back to article Best shot: Coffee - how do you brew?

Youtube Video Whether it's to wake us up or keep us coding, for many techies coffee is an essential part of our daily ritual. With my bean-to-cup machine away being repaired, I've had to find other ways to get my fix. (required by the license) Coyau / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 When all else fails, there's "moka" java …

  1. Ole Juul

    Madam Blå

    I'm a little disappointed that madam blå wasn't mentioned. Denmark is just across the water and (at least to the Danes) is considered the world's centre of coffee making.

    There are many good ways to make coffee, as the article aptly points out, and I've done a number of them over the last 60 years or so. It is a matter of pride to to be known as a house where the coffee is unsurpassed, and I carry on the proud tradition of my parents in that regard. In any case, as I get older I find myself favouring the tradition in which I grew up.

    1. ObSolutions, Inc

      Re: Madam Blå

      Why would the article include mention of a product you haven't been able to buy since 1966?

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: Madam Blå

        Why would the article include mention of a product you haven't been able to buy since 1966?

        What a strange comment. You can buy them now if you want to buy them now. They're around $40. I've got several, because I didn't thrown them away. Besides, many people use the same method with a slightly more modern pot.

        1. illiad

          Re: Madam Blå

          have you tried googling it?? only swedish sites, and not much sign of how it works... link or explanation please... :)

  2. janimal

    I do love my aeropress. For the price, ease of use and also portability (great for decent coffee when camping) it is pretty awesome. As you say, shame about the crema though :/

    1. spork
      Happy

      you just need to do it right

      Aeropress can make crema - you just need the right water temperature, coffee grind, and technique. To prove my point, I just went and did it now - here's the pic: http://screencast.com/t/55m3OKXc8

      1. JeffyPoooh
        Pint

        Crema floats

        Coffee making machines that push the coffee out the bottom of the grounds will always struggle to force the crema from the top, all the way through the grounds (thus filtering most of it out), and out the bottom.

        Machines that allow the floating crema to exit directly out the top will always have an easier time getting a thick frothy layer of crema into the mug. This is why so many coffee making schemes are complicatedly upside down.

        This top/bottom exit is the primary system architectural question.

        Yes, yes, I know. If you have 15 bar of steam, you can force the crema through a brick wall.

    2. SuccessCase

      After using the Aeropress for some time, I've come to the conclusion it can produce the very highest quality brew (some other devices can produce brew as good, but not better), however it requires technique to do so, roughly, IMO, equivalent to the level of technique required to cook the best scrambled egg (so not too difficult, but not so easy it can be done in a mindless zombie state). Other solutions (most notably those that will cost a couple of thousand) can do it more consistently where less "technique" is required. The same tequnique required to ensure it does a great job is partly a function of its flexibility which is also what makes it so much fun to experiment with.

    3. illiad

      cafetiere

      no sign of the cafetiere.. or is this a reverse aeropress?? My mum used the cona, but not for a busy family - simpler to buy the 'self-contained' filter coffee..

      If you dunno, the cafetiere is simple pot about 1 or 2 cup capacity, fill with ground beans and boiling water, then push down the filter when done, and just pour out the coffee! :)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Aeropress

      Looks sort of like another personal improvement appliance (not one that I'd need).

  3. Dapprman

    Moka all the way

    While it's no good for a work place, every time I've tried another form of coffee making I've always found myself going back to my trusty moka pot.

  4. keithpeter Silver badge
    Windows

    Moka

    "That said, a Moka pot is not really much more hassle."

    Three 'cup' size (= 1 decent mug + top up when diluted with hot water) on the hotplate while I boil the porridge. 10 minutes quiet in the garden before the commute and work madness. £18 + a change of 'o' ring each year. No faffing with filters. Don't scrub the top part too much, it should stay a light brown.

    1. phil dude
      Thumb Up

      Re: Moka

      ...and it even works at music festivals, camping in the mountains, etc....

      Mine's a 12-cup dosa with splash of milk...;-)

      P.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Moka

        The moka pot is also great for making cuban coffee, as it is easier to clean out the re-crystallized sugar.

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    Back to the basics

    I have tried a very large range of methods, machines and madness for my favorite drink.. I even managed to give up smoking but never quit the coffee....

    In any event and probably because of optimizing my time, I stick to good ol instant coffee......

    I have become almost alergic to Nespresso, more than 2 of them a day gives me "major dogs breath", my little Cafitiere Italien, handed down by Italien Mother-In-Law, has never seen daylight for years, the French coffee machine also hides in a cupboard , , unless some particular visitors arrive, but you can be sure that the instant coffee tin is always replenished with always a packet to spare.

    As I write this I have some fresh French bread,"une flute tradition qui sort de la four", butter and jam and a large cup of instant in from of me.

    If I was to vote for the best coffee ever though, it would probably be made with a a Robusto, Arabica mixture made in an Italian Cafitiere that is used daily..

    Alternatively it would be a Turkish made coffee when it has been made with a little bit Cardammon. ( Never sure how to spell that spice)

    PS Starbucks don't do coffee so I never bother with them either. Strangely enough though I don't care for most of the coffee served in the French or Swiss cafes/restaurantes either.

    1. wdmot

      Re: Back to the basics

      @Khaptain

      I've no idea why the downvotes, unless it's your sticking to instant coffee (perhaps they don't consider it real coffee). I don't like the stuff, but to each their own. I like both of your votes for a best coffee. However, if I'm going to drink more than a cup, I need it filtered -- even the French press lets fine grit through.

