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How to Make Coffee that Pleases Everyone This Holiday

How to Make Coffee that Pleases Everyone This Holiday

Words Erin Meister

Dinner’s done and the dishes are stacked in the kitchen; you’re in the middle of cutting four different kinds of pie and scooping ice cream when panic strikes. What to do about coffee? No fear: With a little bit of advance planning and taking stock of what your guests will want caffeine-wise, you can easily prep the perfect mug for everyone at the dinner table—which hopefully will keep your guests awake long enough to help with the clean-up.

 

For a Big Group of Easygoing Coffee Lovers
If you know you’ve sent invites to several people who are easy to please, nothing says “festive flavor” like a regular pot of electric-drip coffee gussied up with some warm spice. Simply add one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg or ginger to the grounds before you brew a bigger batch for 8 or 10 guests, and wait until that heavenly holiday aroma fills the kitchen. Go the extra step by putting out a server of half-and-half or milk with a splash of maple syrup stirred in, and offer cinnamon-stick stirrers for another aromatic boost.

For the Inevitable Guest Who Gets Indigestion
An easy batch of cold-brewed iced coffee the night before (or even 48 hours before) is a convenient offering for anyone whose stomach craves coffee but can’t handle a lot of agita. Since cold brew keeps in the fridge for a few days and tends to have less of an acidic quality to it, it’s a perfect option for anyone who likes the smooth flavor of coffee without the extra discomfort. Gently whip some fresh cream with a pinch of sugar and cinnamon or vanilla extract to top off the mug, and you might not even need to offer dessert—it’s enough of a treat on its own.

 

OXO Impact French Press
For the Folks Who Like Things ‘Bold’
Believe it or not—and coffee purists, suspend your disbelief—you can actually prep a French press the night before. Freshly ground coffee keeps just fine under deep freeze overnight, so weigh out enough for a strong single brew (we like 28–30 grams of coffee for a 16-ounce brew), grind it coarse, and immediately put it into something air-tight before stowing it in the back of the freezer. The grounds will keep their flavorful integrity until the next day, so you can simply dump them into a press, start the timer and add hot water, and pass the pot over to the folks who like things bold with instructions to plunge and pour when the timer goes off.

For the Ones Who Don’t Want to Be Up All Night
The same grind-and-freeze convenience that works for the French press crowd will also please the decaf lovers in your life, especially if there are only one or two of them. You can weigh and grind individual batches of decaf (medium-fine) for pour-over coffees, which will each take about three to four minutes to make. If there’s only one decaf drinker in the house, simply make one batch; if two people chime in, double the recipe and brew a double at once into a bigger serving vessel, splitting the finished liquid among your guests.

For the Kids’ Table
The little ones will already be hopped up on sugar from cake, pie, and iced cream, so you don’t necessarily want to also get them wired on coffee, but one easy way to make them feel as fancy and sophisticated as the coffee-sipping adults is to offer “kiddiccinos,” small mugs of warm frothed milk with cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg sprinkled on top. If you don’t have an espresso machine with a steam wand, there are other ways to make the perfect milk in a flash: You can microwave whole milk for 20 seconds and shake it in a tight-lidded canning jar until it froths, or heat milk in a pan over medium-low heat and whisk it until it starts to resemble cappuccino texture. Either way, the kids will be delighted to have foam mustaches just like the grown-ups.

By Erin Meister

Erin Meister is a freelance writer for OXO. She is a specialty-coffee professional with 15-plus years as a barista, café manager, wholesale account representative, speaker, and educator; she currently sells green coffee for the Minneapolis-based importing company Café Imports. You can also hear her on weekly episodes of "Opposites Extract: A Debate Podcast about Coffee," available on iTunes.

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