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With Thanksgiving arriving next week, it officially signals the beginning of holiday entertaining. As guests come into your home, you might want to think about setting up a coffee or beverage station where they can help themselves. This is especially nice when offering an assortment of rich desserts.

Here are some easy tips for setting up a coffee station:

For guests to dress up individual cups of coffee, set out bowls of cream, sugar cubes, red-hot candies, cinnamon sticks, purchased chocolate stirrers, vanilla and almond extracts, and ground spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

Other stir-in ideas include grated chocolate, whipped cream, cocoa powder, chocolate syrup and orange or peppermint extracts.

To flavor an entire pot of coffee, sprinkle coffee grounds with orange or lemon peel or ground cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger before brewing.

The flavor of coffee begins to diminish within an hour after it’s made and leaving coffee on the heating element accelerates the problem. To keep coffee fresh and hot, transfer it to a carafe or thermos that has been preheated with hot water.

Only make as much coffee as needed and avoid reheating coffee, which can make it bitter.

For 12 people, you need about 1/4 pound of coffee and three quarts of water. For 25 people, you need about 1/2 pound of coffee and one and a half gallons of water. For best flavor start with cold, fresh tap water.

For those who aren’t coffee drinkers, have a carafe of hot water with a selection of cider and chocolate packets or tea bags available.

Happy Entertaining!

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