Articles From Whole Latte Love

Holiday Coffee Survival Guide

Posted: 11/29/05

The holidays are here and there’s no getting around it. For those of us who don’t subscribe to Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens, here’s a little guide of caffeinated ideas to help get you through the next four weeks - better known as the holiday season.

To Grandmother’s House We Go

Bodum SS Travel Press Whether you’re entertaining at home this holiday season or headed off to Grandma and Grandpa’s, the first thing you’ll need on the long drive is a little caffeine in your system - added fuel for the road. Grab our Whole Latte Love Travel Mug and a cappuccino, latte or a four-shot iced Americano, because you’re going to need something extra to get through the bumper-to-bumper high-speed panic braking on the expressway. Or why not bring a Bodum Travel Stainless Steel Coffee Press filled with freshly brewed coffee and give yourself the option to brew along the way?

You’re going to want a little caffeine for the days ahead too, so make sure you’ve brought along the necessities - there is no accounting for some people’s taste for instant coffee or powdered cappuccinos. Now bringing your own beans, grinder and coffeemaker might seem a bit over the top, but let’s be realistic - surviving three or four days on flavored freeze-dried coffee is a bit garish. But there is a more polite way to get through the holidays.

Give the gift of coffee by replacing Grandma’s antiquated coffeemaker! It not only ensures your own caffeination, but makes you look like a great gift-giver too!

The perfect gift to replace her 20-year-old veteran coffeemaker would be the Kitchen Aid Pro Line Coffee Maker. With its heavy-duty die-cast metal housing, schnazzy blue LCD display, and a hot plate with adjustable temperature, the Kitchen Aid will ease Grandma into the next generation of coffeemakers. The Pro Line also comes equipped with an ion-exchange water filter, and an easy to Kitchen Aid Pro Line Coffee Makeruse front-filling water reservoir.

But if that’s too much machine for Grandma to handle, you might want to try the Krups DuoThek Stainless Steel Therm. The DuoThek has dual carafes, so there won’t be any fighting and awkward feelings when Grandma wants to brew her decaffeinated coffee and you need a fresh ground dark roast. And thanks to the DuoThek’s two 10-cup thermal carafes, you’ll have hot coffee for hours. There is nothing like having two coffeemakers in one!

Since you’ll need fresh ground coffee for Grandma’s new coffeemaker, you might want to give Grandpa the Solis Maestro Plus Grinder. This grinder is the perfect combination of style and function. It’s easy to use and has 18 different grind settings- enough settings for Grandpa to grind coffee for the whole family! He can grind it fine enough to use on an espresso machine with a pressurized style portafilter and course enough for a French Press or a drip coffeemaker. And it holds a half-pound of coffee beans - so bring a few pounds of Lavazza Gran Filtro Dark Whole Beans for yourself and a pound or two of Lavazza Gran Filtro Whole Bean Decaffeinated for everyone else. You’ll be set for the next few days of holiday bliss!

Entertaining with Coffee

In addition to the traditional family get-togethers, you’re probably going to have a holiday party of your own. Whether it’s formal or informal, big or small, you’ll need to prepare accordingly.

What will you need exactly? You’ll need to purchase beans for sure, but what about some fresh Monin syrup to spice things up or maybe even a new espresso machine? Take a look at how many friends will be coming and what you’ll need to prepare for your own fabulous soiree.

No matter if you’re serving coffee or espresso before, during or after dinner you’ll need to start with good quality beans. Java Joe’s Guatemala Huehuetenango is perfect for brewing fresh ground drip coffee. It has a lively, spicy flavor that your friends will be impressed with. Java Joe’s Espresso Adoration is another superb bean to grind that delivers a rich, chocolaty flavor in every espresso shot. Both illustrate the importance of how quality beans are imperative when brewing coffee or espresso.

Having a great grinder is essential for brewing fresh tasting coffee -Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder nothing compares to the smell and taste of fresh ground coffee being brewed. And whether the coffee is for brewing or for a recipe, a quality grinder is a necessity for making delicious coffee at home.

A good place to start is with a Mazzer Mini Grinder. Not only can its professional 250-watt motor grind large amounts of coffee, but its 58mm grinding burrs have an infinite number of grind settings - from super fine to coarse and everything in between.

The Pasquini K2 will get the job done as well. With its aesthetically pleasing chrome housing, the Pasquini K2 also has an unlimited number of grind settings - from Turkish to coarse - making it easy to fine-tune your grind to the bean, the roast and the type of drink you’re making. And because it’s doserless, you can easily grind into any container - a great option if you’ll be brewing drip coffee for your soiree.

