Making coffee for the Christmas crowd

If you are a barista, you may have made the mistake of spending the holidays with a group of friends or family whilst being a barista. As all your friends and family are on holidays, it’s obvious that you will love nothing more than to spend your lazy holiday mornings by waking up at dawn’s crack making coffee for a holiday household of 15 or so, each with their own strength, flavour, fat and allergy preference. And time of delivery preference. How lovely that you have this opportunity to exercise your love for the craft in your down time. You should give the accounts and engineers in the house this gift by giving them your receipts and broken electronic equipment to sort out over breakfast. 

But not this year! This is your year to take a stand. Not from brewing everyone coffee, obviously, you remember that paragraph in the contract you signed when joining the hallowed barista guild? The oath you swore in your pre-infusion ceremony? The one that said “thou shalt barist above and beyond the call of duty. Thou shalt answer to every order, anticipate every thought that cries ‘I need a coffee’, when it is in your power and jurisdiction to do so, with prompt and humble service.” It was in the fine print.

Anyway, so while you are inextricably bound to your oath, there are ways of making it easier for yourself. Here’s how:

First and foremost, arm yourself with the tools of the mass coffee consumption trade. Bring an electric grinder, a batch brewer and a thermos. You will receive ridicule for being a coffee snob with too many gadgets and begrudged for taking up too much space in the kitchen (mostly by Uncle Keiran whose taken up all the fridge space with his own ham he bred, fed, shot and under-cured that won’t be ready till 10pm Christmas night, while moving mum’s prawns and oysters to the esky, making for an adventurous Boxing Day lunch).

Pick a well rounded, smooth yet complex blend. Something that can handle a dash of milk, but also splendid to drink black. As ’tis the season, Sparkle Blend will be delightful, but Liberty Blend would also be particularly splendid for the job.

Check the maximum capacity of your batch brewer, and divide this by 16.666666666 etc etc and that will be the weight of beans you’ll need to grind (ratio is 1g coffee : 16.66666g water). For example, if your batch brewer has a 2.5L capacity (lucky you!), you’ll need 150.00006g of coffee.

Grind it up, chuck it in the brewer as per the manufacturer’s instructions, fill it with water to maximum capacity and let ‘er rip! (that is, turn it on). When it’s finished, pour it into the thermos (or mugs if you’re feeling extra servitudeful. But leave them on the bench. Handing them out is ill advised, as it invites requests for specific milk additions, sugar requirements, and requests to ‘just zap it in the microwave for 15 secs thanks love”) and raise your arms and your voice and proclaim “coffee is served!”. Wait for the applause to die down, then point to the mugs on the bench, point to the thermos, point to the fridge where the milk is kept, point to the shelf where the coffee is, everyone should know where the cutlery draw is by now, then grab yourself a brew and get the heck out of there. Enjoy your morning, satisfied you are a happiness begetter and oath keeper.

In the evening, if by some miracle there’s some left over, chuck it in the fridge for tomorrow’s SOGAB (Sipping On Gin And Brew. I made it up just now but you can have it for free). Fill a highball glass with ice, in go two dashes cold brew, two dashes gin, a squeeze of lemon, and topped up with tonic. Sogab, so good.