      My standard method of brewing is an combination of French press and a pour-over: the coffee sits in hot water for a few minutes before filtering it through a Melita "cone" filter. I actually don't bother with the French press so I don't have another filter to clean, and just use a 1-litre Pyrex pitcher. Since I drink it black, I prefer to use only ~90 degree water so the coffee doesn't get so bitter. Usually I boil the water, pour it in my mug and thermos to pre-heat them, then pour the now slightly cooled water into the pitcher to brew.

  6. John H Woods Silver badge

    Acidity ...

    ... if you want less acidity, maybe stay away from the acid coffees (good Kenya AA is so acid it usually curdles any milk added). My personal pref is espresso, I have a bodge-repaired, 14 year old Gaggia that has made >=4 cups a day.

    One little hint I found useful for Cona and filter coffee that is standing around - shove a cardamom pod in the filter basket. Gives a nice fragrance and seems to counteract the staling effect. Particularly good for a big after dinner (especially curry!) pot that will be drunk during hours of pointless postprandial persiflage.

    1. Tapeador

      Re: Acidity ...

      Which cheap ones would you say were least acid? Sadly I have chronic gastritis so can tolerate literally about two coffees a year, would like to be able to have more as it can really help awakeness etc.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Acidity ...

        If you are drinking cheap coffee, you may be getting a robusta blend (higher caffeine than arabica, grows in more places, but is bland and bitter. If you need coffee in the worst possible way, this is coffee - in the worst possible way).

        A dark roast Arabica (probably a Costa Rican) should reduce the distress from overly cheap coffee.

      2. JeffyPoooh
        Pint

        Re: Acidity ...

        Gastritis - look into grapefruit juice and bacterial causes. Do your research first. Obviously. I mention it because it is counterintuitive and not widely known.

  7. Mark Wilson

    Filter Best For Me

    I have tried other ways to make coffee but it always comes back to the good old drip filter with paper filters.

    When most people go to France they stock up on alcohol and cigarettes, I stock up on coffee! Much better range over there adn far better price.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Filter Best For Me

      I've certainly found a far wider range over there - and I noticed last time I looked in Carrefour at Cité Europe, they had a much bigger selection for pod systems like Senseo than was available back in the UK, too.

      I have to pop to France next month, so I may do some research

      1. Dapprman

        Re: Filter Best For Me

        Before the euro it was a lot cheaper as well as there being a far larger selection.

        One thing to be aware of though, if you see a brand you buy in the UK (beans, ground, or even instant) don't assume it'll be the same in France as I have found that some times the roasting/flavour does differ.

  8. jake Silver badge

    No mention of roasting beans at home?

    Heathens.

    Friends don't let friends purchase pre-roasted coffee ... much less purchase the 'orrible swill sold by billion dollar conglomerates.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: No mention of roasting beans at home?

      We wouldn't want to use up all the ideas for things to write about on the first weekend, now, would we?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: No mention of roasting beans at home?

        When it comes to the good things in life, being straight up and exact is the only way to go.

        Example: 9 pound pork shoulder, no seasoning, bone in, 225F, ~10 hours, apple smoke for the first 6. Pull at about 200F (195-205 works).

        Rest for about an hour, serve as you see fit.

        Humans need to re-learn how to live. This "modern" life is boring.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No mention of roasting beans at home?

      Oh, that reminds me. Time to go force feed the civet cats another bag of coffee fruit.

      Kopi luwakers unite!

  9. Tim99 Silver badge
    Happy

    Aeropress with milk

    As you say the Aeropress no crema thing can be a bit of a disappointment for espresso fans, although our local supplier will do a special Aeropress grind which can give a small amount of foam.

    For the milky coffee drinker you can get a reasonable facsimile of proper foam by putting some skimmed milk in the microwave for a minute or so and then beating it with a small hand whisk (Remember to leave the milk for a few seconds before you take it out of the microwave to avoid boiling milk "bumping" all over you).

    I am fortunate to live in one of the world's best coffee making areas, Western Australia - So if I really need crema, and I can afford $5, I go to one of the many excellent coffee places by the beach, otherwise I now use an Aeropress almost exclusively at home. The less fortunate thing about living here is than most people can't make a decent cup of tea...

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Aeropress with milk

      I use a Bodum Latteo manual milk frother when I have to do this myself, which produces fairly reasonable results.

      Thankfully, my normal machine has been repaired now, and that has a built in frother, and there's a definite advantage to just staggering to the kitchen and pressing a button.

      1. daz disley

        Re: Aeropress with milk

        a cafetiere 1/3 full of hot milk given a bit of swift wrist-action makes for some excellent foamage.

  10. banjomike
    Happy

    I'm a Nespresso fan

    Pros - straightforward to use, fast, excellent taste, large variety of coffees (21 at the moment) and all are pretty good. Looks good in the kitchen. Aluminium capsules are collected & recycled for free by Nespresso.

    Cons - noisy.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: I'm a Nespresso fan

      Even better, a Nespresso machine but don't use Nespresso coffee. I buy Illy beans, grind them and put them into pattern-part Nespresso capsules. Best of both worlds, and cheaper because you're only paying for good coffee, not to imitate the Nespresso/Clooney lifestyle.

      1. banjomike
        Happy

        Re: I'm a Nespresso fan

        Two of the reasons I like the Nespresso system are the variety of flavours that are available and the fact that the capsules are completely airtight and last for years (officially 12 months but I accidently left a few in a box for an extra year and they tasted almost exactly the same ie. very nice). I love fresh-ground coffee but as an idle person I would not use it before it went off and I would get tired of the same flavour each time. Variety rules, Yay.

