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Hosting a Holiday Espresso Tasting

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Every winter you probably receive a handful of party invites. From a neighborhood potluck to tree trimming get-togethers, there are plenty of fun events to attend. But why not host your own unique holiday party? If you're looking for something a little different, consider having an espresso tasting. Here's how:

Start with Setup
To make sure everything goes smoothly, you'll need to set everything up in proper order. Place your espresso machine on the counter with a lot of room to one side. Next to it, set up a variety of espresso beans in airtight containers. Stock your fridge with several milks, including non-dairy alternatives, and make or buy whipped cream. Stash a selection of cups and mugs to the other side of the espresso machine for easy grabbing. Also, have some toppings on hand like crushed peppermints, miniature candy canes, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg. 

Prep Your Grinder 
Do you usually use your multi-setting coffee grinder for drip brews? If so, it's important that you clean out the grinding chamber and bean hopper before using it for espresso. This will promote consistency in the beans and reduce the chances of cross contamination. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any coffee dust from the outside of the machine and be sure it has fully ground any beans in the chamber.

"A clean machine is key to consistent espresso taste."

Clean Your Espresso Machine 
Another key part of ensuring your guests enjoy their espresso is having a clean machine. Espresso grinds are super fine and can clog up your machine, leaving a bitter taste. Always clean your frother off with a damp rag immediately after use to prevent milk from clogging it up. The Mr. Coffee® Cafe Barista has a self-clean function, so be sure to make use of it. 

Provide a variety of drinks
One of the many benefits of espresso machines is that you can use them to make personalized drinks for each guest. The majority of people get their same drink every day or every time they go to a coffee shop. This is your chance to show them that you can make the same tasty espresso beverages at home just in time for the holidays. Ask what your neighbor usually drinks and then offer a fun variation. If Bob from next door loves his lattes, make him a cappuccino and see if he likes the thicker foam. When Sally shares that she's a fan of the doppio, create a stunning macchiato complete with a tiny fleur-de-lis in the milk on top and she's sure to enjoy it. And don't forget a drink for the kids! Create Mexican hot chocolates by frothing milk with your Mr. Coffee® Cafe Barista and adding the milk to chocolate shavings and a hint of chile powder.

Consider running a contest among the coffee-lovers to see who can make the best drinks or who can tell a latte from a cappuccino. You'll quickly learn to identify the coffee connoisseurs in your friend group!