How to Set Up a Coffee Station at Your Buffet
When having a large dinner party or family gathering, having a coffee station set up saves the Host/hostess a lot of busy work. Guests like getting their own beverages rather than having to ask for one, and the coffee station is the key solution. Plus, one can serve several kinds of coffee and even tea at the same station.
The host will need to designate a space for the coffee station. It should be far enough away from the food table so that people waiting for food are not in the coffee line and visa versa.
Always transfer fresh coffee into a carafe or other pot that isn't sitting on a hot plate. That will make the coffee stronger and bitter, so use a preheated, heat-sealing carafe that keeps the coffee warm. Decaffeinated coffee and tea water should also be in a carafe and clearly marked.
Only make as much coffee as needed. Extra coffee will go stale quickly. It's better to make several pots as needed than it is to make a great big batch and let it sit. For the best coffee, always begin with cold water, never use warm or hot water. Use this guide:
- For up to twelve people use 1/4 pound ground coffee made with 3 quarts of COLD water.
- For 12 - 25 people use 1/2 pound ground coffee made with 1.5 gallons of COLD water.
Set up a table or counter space by placing a nice-looking table cloth or other material over it. This isn't necessary but makes the area look more inviting and less amateur. Next, set out all of these in matching or similar-size dishes with small spoons where appropriate:
- bowl of creamer (flavored creamers are very popular; have more than one flavor, plus regular cream.
- bowl of sugar cubes
- bowl of Red Hots candies
- cinnamon sticks
- chocolate stirrers
- vanilla extract
- almond extract
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- ground ginger
Provide these stir-ins, as well:
- grated chocolate
- whipped cream
- cocoa powder
- orange extract
- peppermint extract
- chocolate syrup
For flavoring an entire pot of coffee, add these to the pot:
- orange zest
- lemon zest
- cinnamon sticks
- piece of ginger root
It's fun to elaborate on the decor of this station; toss around some shiny confetti on the table cloth, or use small holiday ornaments placed here and there. Be creative and make it look nice.
By using this guide, the coffee station can be well set up and offer almost anything the coffee drinker would want, freeing up the host for the guests.