        1. Adam 1

          Re: I'm a Nespresso fan

          I love a fresh ground coffee too, but I always found myself in a bit of a dilemma*. There is frankly too much faffing about to grind, warm the machine, clean all the tampers, filters, jugs and steam wands to make it worthwhile before work. So it used to be a weekend treat for me to make it. The problem is that anything pre ground would go stale well before it was used and I wasn't as happy with the el cheapo grinder which was too course for my preference.

          I ended up buying a nespresso because it gave me something quite tolerable with the convenience of instant. I won't pretend it is the best drop that I have ever had but it is better than more than a couple of "baristas" have given me over the years.

          *first world problem, I know

    2. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: I'm a Nespresso fan

      My wife is a fan. It's OK - certainly convenient, but somewhat over-hyped. I tend to refer to it as her MaxPaxKlix machine, just to annoy her.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm a Nespresso fan

        I'm a fan of the Nespresso SYSTEM myself. But their coffee costs 5x more. I buy a Nespresso-compatible.

        And yeah, 90% of the taste, with 1% of the labor qualify Nespresso for a quick fix of caffeine. Plus they decorate the office, instead of making it look uglier and dirtier.

        In a pavlovian response, everyone of our co-workers now enjoy the "prprprprrrrr" noise that accompanies the smell of an Expresso. Some decided to bring their own Ristretto capsules, so finally everyone is helping with the coffee expenses.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aeropress fan here

    But I'm not a hipster, damnit! Anyway, you can get really good coffee very quickly, but there is a slight caveat - depending on how strong you prefer your brew, you can end up using much more coffee. Like two or three times more than more traditional methods. Which can mean you spend much more on your caffeine habit. RE:crema - technically, it contains some cholesterol that's supposedly bad for you. But like so many things in life, the things that are bad for you might also be delicious. There are 3rd party reusable metal filters that let it through, if you're so inclined.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Aeropress fan here

      Ah, overdoing the coffee, I've done that.

      The ex (who I still get on great with) donated me her espresso machine after she got one of those capsule things (nespress methinks) and she didn't need it any more. Fine.

      I spent a couple of nights drinking the coffee, but thought it tasted oddly strong. Two or three cups a night, and had some major problems sleeping.

      Of course, after two days, I realised there was a difference between a filter coffee machine and an espresso machine.

      Woops.

      I now only break it out on a Sunday, and I dilute it properly to make americano things (IE just black coffee). I'm thinking an Aeropress is a good idea though, as I've always been a coffee drinker, it's just normally I'm prepared to put up with the slightly crappy taste of Gold Blend for the convenience. If the Aeropress gives me the convenience with better coffee as a result, then why not?

      Steven "hyper" R.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Aeropress fan here

        I'm pretty much in the same camp, I only use the Aeropress at home during weekends. When at work the influx of coffee must be constant so the regular drip filter stuff works, but it's nice to treat yourself a bit when it's not just to keep yourself awake. Americano, me too - just brew a double espresso, add hot water, done.

  12. Julian Bond

    The most important thing is the quality of the coffee. But if you really can't get anything decent, Tescos Italian, Lavazza Black and Carte Noire are remarkable for being wholly unremarkable while still perfectly acceptable. But then there's the Algerian Coffee shop and they sell online and deliver.

    After that I think it's all about convenience. A cheap electric drip filter coffee machine for quantity and an Aeropress for single cups. Everything else just seems like obsession.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      A close second to the quality of the coffee is the cleanliness of the equipment. I have gotten positive, surprised comments from co-workers about the quality of the coffee I brew for the communal pot, simply because I take the time to scrub off the brown gunk that had accumulated in the pot and grinder.

  13. graeme leggett

    Easy to make

    One heaped teaspoon and pour on boiled water from kettle.

    and when I saw the phrase " air of Camp " I thought, well if you like chicory....

    I am a tea drinker (coffee gives me indigestion)

    1. jason 7

      Re: Easy to make

      Yes I really don't know why people seem to need all these old fashioned primitive methods to make a simple cup of coffee when modern science has done away with it all.

      A teaspoon and a quality jar of instant is all that's required.

      I have instant and my gf has to have the special ground/cafetier whatever etc. etc. She didn't have time to drink her cup the other day and so gave me her cup of special superior ultimate roast coffee from some third world country I would never dream of visiting. She made it sound like I was so lucky.

      Tasted like crap. Was like drinking a liquidised stale cigar. I've found that a lot when visiting so called coffee aficionado friends. They hand you a cup of 'something exquisite' and it tastes like they made it with washing up water.

      Sorry if I have offended some here but there is a bit of Emperor's New Clothes going on in 'upmarket coffee'.

      1. janimal

        Re: Easy to make

        Instant coffee tastes nothing like real coffee, except maybe kopi Luwack, which tastes like Dowe & Egberts instant coffee, just much, much, much more expensive!

        Freshly ground, strong roast, Arabica for me every time thanks.

        1. albaleo

          Re: Easy to make

          It's not meant to taste like real coffee. If, like me, you require a constant infusion of caffeine and hot liquid during the working day, "real" coffee isn't an option anyway. Recently I've got into the art of instant coffee blending. My current favourite is equal parts Carte Noir (when available on offer) and Tesco Gold.

        2. jason 7

          Re: Easy to make

          And most Kopi Luwack is fake or acquired though not very ethical means.

          I bet most of the coffee beans you see in these 'Artisan' coffee shops are beans that Nestle rejected for putting in nescafe.

