There’s nothing quite like waking up on a chilly morning to a hot cup of Christmas coffee. While caffeine is a must every day of the year, there’s something special about the coffee we make for ourselves and our loved ones during the holiday season. As the weather turns cold, make plans to indulge in something novel. Note that novel doesn’t have to mean complicated – these holiday coffee ideas are sure to inspire even the most inexperienced of home baristas.
1. Begin with Quality Beans
Subpar beans make subpar cups of coffee. If you’re really hoping to treat yourself this holiday season, you’ll want to invest in quality whole bean coffee. As you shop around, look for details on where the coffee was grown and roasted. The roast date is equally as important. Ideally, you want to go for beans that were roasted no more than two weeks ago. After that point, they’ll start to lose flavor and potency.
Grinding your beans yourself can also help you create memorable hot coffee drinks. When beans are freshly ground, they release toasty, fruity, and floral notes. Those flavors degrade over time, so ground coffee will always be less flavorful than the freshly ground alternatives.
2. Elevate Your Coffee-Making Process
Coffee is an incredibly simple drink. Making it, on the other hand, can be as complex and nuanced as you see fit. While you certainly can pop coffee grinds into your instant coffee maker, it can be a lot of fun to experiment with different methods of preparation. Many favorite fall coffee drinks can be made using simple equipment you already have in your home. Others require just a little something extra.
If you’re hoping to treat yourself to a more elevated coffee-making process this season, consider starting with an aeropress. The aeropress combines the best aspects of traditional drip coffee with the highly-concentrated flavor espresso. Hand-operated, durable, and easy to use, aeropress kits are also very affordable. They’re ideal for chilly mornings when you want to brew up a special cup but don’t want to invest the time or money into an oversized espresso machine.
3. Add a Splash of Flavor
There’s no shortage of holiday coffee flavors to indulge in this time of year. The dairy section of the grocery store is teeming with options. While pouring some flavored creamer or syrups into your coffee is one option, we encourage you to think beyond the artificial options – especially if you’re preparing java for a crowd or taking it on the go.
You might be surprised at how easy it is to add special flavors to your coffee. A sprinkle of cinnamon on top of foamed milk adds tremendous flavor with minimal effort – as does a few dashes of cocoa powder. Peppermint oil is equally as simple to add to your cup; just drop a few splashes directly into your coffee. Spicing up your Christmas coffee doesn’t have to mean spending all morning in the kitchen. Instead, turn to your pantry and look for inspiration there. Vanilla, almond, chocolate chips, Nutella, and brown sugar are all easy additions to any cup.
4. Top with Something Sweet
Many of us indulge in a little whipped cream topping when we visit our favorite cafes and coffee shops. It’s rare, though, to treat ourselves to this sweet treat when we’re at home. While you might not want to make whipped cream a regular addition to your morning routine, it can boost a Christmas coffee to something really special. And since there’s little to no prep required – unless you decide to go all out and make homemade whipped cream – it’s an effortless way to add a little luxury to your day.
Whipped cream is hardly the only way to top off your coffee. A milk frother is an excellent addition to any kitchen. It’s an inexpensive, easy to use tool that quickly transforms your average cup of Joe into a truly delicious winter coffee. Whip your favorite milk, cream, or non-dairy substitute into frothy goodness, then pour on top of your latte, mocha, or cappuccino. You’ll feel as though you’re in a cafe without ever having to leave home.
Both whipped cream and frothed milk provide the perfect canvas for a drizzle of something special. Whether you’re a caramel fan, a chocoholic, or prefer to indulge in seasonal flavors like peppermint, there are tons of sauces from which to choose. Holiday coffee is all about treating yourself to something extra special, so go ahead and pick up your favorite flavor of sauce the next time you’re at the grocery store. Want to go easy on the sugar? A light dusting of cocoa powder can top things off without sending your drink over the sweetness edge.
5. Indulge in Boozy Coffee Cocktails
Nothing warms the body and soul quite like a hot cup of coffee – nothing, that is, except spiked coffee drinks. These indulgent cocktails transform a totally mundane part of your routine into something to be savored. Hot coffee cocktails are incredibly flavorful, delicious to sip, and fairly easy to whip up. In fact, you may already have everything you need to make boozy holiday coffee drinks in your kitchen.
Irish coffee is a perennial favorite, and for good reason; its classic flavor combinations are sure to delight coffee lovers everywhere. Simply mix your favorite rich coffee with a shot of Irish whiskey. For an extra special Christmas coffee, sweeten with brown sugar and top with whipped cream. For a creamier or sweeter drink, try adding Bailey’s or another flavored liqueur.