My perfect coffee guide
I love my coffee in the morning and after lunch. It helps me to stay sharp throughout the workday, it warms me up and it can function as the perfect moment of peace and quiet. But as I’m incorporating my two cups into my day, I’m starting to appreciate quality coffee more. Here are some of my favourite ways to make a brewing hot cup of coffee, which beans deliver the best results and what additions I like to add. Without further ado, here’s my recommended coffee guide!
Method to the madness
Mt first coffee machine was a Senseo machine and for years, those pads served me well. I started out with some cheap, dark roast pads which weren’t very good, but they were strong enough to get me up in the morning. I was still a student at this time and couldn’t really spend much more.
Then, I discovered the slightly more expensive, but way more delicious cappuccino pads from Senseo. These were of way more quality than the other pads and the added milk made it a way better experience. I also discovered that putting two of the cheaper pads in for one cup of coffee really helped with the flavour.
However, that all changed when I got my percolator. I have a small one that just makes one cup, because I live alone. Percolators make strong coffee, so in the beginning I needed to get used to the intensity. However, because everything is done by hand, it’s easy to control how much water and coffee go in there.
Although I think it’s worth the effort, percolator coffee isn’t the easiest to brew. You can’t do other things whilst it’s heating up, because you’ll burn the coffee. I’ve learned this the hard, bitter way. But no seriously, burned percolator coffee is the most disgusting thing ever. Also, getting the right ratio of water versus coffee is a challenge and since it’s best to put hot water in the bottom, it’s sometimes difficult not to burn your hands whilst you’re screwing the top on.
Another downside is that you can only brew once every while, because the bottom will be incredibly hot and it needs to cool off before you can repeat the process for another cup. However, with the right technique and good beans, nothing beats percolator coffee in my opinion. I love the taste and it really allows the beans to show their complexity.
I didn’t think I ever would, but when I tasted Nespresso at my job, I fell in love. It’s not better than a good cup of percolator coffee, but the ease of the process is a really big plus and the quality is just way more consistent. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve screwed up my perfectly good percolator cup because I wasn’t focused enough. I never have this problem with Nespresso!
At my job, they had the pods from Nespresso. From these pods, I prefer the ‘Peru’, ‘India’, and the ‘Guatemala’ pods when I want a smoother cup, or the ‘Ristretto’ or ‘Intenso’ pods when I need something strong.
Later, I got send a Nespresso Vertuo at home through a Voxbox from Influenster, which I love dearly. From these cups, I prefer the Inizio or the Costa Rica cups for a smooth cup, the Stormio as a pick-me-up and when I really need a treat, I choose the Hazelino Muffin. I used to hate sweetened coffee, but the Hazelino Muffin is an exception for sure!
The magic beans
I choose to grind my coffee beans by hand, because I feel that it makes for a rougher texture and a better taste (and my manual grinder is very cute). However, the rougher grind means it doesn’t extract as well as finer grinds. However, I often go for darkly roasted arabica beans, which don’t need as much extraction to get the full flavour. Another benefit of grinding myself instead of being ground coffee is that it holds its flavour for much longer and buying in bulk is often cheaper.
Personally, I really like the Café Intención, Aromatico beans, made from 100% arabica beans. They’re a bit expensive. However, they are also biological and fair trade, which makes it worth it for sure. On a scale from 1-12, these rank on place 10 and are therefore perfect for a strong cup.
To switch it up, I also sometimes buy the Starbucks dark roast espresso beans. It’s a strong cup, the cheapest in this little list and they’re often in the sale here. This coffee is 100% arabica beans and it’s a good one if you like your coffee with milk or foam, like I do.
Recently I fell in love with the Simon Lévelt Pietro dark roast beans, which might be my current favourite. It’s a mix of arabica coffee from Central and South America with some African robusta in there as well. Simon Levelt offers biological coffee and they also help the farmers to create sustainable farming solutions, whilst also helping the communities over there. However, it’s a Dutch brand so I’m not sure if you could order it in other countries. The robusta in here makes it a more bitter coffee, which is actually how I like it when I need a pick-me-up in the morning.
