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Question: Wine or Coffee After a Meal?

I'm working on an article and I would love to get some input from chowhounders. After you are done with a meal, do you reach for wine or coffee more often?

What are the factors that make you go one way or another?

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    1. re: dinwiddie

      I should qualify my reply to say that I often have Port , a Sauterne, or other dessert wine with (or for) dessert, but then I still normally finish with coffee or espresso.

    2. I enjoy taking my time, finishing the wine I had with dinner, then getting an espresso. I hate it when restaurants try to rush you into dessert.

      1. lunch/brunch, will finish with a coffee (espresso)

        dinner 50% of the time will finish the wine with the dessert; and depending on the night and if I'm doing something else after, will get an espresso.

        1. As much as I would love a frothy cappuccino with a cannoli after dinner, caffeine after 4 pm will hinder my night's sleep. I'll go with a porto, sauterne, cognac, Sambucca, or in Mexico an Xtabentun.

          1. How can this be an "either/or" answer? Doesn't it depend upon the evening? one's mood? one's prior consumption, possibly weighed against one's ability to safely drive following dinner at a friend's house or an evening out? On, as you say, "the factors"?

            And when is the meal over? When you get up from the table and leave the room? (Do people seriously adjourn from the table into the study for brandy and cigars anymore?) Is the meal over when the dessert is finished? And, for that matter, doesn't depend upon the dessert?

            For example, with a cheese course, I would probably prefer a glass of Porto, but with -- for example -- an apple pie, I'd rather have coffee. Then again, If I'm dining at home, I'll pass on the coffee with the apple pie, and have an espresso when comepletely finished with the meal; but in a restaurant, I'll order brewed coffee (versus an espresso or cappuccino, as so few restaurants really make good espresso) -- generally decaf.

            But COMPLETELY "after a meal" -- dessert is finished, and we're at home but away from the dinner table -- then it's maybe coffee and/or Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados or Madeira

            5 Replies
            1. re: zin1953

              << (Do people seriously adjourn from the table into the study for brandy and cigars anymore?) >>

              Yes, absolutely. Well, not the study, brandy and cigars ... but yes, with my family for holiday dinners, or when visiting my parents, or when I have people over to my place for dinner, when the eating is finished, who wants to keep sitting at the table? After coffee, you go move somewhere comfortable, and bring the amari! Or, selon vos goûts, wine, coffee, soda, whatever.

              1. re: tmso

                Which was precisely my point! (And if you'll notice, above, I *did* write, "dessert is finished, and we're at home but away from the dinner table . . . ") Surely if one is finished eating dinner, one leaves the table -- and depending upon location, you might move from your dining room to your living room, from the hotel restaurant to the hotel bar, from a restaurant HOME, to the opera, play, movies, etc., etc., etc.

                1. re: zin1953

                  It's entirely possible that I collect strange and unusual friends, but experience has taught me to stay at the table if I don't want a bunch of people to leave. When I have help, he or she will clear the table and bring in the coffee and booze. When I don't, I do it but never allow anyone to get up to help me. That's a sure invitation to an exodus! I have plenty of room to "retire" to the library or living room or family room or patio, on a warm starry bug-free night, but some of the best conversationalists always bug out on me when I do that. So I don't do it.

                  We linger over coffee and liquor or liqueurs and talk the night away. Sometimes the coffee is filtre, sometimes espresso, sometimes Turkish. The liquor is most often a really nice cognac. But I love Danziger Goldwasser, for example, after a fine holiday dinner. The little gold flakes floating in the glass under a well trimmed holiday chandelier and great conversation is the stuff memories are made of.

                  Follow the trail that gets you where you want to go! '-)

                  1. re: zin1953

                    Yeah, I got that from the bottom of your post, but the top seemed to be saying the opposite. My point was that we still retire to the living room for amari, so I'm certain that WASPs still do brandy and cigars in the study.

                2. re: zin1953

                  (Do people seriously adjourn from the table into the study for brandy and cigars anymore?)

                  Ah, yes. Well not brandy as a rule but I enjoy an after dinner libation and a cigar many nights after dinner and when entertaining cigar friendly friends we do just that.

                3. Wine with dinner, and after dinner coffee, cognac,
                  grappa, eau de vie .... (assuming you are not planning
                  to drive home).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bclevy

                    Neither. Don't do coffee at night; can't sleep if I do. Rarely drink wine after dinner, except when I'm dining out or hosting a dinner party.

                    Would much rather enjoy wine with dessert than coffee with dessert. Unless I'm ordering, say, an ice cream sundae, in which case I'd skip both.

                  2. No caffeine for jfood after 3PM (except chocolate).

                    At dinner parties at casa jfood most people are asking for de-caf, whatever.

