Tag Archives: coffee cups

How to set up a hot beverage station for your morning ‘brew’.

A place for coffee in your kitchen

It’s so easy to create a place for coffee or tea in your kitchen.

We all have our routines that we follow in the morning.  It might be that you jump up and head straight to the gym with just a bottle of water to get you going with the knowledge that you’ll enjoy your breakfast and whatever hot beverage you like after your work out – as sort of a reward.

Or, you might be like my friend who has a small 2-cup coffee maker on the night stand next to her bed that she sets up before she goes to sleep at night.  That way when she wakes up (not really even opening her eyes) she just leans over, flips the start switch and within a few minutes she has her first cup of coffee ready.

That would be great for some, but for someone like me who takes milk or cream in their coffee or a tea drinker that would need hot water it wouldn’t work so well.  We still have to get out of bed to prepare our morning ‘brew’.

If your cups and mugs are in one spot in your kitchen, the coffee, tea, sweeteners in multiple other spots, the coffee, espresso maker or tea kettle in another you are taking multiple steps in your kitchen that are absolutely not necessary.  And, especially if you are half-awake and this is your first cup of the morning, you definitely want to keep the whole process as quick and uncomplicated as possible.

My tip: Set up an area in your kitchen that is organized for this one specific task – a coffee or tea station with everything you need within reach.

Place your espresso maker, French Press, or Chemex coffee maker in the most convenient spot on your counter (don’t forget the Chemex filters and your espresso pods).  In the cabinet directly above place all of your coffee mugs, espresso cups and saucers and tea cups and saucers.  If you are a tea drinker have your favorite tea sachets or loose tea canisters with a tea infuser in the same spot.  Keep a small bowl with whatever favorite sweeteners you use (if you use any!) there as well.  Everything is within easy reach.

Remember you might be half asleep when you stumble into the kitchen to make your coffee in the morning.  If everything is within reach, in a defined area, you have just made the time it takes to make your first cup that much quicker and easier.  And, saving those extra steps gives you a bit more time to savor your first cup and slowly start to wake up to the new day.  You’ll wonder why you didn’t do this all before!

The Making of a Beautiful Morning Coffee Service

coffee service

How to make your morning more beautiful with the perfect way to serve coffee.

I’d love to share a food memory with you. It was several years ago on one of my many trips to Italy and I was staying in a really lovely hotel in Palermo. Early in the morning, my room steward would appear at my door with a beautiful pewter coffee service. I would open the window and let the morning breeze mix with the smell of fresh coffee.  The morning view from my window, the amazing cup of Italian coffee, and the special feeling of enjoying my first cup from the beautiful coffee service was nothing short of heavenly.  The feeling was so warm and happy that I decided I’d take that feeling home.

Today, one of my favorite morning rituals is that first cup of coffee in the morning. Sometimes with the windows open overlooking Beverly Hills. Maybe not as exotic a morning view as some other places I’ve seen, but the feeling of Palermo is still with me.  I make it that way with a special coffee service and setting just for that purpose. Since then, I’ve collected several coffee services to match different moods: pewter, antique silver (I have several of those), white porcelain, and glass.

It’s the start that makes my whole day more beautiful and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’ve told this story to several of my clients who want a unique way to make their mornings stand-out as a perfect beginning for the rest of their day. What makes the act special is using an elegant tray with a hot pot of coffee or tea, service bowls of cream and sugar and lovely cups and saucers. You can add toast or biscuits, but the way you serve yourself that steaming hot service of your favorite coffee or tea is what makes it special—at least for me, it does.

Some of my clients and friends who have taken on the habit now take their Espresso or English Breakfast in bed, sometimes at a morning table. They’ve made it a special event with a style they love. And there are so many styles to choose from, with mixed materials, patterns, and colors.

One of my clients loves the retro look and found a 1960s deco style silver coffee service at her local flea market that completely matches her style. Another friend who is a true antique collector found a vintage service from the 1920s that’s truly lovely. But there are so many other ways to make that simple act in the morning more beautiful.