One of a kind?
A few years back, I went to Bali with my parents. Although I did drink coffee back then, I didn’t know much about the drink yet (it was the Senseo era). However, I knew I had to try Kopi Luwak.
Kopi Luwak is made with the help of a beautiful animal called the palm civet, a cat-like, shy animal that lives in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. These civet cats eat the coffee cherries and then later poop out the beans, which are mostly full in tact still. The beans are then washed and processed, so it can create coffee.
There are two reasons this coffee is said to taste so amazingly. The civet cats are said to only eat the best berries they can find. On top, their digestive systems break down some of the enzymes in the beans, which gets rid of the bitter taste. Both of these factors are said to contribute to the smooth taste that this coffee has.
It’s a pretty wild story, isn’t it? It’s also for the unpracticality of this process that Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee on earth. You can imagine that tracking wild civet cats until they poop and then rummaging through their faeces to find the beans. However, what I didn’t know back then and what’s even wilder is the way many of these animals are being treated.
There are brands that sell Kopi Luwak ‘made’ by wild civet cats. They go into nature to find the faeces, collect them and get on with the process. This is the Kopi Luwak that’s really expensive, as you can imagine. However, due to the huge demand of the drink and the high prices they can ask for this coffee, many civet cats are being caged and only fed coffee cherries, whereas wild civets have a very diverse diet. This leads to huge amounts of stress, malnutrition and early deaths in these wonderful animals.
I personally hate to know that I’ve stimulated this, even though I just had one cup. I honestly didn’t know any of this until researching it for this post and it hurts to know animals are being treated this way. And it isn’t even worth it! I can’t say that it was disgusting to drink, it wasn’t, but it also wasn’t the best cup I’ve ever had. Not by a long shot! I just hope the cup I had was actually by an ethical company, but it’s hard to know for sure, especially after all these years.
Foaming it up
A coffee guide isn’t complete without a talk of milk in coffee and the variations it opens up. Although a strong black cup of coffee can be nice, I really prefer mine with a splash of milk or oat milk. To get it to foam nicely in my milk frother, I need a very fatty milk. When I use ‘real’ milk, I prefer special barista milk, because it’s much creamier than other ones, which makes the texture of the entire cup way better.
When it comes to oat milk, it’s the same principle and the barista versions are often way better than the normal ones. However, the normal ones are thinner than normal milks, which makes them less foamy. I personally prefer the barista oat milk from Oatly (and their amazing marketing) or their ‘This is not milk’ oat milk. The benefit of the ‘This is not milk’ version is that even the semi-skinned version foams nicely. Oatly’s options just have the most flavour and the best foam.
How much is too much?
There are many, many coffee – milk combinations. At home, I tend to go for a cappuccino since that’s the easier to make with my frother. It’s a third espresso, a third steamed milk and a third milk foam. I also tend to see cappuccino as ‘the safe option’ at coffee shop where I’ve never been.
However, when I know a coffee shop is good at what they do, I tend to prefer a flat white. It’s a double espresso with some foam. It’s much smaller than a cappuccino and the taste tends to be a little stronger.
A latte macchiato is basically the same as a cappuccino, but you start with milk and foam and you pour the espresso into the milk. Then you have a latte, you start like a cappuccino, but instead of an espresso, you put in a double one and the foam is only one centimetre in height.
In the end, I like the creaminess and softness of the milk and a strong kick of coffee. So, when I add milk to my coffee at home, I tend to chose strong, dark roasted coffee. I feel like it brings the best of both worlds to one cup.
What is your favourite way to have coffee? Let me know in the comments below. Next to this coffee guide, I also wrote a post about the health benefits of coffee and a post on tea. And if you’d like to read more articles like this, please feel free to share it and follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. You can also subscribe and get an e-book for free on saving money without giving things up!
Lots of love,
LisaHome » All posts »