Preparing for the holidays is all consuming – a labor of love is still labor.
Getting things prepared ahead of time is the only way to make it through without a snag. Coffee can present some unique serving challenges especially when it comes to timing – Grandma wants a cup in the afternoon. Parents and teens will want an after-dinner cup. And everybody who stays over will want at least one good cup every morning. Making sure there is always fresh coffee available is challenging.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get your coffee setup ready-to-go ahead of time:
You can do this well ahead of the main event but it must be done. Whatever your daily coffee ritual might be – French press, filter coffee, melitta pour over, et cetera – you probably don't use a big Holiday urn every morning. Cleaning your equipment does not mean polishing silver, we’re talking about cleaning the inside of the brewer where grinds and hot water combine and rest. We’ve all been to a holiday party, wedding or work event where the coffee tastes “stale” or “off.”
The most common reason for funky tasting coffee: Coffee oil buildup.
Coffee oil residue that is left sitting long enough (say, since last year’s holiday season) will go rancid inside of your brewer. Lingering coffee oils can even clog the inside of your machine and cause blockages. This happens because coffee oils are not removed completely with standard dish soap. A good cleaning with a specialty coffee cleaner will not just lead to great tasting coffee, it will also extend the life of your brewing equipment.
These coffee and espresso brewer cleaners are quick and easy to use, they will get the job done and they are readily available on Amazon.
Depending on the brewer you’ll be using throughout the holiday season, it is a good idea to descale too. It doesn’t take long to descale but it can make a big difference when it comes to flavor consistency and the amount of time it takes to brew a fresh pot of coffee.
Any coffee brewer that heats water internally should be descaled every month, especially single serve coffee brewers like a Keurig or Nespresso. Drip coffee brewers too. Failing to descale is the number one cause of weak and watery coffee.
These coffee and espresso descaling products are faster and more effective than vinegar. They are readily available on Amazon.
It might sound obvious but you need to stock up on fresh coffee beans or grinds. What starts as a holiday party can turn into a mini vacation for certain holiday guests. Running out of coffee would be a disaster. And besides, you don’t want to make any unnecessary trips to the store during the holidays, especially while the heat is on in the kitchen.
If you use paper filters, be sure to stock up on those too. Unlike fresh coffee grinds, filters don’t spoil and they don’t take up too much room either. So it’s better to err on the side of caution.
While we recommend serving coffee in a warm mug (preheated with hot water, please) it won’t hurt to have a sleeve of paper cups lying around.
We all love the planet but something has to give during the holidays and it might as well be the cups because it saves you double on washing and machine space. Of course, a departing guest will always appreciate a cup of coffee for the road too.
Have a wonderful holiday full of great tasting coffee and satisfied guests!
And a happy New Year too!