        3. Kiwi
          Mushroom

          Re: Easy to make @janimal and others

          Freshly ground, strong roast, Arabica for me every time thanks.

          [Not just at janimal]

          Do you also spend $5k on oxygen-free copper gold-appointed mono-directional super-low-impedence ultra-fart-deodorizing audio cables?

          Put my vote in for "Instant all the way". I have to put up with "real" coffee at work and friends places. That fancy stuff is enough to make you drink herbal tea!

          Icon coz the more "burnt" (closer to atually boiling water) the better!

  14. swisstoni

    For pure after dinner theatre I don't think you can beat a balance brewer. No idea if they make a good cup of coffee though. I'll stick to my nespresso for my daily needs.

    http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2014/01/belgian-balance-brewer-coffee-siphon-weird-coffee-equipment-how-coffee-siphon-works.html

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > For pure after dinner theatre I don't think you can beat a balance brewer.

      I would probably still go with the Moka pot my mate managed acquire for that accolade. It didn't have the usual hole connecting the top half to the bottom half.

      That coffee went rather a bang...

  15. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Moka Pot

    Never heard it called that. Do you mean ( it looks like) the aluminium thing, in two halves that screw together- water in the bottom and finely ground coffee in the top? Then pop on the gas ring till the water isn't in the bottom anymore.

    I always called it an Essprsso. In fact that's what was on the box/label anytme I've bought one.

    Since I'm the only one in the family that uses it I use the small size, which just about balances on the hob, if I'm careful.

    For everyday, really good freshly roasted beans kept in freezer (none of your supermarket c***p). A decent grinder and a filter machine.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Moka Pot

      Yes, indeed, as made by Bialetti since 1933:

      http://www.bialetti.com/www.bialetti.com/coffee/stovetop/moka-express-c-1_7_22.html

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Moka Pot

        Ah ha!

        From that very site ( thanks for the link).

        "The Moka produces a rich, authentic espresso..."

        So," Moka" pot as in Hoover/Biro etc.

      2. FuzzyTheBear
        Boffin

        Re: Moka Pot

        I had tons of coffee making equipment, the old Bialetti wins hands down with a good cuban coffee.

        was like 25 CDN and the seal ( change twice a year .. or so ) like 1.50 . Worth every penny. Not to mention that the pot will outlive you :)

  16. uncle sjohie

    Old fashioned

    We use freshly ground beans (from our Solis maestro grinder) and a MoccaMaster KBG-741 filter machine for our regular cup of coffee. A nice and versatile combination, with the Solis I can grind as fine as I want, so when I feel like an espresso from the Gaggia, I just have to change the beans in the grinder. And the Moccamaster is a great machine, with a good strong boiler, and it's built like a tank.

  17. John Styles

    Crema vs. creamer

    I vote for a Bialetti Brikka - these are the ones with a valve to give a better crema - we have the 2 pot one. We have a larger Bialetti non-brikka which I found a bit disappointing (I didn't realise that there were ones without the extra valve). We use Lavazza which I suspect is ground with them in mind.

    1. CADmonkey

      Re: Crema vs. creamer

      The Bialetti Brikka is like no other. That valve on top is exclusive. The coffee has crema and character, even if all I use is Lavazza Red.

  18. Anonymous John

    I'm still waiting for the Motie coffee maker that featured in "The Mote In God's Eye"

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      I like good coffee as much as the next man. But I found that having to blow up my house every few months, in order to get rid of my coffee pot's makers, was just too much hassle. So I've gone back to using a french press...

  19. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Instant vs Brewed

    I used to be able to drink Instant (apart from original Nescafe) until I got Leukaemia. Now it all tastes like dishwater even though I've been in remission for 5 years.

    Coffee (As served in the US) so weak it should not be called Coffee. Hot flavored water is more apt IMHO.

    Starbucks Hot Chocolate is not so bad.

    French Coffee is usually so bitter that it is almost undrinkable. Again, hot Chocolate is often pretty good.

    At the moment I have a pot of Guatemalan blend waiting to be drunk.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: Instant vs Brewed

      Coffee (As served in the US) so weak it should not be called Coffee.

      There is a reason for that. Mostly it's because everyone is using the same recipe that was used during both the Great Depression and WWII. My grandmother fortunately predated both and knew how to make a real cup of coffee. Today with a pound of coffee weighing in at about 10 oz and most people grabbing their cup from the coffee shop down the street a good cup of coffee has fallen to the gods of profit margin and what the average Joe will pay for his (below average) cup of joe.

      As for the brewing vessel and method, Chemex is nice.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Instant vs Brewed

        Bu then, the tea is usually worse.

        Usually a glass of hot water with a polite query as to whether you'd like a tea bag to go with it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Instant vs Brewed

          American tea? I had the soul-scarring experience of ordering tea in the USA and seeing the waitress just pour water from the hot tap into the cup, with the tea bag brought to me separately as an afterthought. When I tried to interrupt her and ask for boiling water, she looked both frightened and uncomprehending (latter could have been because I spoke a completely foreign language of course).

          1. Eddy Ito

            Re: Instant vs Brewed

            When I tried to interrupt her and ask for boiling water, she looked both frightened and uncomprehending (latter could have been because I spoke a completely foreign language of course).

            Boiling water would likely get her fired as a dozen legal beagles would be nipping at heels of the proprietor if a single customer would be exposed to so much as one drop of water slightly warmer than tepid.

            Foreign language, did you happen to be speaking English?

