Some people go to great lengths to make any guest, even a long-time friend, feel like they have the spotlight for a while. One of the most important aspects of the art of serving coffee is a sense of ritual and decorum.
Coffee is like a warm fire. It draws us near. We take great pleasure in serving a little something when a friend or new acquaintance stops by for a chat.
We see pictures of little girls serving tea at a table surrounded with teddy bears and dolls and think this is adorable. It is. Some might argue that little girls need to learn other roles besides this, and there is truth to that. However, this child play is a great example of the simple joy of being a good host. It is not about appearances, it is about ritual. It is about creating an oasis in time for playful conversation and delightful closeness. Let us brew a pot of coffee then.
CUP OR MUG?
First, the cup or mug dilemma. In England, coffee is often served in a tea cup with saucer. The tea tradition is a suitable model for serving coffee, but it is a matter of preference. The tea style cup adds a touch a class when you want to play it up. Consider the circumstances. While a dainty cup may seem suitable in a formal setting, such as when meeting a business colleague, it can lead to discomfort. A classic mug is more fitting in this case, because it provides a sense of comfort and thus a lighter atmosphere. Conversely, you might be tempted to serve coffee in mugs when a friend visits to seek your support at a difficult time in her/his life. In this case, a tea-style cup adds a touch of Victorian playfulness that can uplift sad spirits. See what we mean?
CREAM & SUGAR
Even if you know the person who is about to have coffee with you, take the time to place a creamer and sugar bowl, and even a variety of sweetener options on the tray or table. This may not seem necessary, but it sends a strong message. It says you gladly take extra steps for your your guests, even when they are as familiar to you as siblings. And, of course, do the same for siblings.
WHEN TO BREW
As for coffee itself, here is a nice suggestion from a friend of ours: "I always, always wait until my guests arrive and we have talked a bit before brewing and I always have two coffees to choose from, a classic and a flavored. I let them choose. Often, I even brew both so my friends or guests can let the aroma inspire their choice."
We love this idea and have shared many memorable coffee moments with this friend. In any case, always, always wait until a few moments after your guests have arrived before brewing and always, always spend time near the coffee pot while it brews. You can move to the dining room or living room or patio when the coffee is ready, but first allow your encounter to be immersed in the melody of the brew.
For traditional coffee drinkers, we recommend: Connoisseur's Cup Blend or Tanzanian Peaberry. A great flavored coffee selection would include: Boyden's Brown Cow or Toasted Coconut.
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