap water, spring water, filtered water, and scams, click “Water 101”.