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      US Coffee

      Whenever I have visited, I have been amazed how weak most USians drink their coffee - mainly because they are always going on about how they like it strong and black. Back when I was an academic, we had a visiting US professor who, arriving and complaining of jet lag, asked for "a really strong black coffee". My fellow post-doc, a coffee aficionado even amongst his own Portuguese compatriots, took him at his word and cooked up a 1oz espresso in a mini-bialetti on the lab hotplate.

      I will never forget that prof's face as he took a sip! He asked if it could be put in a mug of boiling water and, once it was, he expressed enormous satisfaction with it, and said he had learned a valuable lesson about European coffee!

      1. phil dude
        Thumb Up

        Re: US Coffee

        well that is what the chains achieved. Starbucks is not very good, but it is ubiquitous for us addicts...

        But when I travel I have been on a mission to find the little shops, and there are some excellent ones in Seattle (!) , Portland, San Fran.... bascially anywhere I get stuck for a conference for a week!

        The coffee, like the beer, has definitely improved in the colonies...

        P.

        1. PJI

          Re: US Coffee

          it was just last year, or perhaps early this, that a survey discovered that, in the whole of Great Britain, Starbucks made the worst and weakest coffee (at the highest price too, I dare say). Why on earth would anyone with taste buds go there, or to any European branch of an American chain? Even the British are capable of making proper coffee with a bit of effort.

          Now, how: if time, bring water to a simmer, just below boiling, in a saucepan, then sprinkle one tablespoon of coffee (fresh ground) per person on top. Simmer, not boil, for a couple of minutes, sink the grounds with a spoon and then pour, drink - no milk, blend or sugar to taste, tap water to wash it down, ambulance on standby. I did read somewhere that Norwegians prefer coffee this way and suffer accordingly, is that true?

          If not, a Bialetti coffee pot is good.

          Where: N. Africa, France (be choosy) or Italy. Switzerland can be good. Avoid Germany as it seems to be the place that taught Americans, except the Americans forgot to add coffee to the water.

  20. Dieter Haussmann

    I just use a 1 cup caffitiere from ASDA £4 and French Blend 100% Aribica coffee from LIDL becauseI can keep it in my drawer at work.

    I have given up with the filter machines as it varies so much in taste depending on quantity made. I can't afford a Gaggia, magimix or DeLonghi and cheap ones are rubbish because they break or have poor temperature control.

  21. Buttons
    Happy

    I love my filter coffee maker

    It smells wonderful and sounds brilliant. The coffee delicious. @ Ole Juul - Here's to you and tradition!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I tried a few and settled on the ROK espresso maker, looks great, made in the UK and you can even coax a crema out of it with a little practice....

  23. Salts

    Great weekend subject...

    El reg 7 days a week, now I will never get any work done.

    Back on topic.

    Having to drink instant at the moment, due to house move, filter coffee machine damaged in transit, can't find the Moka pot, too lazy to filter by hand!

    Next purchase is an aeropress when I can get to a country that sells them.

    The best filter coffee I have come across is from Lidl, gold packaged Arabica, don't have any left to give you the brand name, but it is really good and the price is fantastic IMHO, when I had my pubs people used to always complement the coffee(cafetière served) if that is anything to go by.

  24. Captain Hogwash

    TEA!

    TEA!

  25. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    You know you've lived...

    ... when you've had vending machine coffee at a sewage works. Contrary to expectations, it wasn't pumped in straight from the sewage intake - the alleged coffee was much worse.

  26. Spindreams

    I am a Brit who has lived in Italy for 10 years and have had a Gaggia (Baby) coffee machine for about 15 years and it just works, it takes no time to get your coffee in the morning and it is always exceptional, lots of crema and two cups at a time. Anyone who says instant coffee is the way to go obviously has never tasted good coffee from a proper espresso machine.. One tip I would add is if you want milky coffee (Cafe-latte) then use semi or fullfat UHT/Longlife Milk not fresh milk (it enhances the taste) and use an espresso amount of coffee and the rest is hot milk (So very little water). On the other hand if your doing tea always fresh milk. :)

    1. jason 7

      Sorry.

      Just mentioning using Longlife milk for anything other than having nothing else to put out a small fire gets your authority downgraded.

      Step away from the kitchen Sir!

      1. thenim

        Re: Sorry.

        I do have to agree with you there, I live in Switzerland, and they are big on this UHT shit, tastes aweful. However full fat milk on coffee now that's a different story..

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          Re: Sorry.

          The one thing I've never liked is the special "coffee milk" that seems inexplicably popular in Belgium and the Netherlands.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sorry.

          I live in CH too. That is not UHT per se. It is, sort of, what they did once, perhaps still, try to flog in GB as "coffee creamer", also available in those brown and white plastic bottles, best described as a long lasting milk substitute to be avoided at all costs. But then, here, they put MSG as a condiment on the table (Aromat). Odd in a country that, otherwise, is not bad for food. At least the coffee itself is good and full strength, most of the time.

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      then use semi or fullfat UHT/Longlife Milk not fresh milk (it enhances the taste)

      Err. NO.

      Matter of taste of course, but UHT is disgusting and vile and makes coffee taste horrible. If fresh milk is not available, then black is the way to go (assuming half decent coffee).

    3. Salts

      Years ago, I used to take milk in coffee, but then left home, after this for a long time, carnation milk, was all that was available, Yuk.

      Tea, with carnation milk, even worse.

      Result, for me, both should be sans milk, black tea on a hot day is the best, coffee black is just how it should be.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        When I lived in the Far East, carnation or similar milk in tea (liptons) was popular.in the morning.

        As a child, I remember sweetened, condensed milk in tea and coffee when camping or on sailing trips. Not bad.

