As much as a I love the coffee shops here in Seattle, sometimes I just want to meet up with friends and family at home. I still want the coffee though. Compared to wine or other luxury items, high quality coffee made at home is quite inexpensive. For your coffee party, you will need to pick the ideal coffee and brewing method.
What is the ideal coffee? If you know your guests well, you’ll know if they prefer lighter or darker roasts. You may even know if they prefer African to South American coffees. However, if you don’t know the tastes of your guests, I would recommend going with Sumatra. I learned in Starbucks Coffee College that it is their best selling bean. Sumatra has a bold smooth flavor and it pairs extremely well with food. You should also have a decaf blend option for your guests.
What about espresso? If you plan on making lattes and Americanos, then most blends from good roasters will work. I home roast coffee and have developed many blends that work well as straight shots and inside lattes. I tend to avoid the fruity, high-note espressos when entertaining guests.
Picking a Coffee Brewing Method
As much as I love making espresso drinks and practicing latte art for my milk drinking friends, it is not ideal once you get past a few friends. It is too labor intensive and too loud. You end up spending the entire party grinding coffee and frothing milk.
Here on INeedCoffee we know about more coffee brewing methods than most coffee drinkers. Why not show your guests something cool? Put away that drip coffee pot. Here are 4 coffee brewing methods you can use for your coffee party that will impress your guests.
The Eva Solo
Years ago someone gave me an Eva Solo right before I moved to Seattle. I put the coffee brewer into a box and did not pull it out until recently. It is now my favorite coffee brewer. It is a glass container in an insulated cover. Unlike a french press, where the filter is pushed down before pouring, the Eva Solo does the filtering on the pour. The super fine filter is attached to the top. This is an oversimplified explanation, but let me state that it makes a clean rich cup of coffee.
The coffee brewing method that will draw the most attention is the vacuum pot. Water in the bottom, coffee in the top. Add heat until the water makes contact with the coffee. Once it has brewed long enough, remove the heat source and the coffee rushes into the bottom container. Be sure to read Vacuum Pot Brewing to learn more about this brewing method.
The Chemex is a glass container that uses a paper filter. It produces a cup of coffee that tastes as good as the best drip coffee makers on the market. It is simple and beautiful. My tutorial on this brewing method is titled Chemex Brewing.
The French Press
The French Press is the work horse of the coffee brewers. Just make sure your press pot is large enough to make a few cups at a time. For tips on this brewing method, read Troubleshooting French Press Coffee.
Although I think adding milk and sugar to my excellent coffee is insanity, I try to be a good host. I will provide half & half and sugar. Assuming your guests are of legal drinking age, having a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream will be appreciated.
In 2007, Michael moved to America's coffee capitol Seattle, Washington. He has visited close to two hundred different coffee places in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver and met many of the top roasters and baristas in the country. Since 2009, Michael has been the Organizer of the Coffee Club of Seattle, which is a Meetup group of over 600 coffee enthusiasts. Besides the social aspect of the group, the Coffee Club of Seattle partners with local coffee professionals for educational events such as coffee cuppings, brewing demonstrations and roasting tours.
Unrelated to coffee, Michael has a personal blog at CriticalMAS.com which covers several topics including fitness, cooking and economics.