We drink it in a hurry in the morning in order to get that boost we need to start the day, and it serves as our trusted friend at break times.
Coffee, though, is not just a solitary pleasure to be enjoyed alone; actually we could say that this drink has written some important and defining pages in the book of rules for socializing.
In the daily whirl of human relationships, there are many goings on that revolve around that perfect little steaming cup: whether it be important work agreements, casual chats between friends or a first attempt to get to know someone, often the decisions we make in life, from the smallest to the most important, can be made over a coffee.
Certainly this timeless ritual has some quite precise rules: following these means giving yourself and your guests a moment of warm and comforting conviviality.
So there’s nothing left to do but find out the golden rules on how to serve coffee at home: let’s start with a quick dive into history, following the dictates of etiquette.
How to serve coffee at home: a journey from history to good manners
The history of coffee has ancient roots: defined as the “wine of Arabia”, it first came to Europe through international trade exchange.
The first Coffee Boutique opened in Venice in 1640 meeting, right from the start, the tastes and habits of the aristocrats.
Very soon, domestic consumption of this drink became widespread, to the point where by the Eighteenth century, noble dwellings all over Europe boasted buildings specifically dedicated to coffee tasting, the Kaffeehaus.
Refined and precious, it soon established its place among the noble drinks, those capable of expressing their status and the prestige of those offering them during receptions at their own house.
This is why it earned itself a prominent place in the rules of good manners.
Still today, it is the rules of etiquette that teach us how to serve coffee at home.
A lounge drink
In order to learn how to serve coffee at home, the first thing to keep in mind is that every moment of the meal has its correct place within the domestic space.
The coffee cups and coffee pot, which mark the closing phase of a lunch or dinner with guests, should not be used to serve coffee at the dining table: their correct place of use is a special corner of the lounge, perhaps in front of the couch.
It is here that, after having invited your guests to be seated, a small table should be prepared with everything that you need: coffee pot, sugar bowl and milk jug, with perhaps a small jug for cream and, of course, the set of coffee cups, preferably in fine porcelain, with spoons and fabric napkins.
A sweet accompaniment
A tray with pastries, or a sweet dish with pralines or chocolates, provide a sweet accompaniment.
In general, everything based on chocolate is perfectly suited to be eaten with a steaming cup of coffee.
Among the numerous cocoa-based options, we would recommend making some delicious bite-size chocolate brownies using the recipe given below, or opting for the coffee version which we suggested to you among the Halloween sweets.
• 3.17 oz of butter
• 4.23 oz of Filicori Zecchini dark chocolate
• 2 eggs
• 7.05 oz of sugar
• 3.17 oz of flour
• 1.76 oz of chopped hazelnuts
1. Melt the butter with the dark chocolate in the microwave.
2. Add the eggs, sugar and flour and mix together well.
3. Add in the hazelnuts, mix thoroughly and then place everything into a square baking tin.
4. After cooking for 40 minutes at 356 °F in a fan oven, your brownies should be ready to be cut into squares and served together with the coffee.
Who serves the coffee?
Serving the coffee is generally the responsibility of the host or hostess of the house.
A tradition that has been handed down to us intact from an aristocratic past: in past times, the serving staff of the house would simply bring the coffee pot into the lounge, offering it immediately to the lady of the house because only she had the privilege of serving this fine drink.
Today, still, this rule remains unchanged and, also when there are formal events, etiquette rules are very clear: the coffee cups should never arrive from the kitchen already filled.
The same goes for the sugar: whether the sugar be granulated or in lumps (the latter should always be brought into the lounge with the appropriate tongs), the person serving must take care to add it only once they have been informed how much each guest would prefer.
In offering your guests the cup, preferably from the right, the spoon should be placed on the saucer, next to the handle of the cup.
The espresso machine
The die-hard mocha users are in no doubt and attribute all the magic and cosiness of the coffee ritual to the preparation using the classic mocha coffee pot heated on the hob.
However, more and more often, to keep up with the increasingly frantic rhythms that daily life imposes on us, we opt for preparation with the espresso machine.
Etiquette also has precise rules for this situation and offers guidelines on how to serve coffee at home even to espresso lovers.
In this case, the ritual changes and the lady of the house may opt for a more informal type of service: the coffee cups are filled in the kitchen and brought into the lounge already arranged on a tray.
Once she has reached her guests in the living room, the hostess should seat herself and add the sugar.
Interesting facts: what should the cup be like?
What really counts, of course, is the content of the cup, but the cup itself can make a difference and, in the case of the perfectly served coffee, the coffee cup plays a fundamental role.
The traditional tazzulell ‘e cafè, (Neapolitan dialect for a ‘cup of coffee’) as sung by Pino Daniele and at the heart of many Italian musical successes , has a very interesting story and is recognizable by its shape and workmanship. Here are its main features:
• it is made of hard feldspathic porcelain, a particularly resistant material, ideal for keeping the coffee at the right temperature;
• the inside of the cup should be white to enhance the colors and reflections of the drink;
• it has a truncated-conical shape, rounded on the inside and with an egg-shaped robust base, so that the surface cream remains compact.
The rim is thinner: in this way, the part in direct contact with the lips of the drinker guarantees a pleasant drinking experience;
• the cup handle is made in such a way as to ensure it is easy to hold with two fingers, comfortable and scald-proof.
Did you know all there is to know about serving coffee at home?
Do you have your own ritual or favorite type of coffee?
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