Christmas means many things to many people, but it will come as no surprise that at Lincoln & York, Christmas means coffee. For us in the UK, a mug of hot sunshine from Brazil, Costa Rica or Colombia is the perfect way to warm up those cold winter mornings. However, not content with stopping at the morning cuppa or after-dinner drink, we've come up with some more suggestions of what else you can do with your brew this Christmas…
01: COFFEE GIFTS
The gift of coffee at Christmas can take many forms; from a gift card for your favourite hot drink, to a voucher for a local coffee house, from a homemade hamper to a tour of a roastery. Beyond unwrapping the card or box, however, this is the gift that truly keeps on giving … on a cold, rainy Monday when the recipient waits in line for their latte (paid for by their voucher) to a weekend in March when the hamper helps fuel a Spring clean, to a summery Saturday when your friend or family member takes a trip to their local roastery.
Instead of the traditional ‘bring a bottle’ when you visit friends and family over Christmas, why not present them with a packet of your preferred coffee blend? They’ll appreciate something different, and they’ll be even more grateful the morning after the night before!
02: COFFEE COCKTAILS
Like all the best cocktails, these coffee concoctions come with a twist. Most of us are very familiar with liqueur coffees (Irish = whisky, Calypso = rum, Caribbean = Tia Maria), espresso martinis and white Russians, but how about mixing it up this year? Add a measure of cold brew to your Christmas morning virgin or bloody Mary, serve coffee and eggnog for festive guests, add some C to your G&T, and – for a new take on an ‘old-fashioned’ nightcap – brew some coffee to go with bourbon, bitters, brown sugar and twist of orange. See some more easy recipes for hard coffee here.
(Ho, ho, oh and … Think deliciously, drink responsibly)
03, (04, 05 and 06): COFFEE TASTING
They used to say you get nothing for a pair, but these Christmas coffee pairings are everything. Using the Lincoln & York flavour wheel, we’ve come up with four festive flavour combinations to couple up with your coffee:
Drink FRUITY (berry-like, citrus, stoned fruit, dried fruit, tropical) with mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding.
Thomas Hirst from the Lincoln & York coffee team adds:
“Light roasts and naturally-processed coffee’s enhance the fruity flavour a coffee bean gains from the skin in the natural drying process.”
“African, Central American and Colombian Natural coffees are intensely fruity. Natural Ethiopia is full of tropical fruit, dried fruit and berries, with syrupy body, heavy and wine-like. Washed African coffees are also fruity, with emphasis on berry-like acidity; think Rwanda, Congo, Tanzania and Kenya.”
Drink SAVOURY (malt, buttery, pepper, tobacco, spice) with a classic cheese board, crackers (cheesy joke optional) and chutneys.
“Medium roasts are most suitable to draw out the character and savoury flavour of the roast. Indian coffees in general excel here, with flavours of tobacco, malt and spice.
“Sumatra and Java, in Indonesia, are the go-to origins for a heavy body with cocoa, dried fruit and a spiced, peppery finish. Aged coffees like Monsoon Malabar from India and Old Brown Java are intensely savoury, with spicy undertones and low acidity.”
Drink SWEET (honey, nuts, caramel, vanilla, chocolate) as you plough through piles of miniature chocolates for maximum flavour.
“In-between processes such as honey, semi-washed and pulped natural are most suitable as you attain the sweetness and body you would expect from a natural process, without the bold fruit flavours from the skin.”
“Brazilian coffee isn’t that fruity in the first place, so naturally processed Brazils are perfect for sweet – chocolate, nuts and caramel, however Costa Rica Honey is the sweetest; tasting just like treacle.”
Drink FLORAL (perfumed, tea like, botanical, herbal, jasmine) with some saintly satsumas, lighter lunches of shaved sprout salad and citrus-dressed slaws with cold cuts and cranberry sauce.
“Washed coffees – such as the elegant and complex washed Ethiopia or light-bodied, citrusy washed Panama – are the best as the flavours intrinsic to the seed are communicated more clearly.
“More of the flavour is gained from origin, altitude, varietal and the soil, therefore, floral notes are intrinsically-contained within coffees from certain origins.
“The Arabica varietal ‘Geisha’ is a premium, highly sought after and highly expensive type and predominantly floral in the cup.”
07: CRAFT BREW
All the festivities can be full-on, especially for families with young children. When you’ve been beaten by the battery-powered toys and you’re sick of siblings fighting over screens, it’s time to turn to some more wholesome activities. Make some coffee (including one for yourself) and use it to paint and stain crafts such as thank-you cards and winter landscapes. Coffee is also the perfect dye for stained tablecloths, napkins and aprons. Depending on the original colour of the fabric, you can transform it into tones ranging from jute to taupe to sepia.
08: COFFEE RUB
Some people look forward to the Boxing Day buffet even more than Christmas dinner. Dinner parties and get-togethers over the holidays range from oh-so-simple to elaborate and extravagant, but there’s something that fits the bill for both: use ground coffee with dried herbs and spices such as paprika, garlic powder, chilli, cumin, cinnamon and coriander, with plenty of salt and pepper, as a tasty tenderiser for beef, ribs, ham, chicken thighs and wings, or aubergine, king oyster mushrooms or sweetcorn. Coat the meat (or veg) in something sticky like mustard first or use the mixture as a dry rub. Slow cook while you watch Christmas re-runs and get the pickles and chutneys ready.
09: ANOTHER COFFEE RUB
Coffee rubs don’t just make a delicious ingredient, they can be used as a luxurious exfoliant for a pre-party pamper, a post-festivity self-care session, or quite simply because you deserve it. Add coffee grounds to a ‘carrier’ oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, shower oil or even baby oil and apply to your skin in the shower or before a bath. You can even keep some in a pot next to the sink to scrub your hands when the cold weather gets its grip on your mitts. Just wash them with soap afterwards!
Tasty as it may smell, please don’t eat your coffee scrub and avoid contact with the eyes and face.
10: AND FINALLY, MAKE YOUR BREW TIME INTO 'YOU TIME' …
Many people feel busier than Father Christmas over the winter season and even a Santa’s sackful of beans wouldn’t be enough to fuel the festivities. Do yourself a favour and find some time everyday (we find the morning works well so you don’t forget later in the day) to sit and savour your favourite coffee. Drink it while it’s hot, from your preferred mug. Let yourself enjoy the luxury. Then get on with the wrapping, posting, cooking, and everything else on the to-do list.
A very merry Christmas from all at Lincoln & York, and a happy, healthy, coffee-filled new year.