This week we were invited by a neighbor couple with whom we are newly acquainted, to come have coffee with them. A delightful, leisurely visit ensued. What a lovely history this tradition of gathering informally for coffee and conversation has. Worthy of being resurrected, might we all agree?
The term coffee klatsch comes from German Kafeeklatsch meaning “coffee chat,” or literally, coffee(kaffee) plus gossip (klatsch). When our daughter Jenna was an exchange student in Germany in high school, no matter what else was happening in her exchange family, everything stopped at 4 p.m. for cake and coffee. Two big layer cakes made by the grandmother of the family were the centerpiece of this daily event. When I visited, I gladly indulged in this ritual.
Coffee klatsches were popular in the 1950’s when it was common for women to stay home with the kids. They would gather for mutual support as they enjoyed coffee and perhaps some cookies or coffee cake. More recently the term has fallen out of common usage. But the tradition has evolved to become a proliferation of coffee shops with dozens of varieties of coffees and teas where people now gather to indulge in a plethora of drinks and treats.
While I have had my share of Starbuck’s and Panera’s—hazlenut coffee with cream and a Panera’s brownie sounds good at this very moment—I wouldn’t trade the experience there for the one I had this week, sitting in my friends’ dining room getting acquainted while sipping coffee and enjoying the pastry they offered. Already my wheels are turning how I might build on re-igniting the coffee klatsch. Certainly I look forward to returning the invitation soon. The connections we develop in these informal gatherings are the invaluable brick and mortar of relationships.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: Perhaps my first effort at a coffee klatsch will include this, a favorite of mine, delicious and simple. Gingerbread: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 in. square pan. Mix thoroughly ½ c. soft shortening, 2 T. sugar and 1 egg. Blend in 1 c. dark molasses and 1 c. boiling water*. Blend in 2 ¼ c. sifted flour, 1 t. soda, ½ t. salt, 1 t. ginger, 1 t.cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45-50 minutes. Happy eating. 😊
*I have also substituted ½ the boiling water for gingerale, which gives a lighter texture and slightly sweeter taste.