Better coffee. One cup at a time.

Don’t Stress About the Coffee this Christmas

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With all the Christmas festivities and holiday gatherings at hand, the traffic to my post about the best grocery store coffee has skyrocketed. I can almost feel the angst behind this relatively marginal, yet ever-present issue. “Will the coffee I have be good enough for {insert “coffee snob” name here}?”

The funny thing about this question is that there is a lot of angst on both sides of the coin. The host wants their guests to enjoy the fare that is provided. The guest wants to be gracious and not put up a fuss about a simple cup of coffee.

Thinking about that forlorn host searching google for the perfect coffee inspired this post, but I also couldn’t help thinking about the coffee lover, bemoaning a silly cup of coffee.

Here are a few thoughts on how the coffee question can go from an awkward situation to a non-issue or even something that brings community and enhances the festivities.

For the Host- Don’t Stress about It, It’s Just Coffee

If you are hosting a gathering, realize that there is really no reason to stress about the “coffee snob” (I prefer coffee enthusiast) that is coming to your party.

Most coffee lovers wouldn’t want someone to go out of their way or make excuses all day for “bad coffee”. Trust me, if coffee is that important to them, they will probably just bring some.

Please do not be offended if someone brings coffee to your gathering. This is not a slam on you as a host but merely an assertion of preference. Most coffee enthusiasts have a hard time keeping their love of coffee to themselves and thus will probably want to share a coffee they have been enjoying.

Some Simple Action Steps for the Host

If you don’t know much about coffee but want to accommodate your coffee loving guest, ask them about it. Don’t waste your time guessing what coffee they would like and fretting about it. Get them on the phone and ask them if there is a particular coffee that they enjoy and where it can be found.

You can also ask them to bring some coffee. Simply put it to them straight: “You are a coffee guy right? Why don’t you bring over a coffee that you enjoy, I would love to try it.”

Don’t pretend to like the coffee if you don’t (this may result in a future onslaught of coffees that you do not enjoy). It’s okay to have different preferences. Your enthusiastic coffee friend will want to know what kind of coffee you enjoy regardless if it is different from their preference.

A good coffee enthusiast will want to expose you to new flavors but will respect your preferences and ultimately will probably want to find you some coffee that meets your taste profile preference.

For the Coffee Enthusiast- Let It Go, It’s Just Coffee

Don’t be a coffee snob. It is entirely possible that your host, knowing you are really into coffee, either has gone out of their way to get you a special coffee (like scouring the internet for the best grocery store coffee) or has thrown up their hands and declared that coffee is too complicated to make the right call.

Some Simple Action Steps for the Coffee Snob

If you would like to bring some coffee, ask: “I have been drinking this (Christmas blend, single origin El Salvador microlot, etc.) and I would love to share it with you. Would you mind if I brought over some coffee?”

Remember to approach the situation with enthusiasm and an eagerness to share something you enjoy. You do not want to come off as the person that says “Your coffee is always so foul, do you care if I bring my own?”

If you think it would be a little out of place to bring coffee, (deep in the archives I have already written a post about surviving bad coffee) suck it up; It really can’t be that bad and no one if forcing you to drink the stuff.

You can also reconsider your position as a coffee purist, add a little cream and sugar (or eggnog) to that coffee.

Don’t forget your friend, desserts. I have yet to come across a mediocre cup of coffee that wasn’t vastly improved by being consumed alongside a little chocolate. If bringing coffee would be offensive, consider bringing some chocolate along or consuming your coffee in tandem with a decadent dessert.

You have many other days of the year to enjoy a cup of coffee for its flavor profile. It is also okay to enjoy coffee for being hot, comforting and something to have a good conversation over.


  1. Brian's Coffee Spot

    Hi John,

    Very good piece! My friends now know me well enough not to even ask. They just assume that I am bringing the coffee. And the kit to make it :-)


    • John


      I would expect nothing less. Most people know that I am typically in close proximity to brewing gear as well.

  2. Sharon Turner

    Great advice per usual! Agree that a touch of cream and *gasp* sweetener (even syrups) can make almost any coffee drinkable at an event. That’s how some of us were introduced to coffee in the first place (church coffee anyone?)
    I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by coffee lovers at work and family. To this end they try out all of my experiments and to their delight I’ve introduced a large number of folks to cold brewing.
    We agree to disagree about strength of hot brew (and methods) but can all agree that we enjoy sitting around chatting, drinking coffee.
    The one present I’m still waiting on — a Zenroaster — is currently stuck in customs. The first one came was broken on arrival but once the replacement is here I’ve lined up five different green coffees to play with.

    • John


      Thanks! I hope you have your Zenroaster by now. Those things are beautiful. Let me know how it works (I would mind a YouTube of it’s operation).


  3. kaveman

    here enthusiasts will do much to enhance your knowledge. This is what I am doing.

  4. Mitch L

    “Friends don’t let friends drink bad coffee” — that’s our slogan!

    I like this post because it helps you understand that it’s not an insult if someone brings coffee to your event that is different than your own. Coffee is a social lubricant! It’s greater than just some drink. The wintertime is perfect for relaxing and meeting with good friends. We hope to see more lifestyle posts like this!


  5. French press coffee

    Thanks for this wonderful post, Now I can choose the Best French Press Coffee Maker for me. I love Coffee very much and French Press is one of my favorite. It is Very easy and Convenient to make.

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