Creating a coffee service set

Elegant entertaining

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If you’re having people over, whether for a laid back brunch or a fancy dinner party, it’s nice to be able to offer coffee and tea after the meal (or during, if it’s breakfast). To make entertaining easier and more gracious, create a coffee service set that looks great and is convenient.

At its most basic, a coffee service set includes a coffee pot or carafe, creamer, sugar bowl and cups. They come in a range of styles from basic to sophisticated and can have as many bells and whistles as you like.

Coffee pot

A coffee pot or carafe is a key element to your coffee service set. This isn’t the coffee pot that you made the coffee in. Instead, this is a separate insulated pitcher that keeps the coffee warm as well as fresh tasting (we’ve all had burnt-tasting coffee that sat too long on the heating element). It can be an elegant pot that matches the rest of the coffee set, but a thermos is a great no-frills alternative.

Creamer and sugar bowl

A creamer is the small pitcher that you put milk or cream in. It looks much prettier on the table than a carton of milk and can be replenished as needed. It often comes in a set with a matching sugar bowl, which has a little indentation for a small spoon and is used for sugar or sugar cubes. If you don’t have a sugar bowl, you can serve sugar in a regular small bowl with a spoon.

Coffee cups

One of the most important elements of any coffee service are the coffee cups. If you purchase a complete coffee service set, the cups will likely be dainty mugs with saucers. If you’re just putting together a coffee service set based on what you already have, any mugs or even sturdy paper cups can be used.

Serving tray

While totally optional, a serving tray can be a beautiful addition to your coffee service set that brings the whole thing together, plus it can be really handy for serving. Get one that matches the rest of your coffee set, or if you’re putting a set together from disparate elements a silver or wooden tray will work with most styles.

Additional elements

Besides the big items, there are also a few other details to consider. You’ll need teaspoons for stirring the milk and sugar in the coffee or tea. If you are using sugar cubes you may want small tongs. Since not everyone is a coffee drinker it’s nice to have a small caddy with a few different herbal and caffeinated tea bags in different flavors.

Quick tip: To be a gracious host, always have regular and decaffeinated coffee on hand. Even if you prefer one over the other, it’s nice to be able to offer an option.

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Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer. In addition to writing for Fabulous Foods, Katherine also contributes to various sections of SheKnows She recently released her first cookbook, Puff Pastry at Brunch: 10 Sweet and Savory Recipes to Start Your Morning (Hang Time Press, 2012). Katherine writes about her adventures in food at KatherineMartinelli.com.