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Serving Coffee At Family Events

shutterstock_523941310There was a time when providing coffee for a family event was a simple affair. With only a few brands to choose from in the first place, people were rarely picky about what kind of coffee they were drinking. At most, a good host might have to provide both caffeinated and decaf coffee and condiments were also no frills as there were few options to choose from. A bottle of powdered creamer or a small pitcher of half & half, some sugar and packets of sweetener and all your bases were covered.

Today, however in the age of gourmet and even artisanal coffees, serving coffee to a crowd has become a whole different animal - particularly for the family, who are more likely to make their desires and wishes known and count on having them met than other more casual guests might. So, with the holidays approaching, bringing the arrival of friends and family alike, here is a brief primer on options for serving coffee to make your guest's visit a memorable one!


Today even the basic beverage itself comes in a dizzying array of options. From Fair Trade certified to flavored coffees to Origin coffees, there are numerous options to choose from. You can also choose between whole bean and pre-ground coffee. If you are serving genuine coffee connoisseurs, you might want to invest in a coffee grinder and purchase whole bean coffee over ground coffee. The type of coffee you serve may also depend on the food you are serving.

Some people are morning coffee drinkers that like a special kind of coffee in the morning, while others might want coffee just with dessert. There are numerous blends available that are best for different times of day and that pair best with certain kinds of foods, such as breakfast foods or desserts or other sweets. You can learn more about different types of coffee such as single origin, gourmet, and flavored, here.

Brewing Options

If you are having houseguests or many events in which you will serve coffee, you may want to invest in a Keurig machine that will allow guests to brew whatever type of coffee they want and even allow non-coffee drinking guests to make drinks like tea, cider or hot chocolate. You can even use a Keurig to brew your coffee from with a special adapter for the Keurig.

For avid coffee connoisseurs, you may want to invest in a French Press, which will allow them to extract the most flavor from their single origin or gourmet coffee. An espresso maker and milk frother will also allow you to make high-end espresso drinks just like they make in your favorite coffee shop. For events where people do not feel as strongly about specific coffees, a coffee maker that comes with an airpot or thermal carafe will keep the coffee hot for a long period without burning it.


There are now also a dizzying array of ways in which people sweeten their coffee, with everyone tending to have a fairly strong preference. There are, of course, the standard packets of sweetener that come in pink (Sweet & Low/ saccharine), yellow (Splenda/ Sucralose) and blue (Equal/ aspartame) as well as regular table sugar. Flavored syrups are also a bit hit, and they come in both regular and sugar-free varieties. People are also using more and more natural sweeteners, however, like honey, agave, stevia and raw sugar. If you only have a few guests, you may ask them what they prefer and have it on hand, but for a larger party, you may want to set out an assortment of sweeteners.


Just as there are numerous ways of sweetening your coffee, so are there now numerous ways to "whiten" it. Flavored creamers and half & half are two basic staples of course, but it might be a good idea to have at least one non-dairy item as well, such as almond or coconut milk.

Cups and stirrers

There are also numerous ways to serve coffee, from disposable cups with lids and sleeves to protect hands from the heat to plastic and wooden disposable stirrers. Coffee mugs are certainly a traditional staple, but many people may not have enough mugs on hand to serve a large crowd.

Serving great coffee has become an integral part of being a great host. With so many options to choose from, you might want to invest in a variety of different coffees and coffee makers.

With a plethora of samplers and machines available, providing some options does not need to be prohibitively expensive nor does it have to take up a great deal of storage space in your kitchen even if you or your immediately family are not coffee drinkers.

Be prepared to make coffee a more central event while entertaining guests this year. People will remember your party for a long time!

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