Well, it’s that time of year again. Carefully skirting contentious topics to keep Aunt Lucy from crying again this year. Awkward mornings where everyone wakes up and silently thinks to themselves, “So what now?”
Seeing family at the holidays isn’t always a grand old time. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, sometimes we have to sacrifice the deeply-felt sass for a more welcoming atmosphere, and sometimes you’re just not sure what to say to keep the conversation going.
But here’s the thing: family is worth it.
It’s healthy and good to connect with people we’re related to, even though they may have different political opinions, unrelatable lifestyles, and strange ideas about social norms.
There’s something intangible that makes family relationships special, unbound by normal friendship rules and more enduring than other relationships. And that’s why we think it’s important to build these connections.
We’re sure you can guess one of our favorite ways to foster them…
Yup, those brown beans are actually very helpful in creating connection between you and your distant cousins you only see once every two years.
Let’s explore five ways you can use coffee to make the upcoming holidays less awkward, more fun, and better everyone’s relationships.
1. Coffee’s The Perfect Morning Icebreaker
You know what it’s like on some mornings when family’s over. Everyone slowly wakes up, wanders to the kitchen looking for food, and sits around, waiting for someone to do or suggest something interesting.
This is when you need an icebreaker.
But instead of asking everyone’s favorite hobby or a fact nobody else knows about them, we suggest pulling out your fancy coffee or weird brewing gear.
Nothing gets the conversation flowing quite like a manual coffee brewer.
Now that everyone’s talking about how they make coffee, the weirdness is gone and casual, relatable conversation has arrived. Nice!
Pro Tip: This strategy is also great for chill afternoons when family awakens from food-induced naps.
2. Smooth Disagreements With Something Everyone Can Get Behind
No family thinks alike on everything, and there’s bound to be a few disagreements—and that’s okay. Challenging each other’s ideas and opinions is healthy as long as we can pull it back in at the end of the day and remember why we’re all together in the first place.
And coffee’s a great way to accomplish that.
Next time things get heated, offer to make everyone coffee. This signals a few things:
- There’s more to the relationship than the current discussion
- Maybe it’s time to slow down just a bit
- There’s one big thing we all have in common: a love for good coffee
If your hands are wrapped around a warm mug, they can’t be making clenched fists. And if we can all get behind a love for coffee, we really should be able to do anything.
3. Host A Casual Coffee Tasting
Sometimes it’s hard to find activities that everyone will enjoy, but who can’t get behind tasting different coffees? Even grandma who’s been drinking the same roast for twenty years will be willing to give some different beans a try.
But there’s certainly a wrong way to go about this activity at family gatherings.
Don’t use special cupping cups and expect everyone to slurp tiny amounts of coffee.
Do just brew a few coffees, pour them into mugs, hand them out, and start tasting.
Don’t use unusual tasting notes like “chocolate milk from a cow that’s eaten only 4-leaf clovers for the last six months”.
Do keep the discussion relatable by using tasting notes everyone can understand, like “dark chocolate” or “citrus”.
Don’t make everyone write down scores for acidity, body, and aftertaste.
Do just let them enjoy their mug without being a snob about it.
This is more of an afternoon activity. Trust us, do not try to exchange everyone’s morning cup of coffee with an involved tasting!
4. Craft Energizing Evening Drinks
A glass of wine or beer is another great way to find commonality with family in the evening, but sometimes it’s just the same-old, same old. There’s a really fun way to add some pizzazz back into evening imbibing.
Not everyone loves a good cocktail, but they’ll probably be willing to give it a shot since you’re making them. Here are some of our favorites.
- Cold Brew / Espresso Martini
- Cold Brew Hot Toddy
- Cold Fashioned
You can find some of our favorite cold brew cocktail recipes here.
Practice making a few of these before family arrives so you know your way around the ingredients and technique when it’s showtime.
5. Give A Gift You Can Enjoy Together
Gift-giving holidays can get a little weird. What are you supposed to get your cousin Mary who has everything? What about Uncle Darrell who you know nothing about?
Everyone loves coffee.
(Well, not everyone, but it’s about as good of a guess as it gets!)
And the cool thing about coffee beans is that it’s a gift you can enjoy alongside the person who’s receiving. You can tell them about the beans, why you picked them, and what makes them special.
Bonus points if you offer to whip out your french press and brew a couple mugs. Talking about coffee is one thing, but tasting it is another—and there’s virtually zero chance they’ll decline a cup because there’s something essential about a warm mug of coffee at family gatherings.
We’re not trying to sugarcoat anything. Family can be is hard.
But nothing good in life comes without some effort, without some intentionality, without some focus. Including good family relationships.
You don’t have to simply endure the holidays—and we think these five coffee tricks are a great place to start when it comes to making family fun again.
Of course, to really maximize the effect, you don’t want to just grab any old bag of the shelf. Find a bag of coffee you actually enjoy and are proud of. Then it’s not only beans you’re sharing with your family, but a small part of yourself.
We suggest checking out the JavaPresse Coffee Club. Our beans are sourced from high-impact sustainable farms, are roasted to maximize unique and interesting flavors, and are shipped your way just two hours after being roasted—allowing you to enjoy the beans at peak freshness and flavor.
Your family won’t believe what uber fresh coffee tastes like (notes of flowers, spices, and even fruits!).
Want to be the awkwardness-killing, coffee-providing hero this year?