    4. Mage Silver badge

      Italy

      I was on cloud nine for days once because an Italian told me my choice of coffee brand wasn't bad, especially for Ireland. They do serious coffee. If in Netherlands avoid the local Dutch mud (Rombutts, also very common in Ireland) if you like Italian style.

  27. tentimes

    Going to call myself an expert here, and...

    I import green beans and roast them myself. After many years of brewing too I think I have found the best way. Firstly, remember that coffee scalds at temperatures over 90 degrees C.

    1. Buy an Aeropress - it makes the best single cup you can get

    2. I use my beans within a week of roasting them, so if you buy them, use in a week

    3. Don't grind too fine - a medium courseness gives best flavour

    4. Use any ground within a day. If you buy ground then do yourself a favour and switch to beans

    5. Use 80 degrees C hot water in an Aeropress, next add the milk, then top up, then microwave for 30 secs.

    6. A burr grinder is better than the bladed ones as you can get consistent size ground

    The thing about coffee is that it hits it's peak about 4 days after you roast the beans and fades after about a week. If you are keeping ground coffee in your fridge you will really notice the difference in taste after a few days.

    Traditionally people seem to go for almost black coffee beans or "rich" roasts, but in my opinion the best roasts are the lighter ones with good beans, where you get more of the taste of the bean and less of the roast.

    If you are thinking of roasting your own, do some reading and definitely have a go - it is a great hobby and I can think of nothing better than drinking my own coffee each morning - fresher than anything you can get in the shops - it tastes so much better fresh :)

    P.S. Pennine tea and coffee sell decent beans at a reasonable price. Try the Monsoon Malibar!

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Going to call myself an expert here, and...

      Yes,

      "Traditionally people seem to go for almost black coffee beans or "rich" roasts, but in my opinion the best roasts are the lighter ones with good beans,..."

      A lot of people who ask for/drink "strong" coffee confuse the strength, as in concentration of good beany stuff that has plenty of actual flavour, with the roast, as in bitter and dark but not tasting of much because all the volatile oils have been roasted off.

      It's strong because it tastes strongly of burnt beans, not coffee goodness.

  28. Bronek Kozicki
    Facepalm

    regular espresso

    Took me few years to learn to do it properly, but in last 5 years it's been pretty good, with Macap and Dalla Corte. It was expensive to buy, but is cheap to run. Just top it up with freshly roasted coffee beans, remember to check water level and keep it clean.

    Icon for how I look before my first coffee (where did I put the filter?)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Judging by the comments above, I'm firmly in the barbarian class. Russell Hobbs 14899 Platinum Grind and Brew Coffee Maker Machine and expresso beans from Lidl. Good coffee and minimal messing around. Maintenance costs aren't too bad either.

  30. msknight

    Filter. Simple. One cup. Job done

    Not too expensive and I use one every day for my fix. Plus stading by it for a few minutes keeps me away from my desk. - http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005SQRIV0/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I actually got this hint from John Cleese. It's how he gets his coffee fix in strange hotels with dubious coffee ... yes, you can make a number of jokes here about Cleese, dubious hotels, etc., but I'll leave that up to you :-)

  31. Irony Deficient Silver badge

    yet another coffeetard’s kitchenalia

    I use a vacuum pot myself — an all-glass Cory “double bubble” made during WWII, without even the rubber gaskets of the pre-war or post-war models — with home-roasted beans, ground just before brewing. I consume a potful at a sitting in mug-sized portions, unlactified and unsucrified, but I don’t do so daily. For crema fans, one inconvenience of this method is that the crema needs to be spooned out of the upper pot before the coffee falls back into the lower pot; otherwise, it gets trapped in the grounds.

    For sweetened coffee, I’ll brew Turkish style using a little Russian cezve.

  32. All names Taken

    Filter and good, I say good, coffee grounds.

    Don't let it stand on the hotplate too long - cold and freshish is better than stewed but even stewed has a redeeming quality of its own from time-to-time.

    Aim: to balance faffing about, immediacy and decent hot drink in a reasonable timeframe.

    Additional observation: European low cost coffee grounds seem superior to UK "in yer face" priced exclusive coffee grounds - used to like the mellowness of hand ground but the FAFF was too much really.

    Oh! And don't use chilled milk or milk straight from the fridge. Room temperature/ambient temperature milk makes all the difference?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    low-tech for me

    I doubt anyone will read this far but... anyone else use a percolator? Or grind the beans with a mortar & pestle?

    1. All names Taken
      Alien

      Re: low-tech for me

      Yep, hand ground beans seem to make softer more melodic flavored coffee (electric grinders generate too much heat and retoast the beans evaporating off delicate flavinoids?).

      In some parts of the world an impatient coffee drinker needs a Zapata moustache to filter out the floating grounds (no explanation offered)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Briki

    All you need is a briki and a hot plate. Make proper Greek coffee.

  35. ecofeco Silver badge

    The trick to good coffee

    ...is to start with good coffee. It doesn't have to be some exotic grounds either.

    Everything else is just snobbery and gimmick.

    Well, keeping your brew pot clean is a good idea as well.

  36. rav

    The best brew: Melitta Coffee Maker, Single Cup Pour-Over Brewer with Travel Mug,

    With this kit you get 2 travel cups and 2 #2 filters! $15. BRILLIANT!!!

    I had the Aerobie. DUMPED IT!! It was a pain in the arse. And t brewed a small cuppa joe. The brew was good just not worth the effort. Can't use it with paper or styrofoam cups either.

