You’re at a friend’s home for a formal dinner (Thanksgiving, for example). Dessert is on its way. Why does your hostess ask if anyone wants coffee with their pumpkin pie?
Or you’re at a nice restaurant. Many of you at the table decide you want dessert. You give your order to your waiter and then he asks if you’d like a cup of coffee with it.
Why does this happen? How did coffee with one’s dessert become a “thing”?
Hard to pin down the actual why, when and how, but here we go:
The history of why people drink coffee after dinner at all is somewhat obscure, but many people believe it got started because drinking it before dinner could kill your appetite somewhat. In addition, coffee’s somewhat bitter taste (so long as it’s not laden with cream and sweeteners) pairs well with the sugariness of dessert.
Formal etiquette actually calls for coffee to be served after dessert at private parties. Emily Post back in 1922 in her Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home, stipulated that “[b]lack coffee is never served at a fashionable dinner table, but is brought afterwards with cigarettes and liqueurs into a drawing-room for the ladies, and with cigars, cigarettes and liqueurs into the smoking room for the gentlemen.”
However, breakfast and lunch were different matters. It’s a bit unclear in the 1922 Etiquette, but it appears that hot coffee could have been poured at formal luncheons right at the table by the hostess herself. However, if an informal luncheon is held in the summer, “cold coffee, instead of tea, is passed around in a glass pitcher…. . The guests pour their coffee to suit themselves into tall glasses half full of broken ice, and furnished with very long-handled spoons.”
The move to coffee with dessert.
Unfortunately, it’s very hard to find with even a small bit of certainty when coffee served with dessert started. It’s now very common at informal dinner parties or gatherings and, while extremely formal parties often follow the pattern of coffee after dessert (and not until after the dessert plates have been cleared away), it’s become more and more common for the question “who wants coffee with your dessert?” to be heard constantly in restaurants and homes.
It’s probably come about as a natural consequence of our society’s much more relaxed way of doing things, even “formal” things such as eating at sit-down dinners or in higher-class restaurants.
Whether you’re a restaurant looking for great premium, fair trade coffee to serve to your patrons, of if you’re planning a big family and friend get together (with or without dessert) soon, consider offering Ubean Coffee. Contact us to find a distributor near you.