Coffee is serious business. Chains like Starbucks and Costa, as well as small, independent specialists, have brought us freshly ground beans from all over the world, in every strength and flavour. Now, more and more of us want the quality of the coffee we drink at home to match or surpass the coffee shop experience. Supermarkets are getting in on the act too, offering whole coffee beans and a range of coarse and fine ground beans to suit different types of coffee machines and coffee makers.
From a simple cafetiere or drip filter to a catering standard machine, the options for home coffee making are almost limitless. With machines capable of everything from grinding the beans to frothing the milk, coffee fans can do as much or as little of the work as they like.
The AeroPress, made by Aerobie, has become a cult object since its invention in 2005. The device works by pressing a plunger in an airtight cylinder to force coffee through a filter, producing espresso strength coffee. Devotees swear by the taste. However, while it’s great for one, the AeroPress only provides a single serving.
At the other end of the scale of complexity, the Italian company De’Longhi manufactures machines which will walk you through every step of the process from whole beans to finished cup, allowing you to design your own perfect coffee by tweaking your preferences. Italy is a country famous for its coffee, so Italian machines have a certain cachet, and De’Longhi’s sleek black and chrome masterpieces are as much a decorative accessory for your home as they are a practical kitchen appliance, but they will set you back more than a bean or two.
A more recent development is Nescafe’s Nespresso range, and similar products. For those who prefer a hands-off approach, pods or pouches of coffee are inserted and turned into hot drinks. A wide range of types and flavours is available, with guaranteed consistency of strength and flavour. The pods are relatively expensive, and you run the risk of your favourite flavours, or support for your machine, being discontinued.
For every gadget fanatic who loves pressing buttons, there is an old school aficionado who will use nothing but a classic stovetop pot of the type used in Europe for nearly a century, and plenty of coffee drinkers who remain perfectly happy with a jar of instant. Today’s options cater for all tastes, lifestyles, and budgets.read more