Coffee Crazy: coffee inspiration at home
The coffee craze has well and truly arrived in the UK, but you don´t need to go to a coffee shop to find the perfect cup.
The coffee craze has well and truly arrived. The taste for freshly ground java has exploded all across the UK and there is barely a single town without a major chain and independent coffee shops competing for business.
Of course, you don't necessarily need to go out to find your dream drink. To achieve percolation perfection at home, you can always recreate the charm and sophistication of store-bought coffee with a modern coffee maker or espresso machine from Currys. Coffee machines can be a stylish addition to any kitchen, but it is sometimes difficult to know exactly what you need in a coffee machine.
Here is our quick guide to home coffee machines and coffee makers below.
Bean to Cup Coffee Machines
A coffee connoisseur will tell you that the best way to enjoy your java at home is to manage the whole process from start to finish yourself. Bean-to-cup coffee machines let you do exactly that by incorporating grinders into the mix so that you can release the full flavour of the beans only seconds before putting them into the machine.
These coffee makers come in a vast range of shapes, sizes and prices and it is this method that is used commerically by the main shops on the high street. However, for use at home we particularly like the Delonghi Caffe Corso bean-to-cup machine which has an integrated milk frother.
Pod Coffee Machines
Although they don't offer you the same fantastic level of control, pod coffee machines also represent a revolution for making coffee at home. The perfect wake-up on any morning, all you have to do is put your pod into the machine and let it do its magic, and you will have a beautifully crafted coffee in seconds.
If you want to try out pod coffee for yourself, then we recommend the Pod Bosch Tassimo Vivy. There are over 35 varieties of Tassimo pod for you to try, including herbal teas and hot chocolate as well as your favourite varieties of coffee.
Another great pod machine is the Nespresso Inissia. The ever-growing Nespresso Grands Crus collection offers 22 different varieties.
For purists, an espresso machine provides great flexibility, allowing you the freedom to create the perfect crema the way you like it. Espresso machines use widely available pre-ground coffee or you can grind your coffee to the coarseness you require using a grinder (see our coffee accessories).
One of our favourite espresso makers is the Delonghi Scultura. It not only looks super stylish, its features include a milk frother for your cappuccinos, caffé lattes or macchiatos, a buit-in tamper and cup warmer.
How to make the pefect cappucino
The first rule of an authentic cappuccino is to make a perfect 'crema'. This is the thick, golden foam you find on top of an espresso when it's been brewed. To test a good crema put a little sugar on top, if it takes time to fall to the bottom you've succeeded.
A perfect crema comes from:
- Quality coffee beans
- Good grinding
- Tamping: The art of pressing down on the ground coffee when it is in the filter with a tool known as a tamper (some espresso machines come with an in-built tamper). Tamping gives an even and consistent flow of the water through the coffee.
While your perfect espresso is brewing it's time to heat the milk. There is debate as to which milk makes the best cappuccino. Some say skimmed as it holds its froth for longer because of the low fat content but the main rule is that it needs to be fresh as the protein in the milk creates the frothiness.
If you are using a coffee machine which has a frother:
- Use a stainless steel jug which conducts heat better and fill it to just under half full with cold milk
- Create a good amount of foam in the milk by tipping the jug and gently bringing the steam wand up as the foam is created
If you do not have a 'frother' heat the milk in a pan to just below boiling point. Once the milk is hot, put it in a large cafetière and pump the plunger 10-15 times until you have plenty of froth.
The perfect pour:
- Once the milk is heated pour the espresso shots into coffee cups
- Before pouring the milk give it a few taps to remove bubbles
- Add enough milk to fill the cup two thirds of the way, using a large spoon to hold back the froth
- In the remaining space, spoon out the foam leaving a visible brown rim round the edge for an authentic look
- Sprinkle with chocolate if desired
Other types of coffee:
- Latte: espresso and hot milk, the normal ratio is 1:6
- Macchiato: espresso with a touch of milk
- Con Panne: espresso with cream
- Mocha: hot chocolate with a dash of espresso
- Americano: hot water with a dash of espresso