Sunday, February 10, 2008
Many of us out there struggle special occasion to special occasion to come up with something creative and original to do for the one we love. Any more, the individual that shows up with a box of chocolates and a dozen roses is better off to come a calling with a crazed badger in tow and a rusty rake in hand (the badger and the rake will at least generate a story).
To alleviate such stress, I personally try to keep my thinker (brain) running year-round so to generate some random ideas for such occasions as the upcoming February the 14th. But since my wife sparingly sips from the tankard of coffee (she's more into tea), I decided I'd post a couple ideas for Valentines Day involving coffee that would otherwise go to waste.
One obvious similarity in all of the points is that you use quality coffee (I will make some specific suggestions but if you're at a loss for a substitution/similarity, hopefully you're not to far from a coffee-wise peddler). Remember, thoughts count but don't ever try to woo with something pre-ground out of a can...
Anyways, here's what I got:
1. The age-old breakfast in bed, but take it up a notch. Read up on some food blogs on how to make a good omelette, where to get the right berries to top some waffles, and of course concoct some good coffee. Depending on tastes, I'd go with a full-bodied medium coffee (Crescent Moon in Mullica Hill has an Ethiopian Amaro Gayo that has a beautiful fusion of strong flavor and beautiful berry tones that would make an excellent morning brew).
2. If you're in charge of the dinner plans that evening and you decide you're staying in, try your hand at coffee pairing. Many coffees mesh beautifully with different foods (this past edition of Imbibe had a very enlightening article on the subject) so why not pair some homemade treats with a cup of exquisite coffee? If you have a french press or vacuum press, make sure to utilize it; the ensuing coffee will hold flavors that otherwise would have been left behind. Also note that it's always safer to pair coffee with desserts then with non-desserts, so unless you're feeling confident don't do coffee and dinner (experiment with pairing at a time of less pressure).
3. Surprise him/her at work with a thermos of coffee you just brewed moments ago or with a cup from their favorite place that's nowhere near work. Heads up: if you work at the same time, you will need to figure out how you're escaping from work in order to do this.
4. If you have a significant other that only likes the smell of coffee, grind up some coffee and place it around your domicile in small bowls right before they arrive.
5. Try cooking a meal with coffee as the common ingredient. I stumbled across this free e-book (in this case over 100 coffee recipes in a pdf) though I've seen plenty more recipes out there (depends where you look and what blogs you read).
6. If you're sweetie is a huge coffee snob, why not go with him/her to a coffee cupping? Chances are you're near a coffee roaster that cups every Friday (Crescent Moon, Gimme!, Counter Culture, etc). For a longer list, try the Coffee Geek World Regional Forums.
7. If you know/have access to a coffee roaster or if you/your honey home roasts, name a coffee blend (make sure it's good) after him/her. And for the love of donuts, give it a good name too; something that incorporates your snookie wookums (for example, if you affectionately refer to your better half as "Helga", try a name like "Helga's Hair Straightener").
8. If you have an espresso machine and you know how to do latte art, make him/her a latte or cappuccino with a cute heart atop.
9. Coffee beans make great decor and accent pieces. Make a coffee heart on the table or accent your chocolate-laced parfait with a crush coffee bean topping. If throwing coffee beans on your furniture is all you have planned for the coffee you buy, you can go with the cheap stuff (avoid oily dark roasts though; lots and lots of residue).
If you have any of your own, feel free to post them in a comment.