After dinner coffee is an art in my opinion and one that we have lost in modern society. Let me elaborate. In years past at dinner parties and finer restaurants, coffee was an expected ending to the dinner. Today, you ask for a cup of coffee in a restaurant and often you get a blank stare, a sigh and a remark that the coffee will have to be brewed. I can’t remember the last time a host or hostess offered a cup of coffee at the end of the meal. Is it just me or have we sunk to a low level of etiquette or is the absence of coffee after dinner due to our level of expectation? In reality, I think the answer is both and let me explain.
I conducted a bit of research on the history of after dinner coffee and found these interesting tidbits. After dinner coffee is still savored in Europe particularly in France and Italy. It is customary after the dessert plates are cleared that the waiter or waitress asks if you would like coffee. Coffee is consumed after the dessert as a customary ending to a meal not with dessert as in the U.S. No rushing out the door after a meal, now I like that idea!
For the consummate host or hostess, etiquette expert Amy Vanderbilt noted that a choice of coffee should be served at the end of a meal. Offer regular and decaffeinated coffee to your guests. Vanderbilt notes the classiest way to serve after dinner coffee: “At the most formal, traditional kind of dinner, at the end of the dessert course, put your napkin on the table, rise and tell the women sitting closest to you to follow you into the living room for after-dinner coffee and liqueurs. On the way, stop to ask if anyone would like to use the bathroom.” Now that sounds exciting right? How many of us attend formal dinners and separate the sexes for after dinner coffee or liqueurs? Perhaps a bit old fashioned but the core of the idea is still applicable. Dinners can and should be social events.
Also, remember that after dinner coffee should be different than your morning coffee. Typically, a dark roast coffee (like our Revenuer) or an espresso (Cattywampus) is an appropriate after dinner coffee. Cups should be small and not a large mug, but more of a demitasse style cup. The art is the type of coffee and manner in which it is served. The whole idea is end the meal with a satisfying cup of coffee. Just a few delicious sips Sounds good right? It is! Try an after dinner coffee and don’t rush away from the meal. It is ok to relax and let the world go by without you for a few minutes.