Growing up, there was always coffee in my house. I was raised by an avid coffee drinker who was raised by an even bigger coffee fan, so there was always a fresh pot on when guests arrived. Since I was surrounded by women who drank coffee not leisurely but as a sport, they weren’t afraid to sip on a cup with a 3 p.m. snack or even post-dinner, as the caffeine didn’t affect them the way it might a fair-weather coffee fan.
As an adult, I’ve realized that even though there’s no room for decaf coffee in my diet, I should always have it at the ready. Why? Because like any gracious hostess knows, it’s all about the guest.
Whether you’re hosting a formal dinner party, wine and dessert with the girls, afternoon tea, or a bridal shower, you should always have decaf coffee (and/or tea) available to serve. I’m not telling you to buy a Costco-sized package of something you don’t drink yourself, but it’s nice to offer decaf options for guests who prefer it or have diet restrictions that require it over caffeinated drinks.
If you were at a nice restaurant, coffee would be offered along with dessert. Unless your company is like my family who isn’t deterred by a 9 p.m. cup of caffeine, most diners will opt for a bit of decaf to offset their rich chocolate mousse. Having these options will make your guests as comfortable as they might be at a white-tablecloth establishment. You don’t have to turn your kitchen into a Starbucks and offer non-fat, pumpkin-spice, oat-milk, half-whip, double-shot insanity—a simple “decaf or regular?” will do.
Remember: It’s about making your guests feel cozy, happy, and right at home. Small, personal details like handwriting place cards and taking note of diet restrictions, sensitivities, and preferences are the things that make a good hostess a great one.
WATCH: Etiquette Tips All Southerners Should Know
Whether host or guest, we could all use an etiquette refresher. Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays, Southern etiquette experts and authors of Being Dead Is No Excuse, Somebody Is Going To Die if Lilly Beth Doesn't Catch That Bouquet, and Some Day You'll Thank Me for This, have all the manners advice you need.