Thanksgiving Coffee Survival Guide

Let me paint a little picture for you of my holiday...I travel the long, arduous 25-minute drive from Nashville to Brentwood the night before Thanksgiving and awaken the next morning to the alluring scent of coffee cake and bacon...the fire is lit and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on. The stage is set for the perfect Thanksgiving morning (pre cooking-chaos). Then the question comes: “Do you want some coffee?” which, as we all know, should be a rhetorical question because the answer is always an emphatic “YES!” The slow walk towards the freezer begins...out of which comes a bag of pre-ground “Bold Roast” from some ambiguous origin. A few heaping scoops and some bubbling and gurgling of the pot and you’ve got a steaming hot cup of...something! Don’t get me wrong, this is not an attempt to be ungrateful (this IS the time for gratefulness, after all!) and it’s not an ego-stroking “my palate is just more sophisticated than yours” moment, but this is a safe space where we can all agree - it’s not ideal.

Regardless of what your Thanksgiving holiday looks like this year, there is likely something about this week that you’re excitedly awaiting. Unfortunately, unless you’re one of the lucky ones, one thing you are probably not looking forward to is the coffee scene wherever you’re going. Whether you’re completely reliant on your local coffee shop for your daily dose and dreading its closing (Hey! We all need a day off every now and then!) or traveling to stay with someone who is...well…”less particular” about their coffee than you are, we’re all familiar with the feeling of “if only I was drinking good coffee right now.” Every fireside seems less cozy, every piece of pie lacks flavor...holidays without good coffee are like life without love.

You have three options at this point:

1) Grin and bear it! After all, we’re not here to “poo-poo” what other people like. Dive right in and enjoy the camaraderie in sharing a “cuppa joe” with Pappa Joe.

2) Go for the extras! We all know a little flavored creamer can go a LONG way in this context and this is the time for it! Pick your poison…Peppermint Mocha? Pumpkin Spice? Caramel “Macchiato?” It may not taste like coffee, but it WILL taste like home. Sometimes that means more than being delicious..

3) Follow these simple Tips For Surviving Thanksgiving Coffee:

a) PREPARE - If you’re anything like me, maybe you’ve begun resorting to cramming $200 worth of equipment into a brown paper bag to carry cautiously to your destination. Let’s make that a bit easier on you (and your equipment).

i) CASE: Arrive in style! You’re sure to garner a certain distinction and gasps as you open your very own coffee case with everything one needs to thrive in this coffee desert. You’ll look like a pro but without the cost with Harbor Freight’s Black Aluminum case ($26).

ii) GRINDERS: Instead of carrying your precious burr grinder around, snag an inexpensive hand grinder, like this one or the even better Lido (early gift to yourself?!). It will double as delicious coffee insurance and your Thanksgiving workout!

iii) PARE DOWN: Don’t bring an entire box of filters - estimate how much coffee you will make at most and bring that many filters with you. Same goes for coffee - if you’re only going somewhere for a day or two, don’t bring 2 full-size bags of coffee. Weigh out what you expect to brew and bring only that. Do you really need a decanter or can you brew from your Kalita Wave directly into your cup? Do you need multiple brewing methods or can you settle on one? The six cup Chemex is our recommendation for the holidays because you can brew a large batch for sharing! Which leads us to our next point…

b) SHARE - If brewing my own coffee around large groups has taught me anything, it’s that people will want to join in! It’s always best to poll the crowd before getting started, but expect to share at least one or two cups with those around you. For those moments, we recommend this recipe which will allow for 4 6-oz cups - the perfect accompaniment for dessert.

c) CARE - The holidays are a special time to spend with people you love or exercise self-care by giving yourself some love. Either way, coffee fits perfectly into this scenario. Self-care can take many forms, but sometimes it means packing a little extra equipment so that you can take a moment to yourself with a cup of your favorite coffee. It’s also important to remember that this is a great opportunity to show you care by teaching people about something delicious while still remembering that everyone has their preferences - “to each his own” is entirely relevant in this context. Enjoy it on your own or enjoy it with others. Either way, ENJOY IT!

We are mobile brewing experts! We’ve assembled a list of must-haves for mobile merriment or can customize and build a mobile brewing kit for your specific adventure needs, hit us up at

We here at CREMA wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings full of joy, heartfelt gratefulness and hopefully GOOD COFFEE!