Anyone who loves entertaining at home knows how important it is to have that unique something extra that none of their friends or coworkers have. With the holidays coming up in just a short time and finally the ability to get together with friends after a couple years of isolating, this year marks the beginning of time well spent with friends and loved ones.
But, how can you set a new standard after all you’ve done in previous years that had your parties the talk of the town for months after each get-together? Perhaps this year you might want to focus on that delicious time after dinner when everyone is pleasantly satiated. Why not move from dinner to dessert with a traditional barista coffee extravaganza? After all, who doesn’t love coffee? With that settled, let’s look at what it takes to make the real thing – a café-style brew at home.
1. It’s All About the Beans
Before going any further, it’s of utmost importance to understand that the quality of the beans you use sets the stage for a perfect cup of coffee. Always start with coffee beans, freshly ground as you make each cup individually to taste for your guests. Some prefer stronger blends while others prefer a smooth, full-bodied roast without that acidic, bitter aftertaste. Arguably one of the most expensive beans in the world, this year you might want to add Kopi Luwak to your arsenal of world-class bistro beans. Although they aren’t always easy to find, you can make getting Kopi Luwak easy simply by bookmarking the page! If you want an authentic source from Southeast Asia, that would be the way to go.
2. Coffee Grinder
Although you may be tempted, never grind your beans before you are ready to brew each and every cup of coffee. It isn’t always because flavor is lost but also because each time you brew a cup, the grind will be different. For a stronger, more flavorful brew, you’ll want as fine a grind as possible. For those who prefer a lighter brew, the beans can be ground to a medium-course setting. In any event, if you want to do those gourmet beans justice – remember to grind them just as you are getting ready to brew.
3. Espresso/Latte Machine with Milk Steamer
Some of your guests will prefer a tiny demitasse cup of espresso while others will enjoy a cup of latte with steamed milk. Sometimes you can find a double brew machine at a reasonable price and other times the only truly affordable machine will be single serve options. In any case, remember that you get what you pay for, so perhaps you might get the perfect home espresso machine on early Black Friday sales that often start as early as the beginning of November or end of season discounts that transition from fall to winter. Just remember that a quality brew takes a quality machine and that’s a formula you can take to the bank each and every time.
4. Flavorings & Toppings
What self-respecting barista would offer the perfect cup of latte, cappuccino or expresso without a choice in toppings? From small lemon twists for espresso to flavored syrups, cinnamon and whipped cream for cappuccino, everyone has a favorite and that’s what you’ll need to have on hand for this very special dinner party.
It is up to you if you want to do dessert at the same time as your after-dinner coffee extravaganza but perhaps you’d like to hold off on that for just a bit so that your guests can get a taste of those exquisitely rare coffee beans before diving into those pastries to rival any French café.