There is little doubt that the UK has now fully embraced coffee consumption. Even the marketing men of the past were not sure that they could sell the dark stuff to a nation hooked on PG Tips, but trends washing in from the US have made coffee big business. With this comes a big dent on our wallets, so many are starting to seek out better ways to make coffee in our homes. It is definitely cheaper and it can often be better than the stuff that the chains serve up.
The outlay may be large, but even the more maths-fearing among us can work out that it doesn’t take many days without a £3 latte to pay off the investment in some decent home kit. So it is worth paying as much as you can afford when you consider creating your home coffee station. Although there are also bargains to be had and shortcuts made if you don’t want to buy something that looks as if it would be at home in your local Costa or Starbucks. If you want to go pro, you can also have a counter or special home coffee station built into your kitchen, complete with kitchen top fridge for milks and coffee to sit alongside your grinder and coffee maker.
Image source: Paweł Kadysz (photographer) via FancyCrave
How to create your home coffee station
First, you have to decide whether to go for simplicity or authenticity. Many brands now sell automated coffee makers that work with small pre-packed discs of coffee. You will get a good cup of coffee from these products (such as Tassimo or Nespresso), but it won’t be up to the standard of that place with the bearded guys and a queue out the door. On the upside you don’t have to grind the bins or clear up the mess, but you should probably stick to these if you are in a hurry and are not a coffee snob or someone with coffee snob friends and neighbours.
Starting at the bottom of the real, fresh coffee pile you have the cafetiere, which some also call a French press. You can make good coffee from these with good quality fresh-ground beans and using water just below boiling point. Some kettles are available that will switch off at a pre-set temperature and these are very good for this kind of coffee making. They also work well for pour-over filters, which some coffee fans still swear by. You could also use the simple Aeropress, which is almost like a pressurised syringe plunger that creates your coffee as you push down and force the hot water through the coffee and a filter.
Image source: Jeff Sheldon
Espresso fans could do worse than using the same kind of stove-top coffee maker that was issued to Italian troops during World War II. Coffee was obviously something of a priority even in hard times, so you can be sure that the Bialetti coffee maker does the business. You simply spoon ground coffee into the hopper inside the moka pot and then place it on the hob, being sure not to overboil the coffee. Physics does the rest, as hot water and steam are forced up through the coffee and into the pouring pot above.
If you want to go more expensive and more authentic then something like a Gaggia is what you should be looking for. This is the brand used by most coffee professionals and makes one cup at a time in most cases, pushing hot water and steam through your coffee to form a bitter-free cup with the creamy top that pros pride themselves on. Add-ons will also allow you to froth milk and even make those pretty patterns on top of your drink as you pour. This brand also makes ‘bean to cup’ machines that will grind and brew your coffee all in one place, although you can go even more high end for this level of service, with brands like Jura being favoured by those who have saved up around a year’s worth of daily latte spending money.
Of course, if you want to keep ahead of coffee trends then you should be forgetting about hot coffee altogether and making cold brew, which is like making filter coffee with cold water. Leaving the smooth-tasting brew to drip overnight or longer, your local coffee outlet is bound to be stocking it by the time you read this, served straight up or with your choice of milks, nut milks or iced water.
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