How to Set Up a Holiday Coffee Bar

How to Set Up a Holiday Coffee Bar
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This post was created in partnership with Ninja Coffee Bar® System. I received complimentary products and compensation to facilitate my review, but all opinions within are my own.

It's no secret. I 've got a big ol' crush on coffee. Coffee shops, coffee drinks, coffee smells. I'll take it all! Fancy coffee drinks out is one of our favorite treats and visiting coffee shops is one of our favorite ways to see a new city. There's just something so inviting and comforting about the culture, scents and tastes surrounding coffee.

Unfortunately, there can also be a big cost involved in coffee culture. Getting a latte out is an expense that can quickly add up. We've always done our best to replicate fancy drinks at home, keeping various toppings on hand and even having a hand frother, but still it wasn't quite the same. Until recently, when everything changed. Ok, that sounds far more dramatic than it probably needed to, but we're talking about coffee here, people. All the drama is allowed!

So recently, the new Ninja Coffee Bar® System came into our lives and up and changed the entire coffee game. YOU GUYS. This thing is amazing (and I'm not just saying that because this is a sponsored post). I'm 1000% obsessed/can't-get-enough/madly-deeply-in-love with this dream machine. It's like my own personal barista and coffee shop all rolled up into one little machine that fits perfectly into a corner of my kitchen counter and does whatever it is I need it to do. Want a travel mug of coffee? That mug will fit right underneath. How about a single cup of coffee? No pods necessary to get it. Need a half pot of coffee? You got it. Need a whole pot to serve a crowd (and keep it warm, too)? No problem. Prefer your coffee brewed over ice? There's a setting for that, too. And one for coffee concentrate (think espresso) for your speciality drinks. So for those of you not keeping track that's six brew sizes and five brew types. You can set a timer to have your coffee start brewing at a certain time, there's a no-drip feature you can pop on to prevent those awful straggling drops of coffee from burning to the bottom of your coffee maker, and there's even a scoop (with perfect measurements for every type of coffee you'd want to make) that is stored neatly on the side. But, my absolute hands-down favorite part is the milk frother. I love this thing so much that I legit started just frothing milk, like not for coffee, just for frothed milk, because that's totally normal, right?! But I mean, you guys. This thing is so cool! It froths the milk, hot or cold in less than a minute. It's super quiet and easy to use. It simply swings out from the side of the machine and then, when you're done, the frother easily twists off for cleaning. Because the machine doesn't need to be on for it to be used, you can even froth milk for tea (Love it for my chai tea lattes!) or hot chocolate (which takes it to a whole other decadent level), or, if you're just obsessed with finally being able to make thick, creamy, dreamy, whipped cream-like frothed milk right at home, then you can simply make your milk frothed. I mean, who knew something so simple could bring so much joy?!

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While the machine is great all on its own, we decided to jazz up the space a bit for the holidays. It's perfect for hosting, or even if we have last-minute guests drop by, and it's rather simple to set up. You just use a few decorative items you already have on hand, add in some fun mugs and seasonal coffee toppings and you're good to go. For us personally, here are some of the things we used:

  • A wooden tray
  • A plaid scarf used as a tablecloth 
  • Wooden coasters
  • Pine tree candles (you could also use other pine trees)
  • An ornament
  • Pinecones
  • Pine sprigs
  • Mini lights
  • Plaid mugs
  • Gold spoons
  • Candy canes
  • Crushed peppermint bark (To keep this fresh for longer, store it on the tray in a mini wreck jar)

You could also keep out things like coffee syrups, caramel or chocolate sauce, chopped nuts, crushed candy pieces, mini marshmallows,  chocolate chips or little bottles of things like Bailey's or Kahlua, for an extra-special spiked treat for the adults.  For stirrers, you could also have rock candy sticks or chocolate covered spoons. The options really are endless.

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Once we get everything all set-up and festive, naturally we had to indulge, so we concocted one of my favorite winter coffee drinks (and a total holiday crowd pleaser), peppermint mochas. With our new machine it's finally easy enough to make a coffeehouse drink right at home and it will be easier to make them for multiple people than it ever has before. Here's what we did:

Add a tablespoon of chocolate chips to the bottom of a mug. Use your choice of coffee to brew a specialty concentrate into the mug. Add a drop of peppermint flavor (or, for a spiked version, use a good splash of peppermint schnapps) and stir until the chocolate has melted. Meanwhile, in a separate container, heat up the milk in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Froth for 30-45 seconds, or until you reach the desired thickness. Gently pour the milk into the coffee. Top with crushed peppermint bark and garnish with a candy cane.

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What's your favorite coffee drink? Because soon you're going to be able to brew it up right at home! That's right! I'm giving away one of these nifty little Ninja Coffee Bar® System to one of you lucky readers of mine. It's fairly simple to enter (there are 3 different ways) so check it out below, get yourself entered and get ready for your coffee/morning/life to change!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & ConditionsOne participant will win one (1) Ninja Coffee Bar® System (ARV $200).Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as a part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central and must reside in the United States.Winner will be contacted via email and announced at the bottom of this post once the giveaway has ended.