Alessi makes an absolutely perfect espresso maker, but you may be partial to a lovely pewter pot from Match 1955. If you love modern design, see Muriel Grateau, or Bernardaud for a more painterly or romantic style. Don’t forget the cups and saucers.  Everything doesn’t have to be in the same pattern – the mixing of patterns can make it more interesting.

Pull it all together with exquisite trays, bowls, and flatware from Christofle, Hermes Tableware, Lifetime Brands, or Ercuis, perhaps with cloths and napkins from Bodrum Linens. And if you happen to live in the Los Angeles area want to take in an even broader view of possibilities for the pieces you love, take a trip to Gearys. You can see many of these items on my video.

I’ve heard that the act of serving yourself—as though you are a guest at a favorite hotel—evokes high energy satisfaction that can trickle into everything you do. So, start it off right and begin your day beautifully every day.

In Search of the Perfect Coffee Mug

Fran Berger's coffee mugs

What are the qualities that sets one coffee mug apart from all the others?

Ever notice how we collect coffee mugs? And we all have different reasons not just for accumulating them but also for keeping them.

I have a friend who has an embarrassingly large collection of Disney mugs. A few of them are rare and pricey (for coffee mugs) on the collector market. Her favorite is a mug she got when she was a kid in the 1960s. It has a 3D raised image of the castle and the handle looks like a tree limb. She said she stopped using it when she found out that it is considered “extremely rare” and sells for $200 in auctions.

One friend collects mugs as she and her husband travel around the country and Europe. Another friend collects mugs with clever slogans and movie quotes. Her favorite is a black mug she’s been using for years that she says is an ‘original’ “Make my day” mug. You must believe her – I mean who keeps track of something like that? One coffee mug collector I know is a mathematics professor, and she has mugs that have math jokes on them. Seriously, do math jokes exist?

I admit that I have my own embarrassing collection of mugs. Well, I don’t REALLY collect them. They just seem to collect themselves as gifts and party favors, events I’ve attended, and so on. We all have them.  And, every so often, I realize I’m running out of room and I have to go through and get rid of the ones I don’t care for. So, when I noticed that I was keeping only ones that I thought were functional it got me started thinking about what makes a perfect coffee mug.

Everyone has different tastes in coffee mugs. But when you’re entertaining guests, you want to think about form and function rather than the clever design or the artwork imprinted on them. It’s important to think of the guests you’ll be entertaining – you want the mugs to be comfortable for use.

Hand size is so important. Different cups and mugs fit differently for everyone. We’ve all been to events where they serve coffee in a little cup. Some have handles that are so small that it’s hard to hold. If you can manage to slip a finger into the dainty little ‘ring’, there’s no good place to balance the weight of the cup with your thumb once it’s filled with hot coffee.  They have terrible balance!

I think that a perfect coffee mug is one that holds 8 to 16 ounces of liquid and is comfortable for the drinker. You shouldn’t have to hold the rim of the cup with your other hand just so the hot liquid won’t spill. You shouldn’t have to place your hand under it to stabilize it as you sip. It ought to comfortable holding in one hand.

If you’re looking for a set, pick one up and think about how it feels in ‘resting balance’: is it too heavy without anything in it? Is it so out of balance, even when empty, that there’s no place to put your thumb for counter-balance.  Does it feel natural enough so that when it’s full of hot liquid you won’t struggle keeping the cup upright and straight? If you want a taller mug, look for ones that fit more than one finger in the handle. Generally, a mug should also have enough balance so that it when full it won’t accidentally tip over.

Take a look at my video and you’ll see a wide variety of mugs and cups. Some with big handles, some with small ones. I have a few that don’t have any handles at all. Unless you’re a collector of novelties, you’ll want to think about function and how that mug will look and feel in your and your guests’ hands.