    Why buy a Cona or Bodum which is too light and dangerously top heavy> I know mine tipped over on the 3rd pot and shattered!

    Look on Ebay for the Sylex Vacuum Pot. Sylex has been making Vacuum Pots since the 1930's, they are heavy duty restaurant quality and the have a nice retro look as after all they are vintage.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: The best brew: Melitta Coffee Maker, Single Cup Pour-Over Brewer with Travel Mug,

      I had the Aerobie. DUMPED IT!! It was a pain in the arse.

      I very much doubt that that is the right way to use it.

  37. Mephistro

    On the matter of 'camp coffee'

    When I was a young lad and went camping with the family, the traditional way of making coffee in the bush was something like this:

    - Put a pot with water over the camp fire and wait till the water begins to boil. Retire from the fire and wait for ~three minutes.

    - Put 1 spoon of ground coffee per cup inside a CLEAN (this part is important ;-) cotton sock, close with a knot and put the sock into the hot water for another three minutes.

    - Apply gentle pressure to the sock using a spoon, so as to help the coffee free more of its essence.

    - Pour, add sugar and/or milk and enjoy.

    The grown ups always would compliment the quality of the beverage made this way, but as they usually drank the thing mixed with whisky or orujo and I wasn't allowed back then to drink coffee, I never was too confident of the method until I was a few years older and was allowed to drink it. Yep, it was good.

    Nowadays, I manage with one of those 'moka' machines and an 'espresso' machine for 'important occasions'. I like Nespresso coffee, but the costs per cup are a rip-off.

  38. Jan Hargreaves

    Moka pot for me. Bought one in an Italian restaurant for under 20 quid in 2005. It's still going strong to this day and I use it on average once daily (mostly one a day in the morning, occassionally a second one in the evening or no coffee on rare occasions).

    Lavazza Rossa is my coffee of choice.

  39. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

    Aeropress = increase "length and girth"

    That photo of Aeropress looks a bit familiar. Didn't they advertise in Razzle and Fiesta?

  40. Phrontis

    Best way for a caffine hit for me.

    A simple Bodum type cafetiere one mug size. Two heaped soup spoons (I know it works for me) of Sainsbury's Continental blend (strength 5) ground coffee. Hot water just off boiling stir, let sit for a couple of minutes and stir again. Let it stand again and stir once more if needed. Once it's stood for a while do a slow press on the filter bar. Enjoy! Then do a second one about an hour later.

    Then tea for the rest of the day.

  41. Muskiier

    Technivorm Moccamaster and a good grinder

    Tried many and found the Technivorm Moccamaster. Makes great coffee in any quantity from a couple of cups to 10. We're lucky to have a good local roaster - and don't forget a good grinder which seems to help.

  42. DesktopGuy

    Through summer, I often make use of the cheapest method.

    Get a large mason jar, fill with 30% fresh ground coffee, douse with small amount almost boiling water let it sit for 30 seconds to bloom, stir then top up with cold water. Bung in fridge for 3 days with cling wrap pressed down against water surface to keep out air. After half a day, the floating raft of coffee will fall.

    I often have it cold with a little condensed milk, or heated up as a standard flat white.

    This is actually as good as the $4 shot of cold drip coffee all the local baristas do around Sydney.

    Not as sexy as all the glass test tubes and condensers etc.. but it works!

  43. harmjschoonhoven
    Happy

    Syrian coffee

    Travelling in Syria Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (1784-1817) mentions cardamom-flavoured coffee. It tastes quite well.

  44. JimWin

    The coffee brand is also a big factor

    Having discovered Douwe Egberts coffee on a trade show visit to Amsterdam, I've stuck with in the 20 or so years since. Then my son brought back a milk frother from a school trip to Italy. One heavenly cafeteria coffee with frothed milk every morning.

    PS - yes Starmucks is the worst coffee out there.

  45. FredDerf

    Call me a heathen from the States.

    I use a Melitta coffee maker and Trader Joe's (a specialty grocer that has a cult following) French Roast coffee. Grind it at TJs and keep it in is can in the frig. Use one HEAPING 1oz spoon per 6oz water in the morning. If I want more during the day I'll make a cup in my French press with water boiled in the microwave. But hey, I've been know to make Cowboy Coffee, Google it, on occasions.

  46. scottyman

    mmmmm aeropress

    I regularly take it away on business trips if I'm away for a long enough to justify checked-in luggage

    It's infinitely superior to hotel room coffee regardless of whether it's french press or filtered

    I had to do a bit of a balancing act in Toronto last week, as my crappy hotel didn't even have a kettle, only a one-cup filter machine and paper cups which was a bit naff.

    It's really a case of finding a good source of coffee, and getting a couple of day's supply ground when you get where you're going.

    The only thing I'm going to add to my travel kit, is a stainless steel or enamelled mug to have in my bag

  47. Daniel Voyce

    I have an Aeropress which I use for my morning Bulletproof coffee, to be honest I was just lazy and bought the kit from their website but I have to say I do like it!

    I tend to just stick a scoop in, fill it up to the top and stir it and then press it through! I think if I was going to upgrade id get a proper espresso machine but I feel no need to at the moment.

  48. Anthony Hegedus

    Mine's a nespresso and a tassimo

    Every morning I prepare a shot of Nespresso (not genuine Nespresso toner, I use Cafe Pod), and then prepare a big cup on my tassimo machine and make the rest of my breakfast. By the time I've fumbled through that, The nespresso has cooled down to just the right temperature. I drink it first to ensure the caffeine enters my bloodstream quickly (to lower the amount of blood in my caffeine stream?) then have breakfast and enjoy a nice long cup of coffee.

