Monday, February 22, 2016
Hospitality for the Rest of Us: Coffee Service
I think I covered this a little in the pantry post as well as the little gatherings, but I'm going to recap/expand it here.
When you're serving coffee to people there are some things to have on hand. First is your coffee maker. There are several different kinds, I've owned most of them. There are two that I keep even now that my consumption is very low. The first is a Keurig. It's fast and you can easily switch from decaf to regular. Though it's not the best for long lingering table talk. If you're having more than one cup, I'd suggest a French press. Oxo has one with a clean out thingamabob that makes it even better, because cleaning is easier. If you prefer your drip coffee maker or are into pour over methods, then by all means keep using them. I would suggest that you pick up a carafe so that it can sit on the table and stay warm.
The carafe isn't terribly important for style or the likes in my book, but if it is for you, then shop around. What is important about the carafe is pre heating it. Either with hot tap water or by boiling some extra when you're making French press. A warm carafe will keep the coffee hot longer.
Okay, you've got a coffee maker and a carafe, now what? Filtered water and coffee. Buy the best tasting beans you can afford. This is your opportunity to try different coffees, be adventurous, travel the world in your coffee cup! Try out local roasters and unusual brands at the grocery store. You never know where you'll find your favorite.
You've made your coffee, it's waiting in a warm carafe, it's time to serve. Sugar, a variety of artificial sweeteners, heavy cream or half and half, and maybe some non-dairy creamer in the wings. Make sure the are spoons a plenty and someplace to place spoons after they've been used.
Here's the most important part, enjoy your cup of coffee. For a moment, you should have no where else to be except with that cup and whoever is sharing one with you.
If you haven't learned how to do this, then take some time to teach yourself to enjoy that first sip. Grab the cup in both hands, breath in the aroma, let the warmth give you a mini facial and take a sip. Place the cup back down, but don't release it, just let it's warmth be a part of you.
When sharing coffee in your home with friends, it's a completely different experience than the coffee house. You've said, "My space is your space." They've been invited to just be for awhile in your home. Now, you may not have any more in depth of a conversation as you would have had in public, but you will feel differently towards one another. There is something wonderful about having coffee on people's couches and around their tables. It's exactly why so many coffee houses try to look like homes. It's not a coincidence that the most popular coffee joints have worn out couches and arm chairs in nooks. They want you to think your home.
Guess, what, it's cheaper and more fun to drink coffee at home! Especially when you involve friends.
What about the fru fru drinks, you say? Well, a lot of places have moved to mixes. Some of them are pretty good. Here are some hacks that aren't exact but can feel fancy.
Empty one packet of hot chocolate mix into cup, add coffee, stir. Finish off with some half and half. You can make a peppermint mocha by stirring with a candy cane.
Heat favorite chai mix, add coffee and milk.
Heat half and half in a mason jar without lid. Place lid on, shake vigorously, add to coffee.
Make coffee and refrigerate overnight. Blend coffee with milk, ice, and liquid sweetener of choice. You can also use flavored creamers. Top with whipped cream.
Now if you just want to dial it up a little without all the work, put out a bowl of whipped cream (not cool whip, actual whipped cream) or a can of whipped topping and a little shaker with cinnamon. Instant happiness!
Coffee service doesn't have to be fancy, but it can be fun. Enjoy your time with your friends, you might just find that you like coffee service so much, that you treat yourself, too.