                    When the crowd is out at a restaurant and jfood joins others in after dinner liquids, he will order a mint tea. pretty boring huh?

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: jfood


                      I often have espresso (or, in the case of dinner, decaffeinated espresso) after or in lieu of dessert. Rarely would I have a digestif after lunch, but it has happened, and occasionally I'll have one after dinner.

                      At home:

                      I rarely serve coffee or tea after dinner, mostly because I don't feel like making it, but sometimes I do. Don't usually serve after dinner drinks either, but we often linger around the table with wine.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        My problem -- uh-oh! thread drift! -- is that 99% of restaurants have really BAD espresso!

                        1. re: zin1953

                          I do agree with that - I suppose I should add the caveat that I only order it where I've had it before and it has been good, or I'll try it in a new place, and if it's bad (which I can usually tell before even tasting it), I won't order it the next time.

                          1. re: zin1953

                            That's one thing I love about eating in bistros: because a significant part of their business is serving coffee, their machine is heated up, in use, the coffee is freshly ground, etc. Restaurants really have to make it a high priority -- and accept a high overhead of waste -- to make good espresso, due simply to the low turn-over. Going for the latter half of the service makes the coffee a much better bet, but only if you're somewhere where a lot of people are ordering coffee after their meals.

                            (Why yes, coffee was my first love, can you tell?)

                            1. re: tmso

                              My problem -- well, ONE of my problems -- is that I love espresso. So much so, I have an Elektra "Sixties" T1 plumbed-in espresso machine in my kitchen. http://www.elektrasrl.com/sixties_1gr...

                              It's a rare restaurant, or even espresso bar, that comes close to what I can make at home . . .

                              1. re: zin1953

                                Wow, that looks amazing. Someday I'll probably lose my mind and upgrade to a real setup like that, but certainly not in this economy. I expect the unit with the lever to be haunting my dreams for a while.

                                1. re: tmso

                                  Uh-oh! THREAD DRIFT!!!

                                  * * * * *

                                  Thomas, it gets worse: I paired the Elektra with a Mahlkönig K30 Vario grinder at home (see http://www.mahlkoenig.com/machines/cf... ). I also have a Ala di Vittoria La Valentina ( http://www.1st-line.com/machines/home... ) paired with a Cimbali Max Hybrid grinder ( http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/h... ) in my office . . .

                            2. re: zin1953

                              This was my thought as well. I'd get coffee after a nice dinner out about 95% of the time if I thought the coffee were likely to be any good. At home, its normally just the two of us and don't want to make a pot of coffee at night so we both stick with wine or move to an after dinner drink if we still want something.

                              If its a dinner party at home, we'll offer coffee, tea, wine and after dinner drinks.

                              Most of the time, we're still sipping wine from dinner while we do the dishes and then we're moving on with our night.

                        2. I'm part of the "no caffeine after mid-afternoon" crowd, and do not drink wine after a meal. I do keep a great selection of after-dinner drinks on hand - cognac, armagnac, port, grappa, liqueurs of various sorts - and offer them with dessert.

                          1. Port, or another dessert wine or liqueur, in small quantity. While I enjoy espresso, I don't really care for coffee (I much prefer tea) except as a caffeine dose on rare mornings.

                            1. I have tried to follow the European tradition and drink port, dessert wine, etc, but I like coffee better. Unless dessert is a cheese course, of course.

                              1. Truthfully, neither, especially if it's a chocolate dessert. My husband and I both love a nice cold glass of milk. It was very funny trying to explain that we wanted cold milk after dinner in restaurants in Paris.

                                1. cocktails before

                                  wine during

                                  bourbon with dessert

                                  coffee after that

                                  1. Since I don't drink coffee, it won't be coffee. Depending on whether I'm out or home, the answer is port when I'm out, and generally a beer if I'm still drinking after dinner at home.

                                    1. I love coffee with any chocolate dessert, or creme brulee. And I only ever do decaf, because I'm allergic to caffeine. And yes, I know there's caffeine in chocolate. And sometimes I run with scissors.

                                      1. Neither. If I have wine with dinner, I finish what I have. I don't drink coffee

                                        1. That depends on what I am eating after the entree. I may have a muscat canelli type or tawney port of wine if I'm having a chocolate or berry dessert and then maybe an expresso. If I'm having an imported cheese dessert, I may choose a ruby port or sherry followed by a capucinno.

                                          1. Wine. I no longer enjoy coffee with or after meals, and only indulge occasionally in a latte as a snack.

                                            1. Hot water and lemon. But a desert wine only if I'm a guest where it's being served. I would not order if for myself but if it's being poured, I'll enjoy a sip or two. I love good coffee, but not after dinner.