Once you’ve got your beans and your grinder, take a look at your espresso machine. Can it handle the busy holiday season ahead?

The Gaggia Baby D makes the perfect addition to any holiday program. With its sleek silver housing, three-way solenoid valve and two programmable brewing buttons, the Baby D will make it a breeze to entertain four to six of your closest friends. And because the Baby D is ESE pod compatible, you can use Illy Espresso Pods for quick brewing and easy cleanup.
Expobar Office Lever Espresso Machine
If you’re looking for something with a little more heft - but still extremely stylish - the Expobar Office Lever is just the thing. With its traditional good looks and highly polished stainless-steel housing, your friends will know that you mean business. A commercial portafilter and brew group ensures that each drink you make is nearly perfect. And with the heat exchanger boiler, the Expobar Office Lever is perfect for brewing and steaming drinks back to back to back. You’ll be able to brew drinks for your friends non-stop!

If you’re looking for the ultimate in easy-to-use technology, why not look Gaggia Syncrony Digital Super Automatic Espresso Machineinto the Gaggia Syncrony Digital. It’s a great way to step into the world of super-automatics at a reasonable price. With its high-pressure pump, Pannarello wand and digital display, this well-constructed machine is perfect for entertaining friends. Simply add beans, press a button and instantly the Syncrony Digital will grind, tamp and brew a thick, rich espresso shot. For your more persnickety guests, there is also a bypass doser, which allows you to add pre-ground decaffeinated coffee directly into the machine.

But if you’re really looking to impress your friends this holiday season, the Jura Capresso Impressa S7 Avantgarde is the answer. This proficient super-automatic grinds, doses, tamps and brews all at the touch of a button. And the Impressa S7 features a top-loading bypass doser that allows you to easily add pre-ground decaffeinated coffee. The best part about upgrading to this super-automatic would be eliminating the traditional way of steaming milk. With the Avantgarde’s high-tech frothing system, milk is drawn directly out of a container into the machine where it is heated and frothed and dispensed into your drink. This makes it extremely easy to make café style drinks for all your friends!

Caffeinated Flair

Once again, the aim of this guide is to keep you well caffeinated in every way over the holidays. Whether it’s a centerpiece made with some whole beans or an overflowing gift basket - there is no end to what you can do with coffee! Try these easy recipes and other coffee-related holiday ideas to spice up the season:

  • Raspberry Italian Soda
    Something a little different for those guests who are looking for a sparkling drink without the alcohol. In a 13oz Bodum Canteen Glass, mix ice and two ounces of Monin Raspberry Syrup. Then add club soda. To make an Italian Cream Soda, mix the two ounces of Monin Raspberry Syrup with half-and-half then add the club soda. Top both with whipped cream!
  • Coffee Bean Centerpiece
    Pour some aromatic coffee beans in a large glass bowl. Add a red or white pillar candle to the center and you instantly have a beautiful centerpiece!
  • Kona Nut After-Dinner Coffee
    Looking to break away from the traditional Irish Coffee? This is a perfect segue. Start with a cup of fresh brewed Lavazza drip coffee served in a 7oz Bodum Assam glass, add one ounce of Kahlua and one ounce of Frangelico. Top with fresh whipped cream! Delicious!
    Ritzenhoff Designer Coffee Collection
  • Amore
    You’ll love to drink this intoxicating coffee out of a Ritzenhoff mug. Just add amaretto and brandy to some fresh brewed Lavazza coffee and you’ve got immediate stimulation! Great to collect too!
  • Thank You Basket
    If you’re looking for a gracious way to say "Thank You" to a friend this holiday why not put together a beautiful gift basket? Make sure to include some Monin Syrups and a few pounds of coffee. Java Joe’s Columbian Mesa de Los Santos, Supreme Bean’s Yemen Mocha Java, and Café La Semeuse’ Classique are sure to spice up the basket. And why not throw in a collector’s item from our beautiful Ritzenhoff collection?

We hope this guide to the holidays was helpful in preparing you for the festive season ahead and that our gift giving ideas were just as helpful as you begin your holiday shopping. Remember, the holiday season is a great time for extra special touches. While entertaining friends, go all-out and make a delicious cappuccino or surprise someone with a hot mocha while they’re shoveling the driveway! The holidays are a great time to spend with friends and family, a time where gratitude is expressed and memories are formed - often over a cup of coffee.