    I bought the Tassimo machine because I was having far too many shots of nespresso and I needed a way of making a reasonably strong long cup of coffee.

  49. Mage Silver badge
    Pint

    Mud Coffee?

    *MUD Coffee*

    Very fine ground espresso of high quality

    Put in tall mug

    carefully pour in boiling water, don't stir!

    dribble cold water to sink any grounds.

    (This is not proper Turkish / Greek / Balkan / Middle East method but needs no equipment and works well. Do NOT take last mouthful).

    I have the lovely Alloy two part pot in 1st photo in two sizes. Wonderful.

    I usually use a cheap supermarket (< £15) filter maker with deluxe tinned espresso grounds. Keep coffee grounds in freezer or sealed jar or damp makes it bitter.

    Sometimes for a change I use my cheap glass and steel сafetière à piston. I have a single and multicup size. Choice is good to have.

    I also have a cheap pressurised espresso maker (under £20). It's microswitch failed but I have a bag of those. Tastes as good as any espresso with lovely creme, also can make Latte. Choice of grounds is more important than machine. Personally the only things I ever add to coffee are Water, Brandy, Whisky/Whiskey or possibly the Galliano amaretto liqueur stuff. I regard stuff from tits in Tea or Coffee as an abomination. It's for kids or cornflakes. Even muesli I microwave just with water.

  50. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Krups grinder, Prestige filter machine....

    .... the one with lots of shiny, and the clock and timer that I don't use and probably no one else does either.

    Beans (House blend - the named stuff costs a fortune) from Martyn's in Muswell Hill - kept in freezer until needed.

  51. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Turkish Coffee

    Always worth a cup. Boiled in one of those long handled jugs. Needs to froth up, subside and bring to boil a second time. Then drink straight away. Sweetened if you want.

    Appropos of which.

    A few years back I went into a local grocers' and asked for Turkish coffee. The (Greek) owner was affronted and said "Only Greek coffee here". So I bought "Greek coffee".

    When I looked on the packet it said "Made in Turkey".

  52. Glenn Amspaugh

    German Design

    I prefer the Chemex. I don't mind the time spent pouring water over grounds as I'm already at the stove making breakfast (ham-n-cheese omelette, bacon, fried potatoes with green chile every day). Even with acidic coffee the filters do a good job of pulling the acid out and leaving it bean sweet.

  53. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Not a nut

    I buy a large jar of Lidl's least finest and a packet of Morrison's (cheapest I can find locally) cocoa. Half fill a jar with a 3:1 mix. Mix three coffee to one cocoa and shake the jar up. Then I have a decent cuppa, serve it black with a very little salt and some Sweetex. Anything else is just bullshit. I'd buy the more expensive ready mades if they were not so... expensive but the cocoa works wonders on whatever I use.

    Try it. And none of that nancie-boy milk in it too, neither!

    If you want milk, get your woman pregnant.

  54. Stoneshop Silver badge

    At home I was using a Senseo for the first morning cuppa, until I noticed I usually wasn't that dead that I couldn't operate a normal drip filter.

    The Bialetti is used mostly for camping: no problem using it on an open-fire stove.

    There's a vacuum pot (a bit more lab glassware-like than the Cona), made in France, in the hackerspace, but it's not used very often.

  55. pierce
    Thumb Up

    I get my beans from a local wholesale roaster for US$10/lb for the likes of Kenya AA or Tanzania Peaberry (two favorites, both medium roast), as its half the price of the only slightly better beans from either of the two local boutique roasters. We grind them in a Capresso Infinity burr mill to fairly fine, and usually brew in a Bonavita electric drip maker, with a goldfilter. makes a near perfect cup of drip, and the bonavita's thermal carafe keeps it hot for hours without burning it.

    the Capresso grinder works surprisingly well for a circa $100 grinder, especially for drip grinds. and its lasted us for many years of daily use.

    the aeropress rocks, but we find we use 2-3X more coffee and I end up SO wired I don't sleep well, so its mostly used for camping trips and such. We also have a rather nice little Olympia MaxiMatic espresso maker but that doesn't get much use as its just more work, and I usually drink 2-3 mugs of strong black a day.

  56. fraccy

    Nothing amuses me more than the rush of people disappearing up their own bottoms when talking about their exquisite - nay mythical - coffee brewing methods which, after a long painful pilgrimage, now enables them to make "the perfect" coffee, one which tramples all other known coffees with its innate magnificence. It is only possible, you see, because of their extremely refined taste (which appears only to manifest in the area of coffee). They feel this often trumpeted "talent" (may I say genius?) somehow reflects positively on their standing within society, and affirms their validity as a Modern Individual. Other "inferior" brewing methods will certainly feel the full force of their disapproval. If you are one of those unlucky people not *doing it right*, you may be lucky enough to receive their pity (but you certainly won't be a success at dinner parties).

    When you realise how many of our ideas about coffee have been marketed to us, and that espresso wasn't invented for the *taste* but rather to enable making fresh coffee quickly in cafes, one sooner or later comes to terms with the fact that the age old method of a cheap filter, some freshly ground beans, and a kettle can't meaningfully be beaten. When you come to terms with this sobering reality, you can move on and find something else to fill your life and identify yourself with. There is something else.. isn't there?

    How about, this time around, finding something genuinely interesting that you weren't unwittingly told to do by clever marketing and too much exposure to a sedentary lifestyle?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like your coffee delivery method of choice failed that morning, then. ☺

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