Christmas is coming and with it are holiday parties, get-togethers with friends, and visiting with family. Unfortunately, some of these gatherings also include sub-par coffee. The more you learn about and experience the potential of coffee, the harder it is to settle for a basic, run of the mill cup of joe.
Here are a few tips for navigating the minefield that is mediocre coffee.
- Bring the coffee- While this tip may seem obvious, it is worth a mention. When going to gatherings where everyone pitches in and brings things, offer to be the one to bring the coffee. You don’t always need permission to bring coffee either. If you are tired of bringing wine and Yankee Candles as a hostess gift, try bringing a bag of fresh roasted specialty coffee.
- Pick up coffee on the way- If bringing coffee for the whole crowd is not an option, consider picking up coffee on the way. Depending on the type of gathering, it may or may not be acceptable to show up with a cup of coffee in tow. If you feel awkward about it, get a small cup and take a tour of the neighborhood while you enjoy your coffee.
- Look for an opening to make a run- If you are trapped in a situation where the coffee is not up to your liking, look for a way to make a quick supply run. Out of eggnog? Perfect. You can go down to the store and pick up some more. Swing by a coffee joint on the way and get some quality coffee.
- Bring some coffee additives- While I typically don’t put any additives in my coffee, this could be a viable solution if no other solutions present themselves and you just can’t stomach your host’s coffee offering. Additives range from sugary flavored creamers to alcoholic mixers like Baileys. Make sure to choose one that is appropriate for the time of day (Aunt Susie may become concerned if you are adding scotch your coffee at 7 in the morning). You could try putting butter in coffee and see what type of response you get. This also may be a great way to sneak in you own coffee by declaring “I’ve done it will this kind of coffee before and I really liked the result.”
- Bring cold brewed coffee- Try pre-brewing a batch of cold brew coffee in the Toddy or a similar method. Cold brewing makes a strong coffee concentrate. Toddy recommends adding hot water at a two or three to one water to cold brew ratio for a more normal strength cup. Having your coffee in a pre-brewed, concentrated form makes it way more portable. Bring over a mason jar or two of cold brewed coffee and add hot water when you are feeling the need. You could also just add ice and drink it as an iced coffee.
- Make a stealth one cupper- The Kalita Kantan is a disposable paper one cupper that is a perfect solution for brewing a stealth cup of coffee. With these mini brewers, you won’t have to whip out a large drip brewer and draw attention to the fact that you are making a delicious artisan coffee for yourself.
- Share your passion- The most enjoyable and genuine way to enjoy some great coffee in these situations is to share your passion with others. Try bringing over your brew setup and brewing coffee manually for other guest. People are intrigued my manual coffee brewing and it could be a great outlet to talk about something you are passionate about. Spread the word.
Don’t be a coffee snob!
In the grand scheme of things the coffee is not really that important. It is fun to promote your ideas and opinions about specialty coffee, but not at the expense of coming off as a snob. Don’t make the mistake of letting your enthusiasm turn into condescending coffee snobbery. Drinking coffee that is not quite the quality you are use to is not that big of deal. Have fun, spend time with friends and family, and enjoy yourself.