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Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Sat 12th Jul '08 1:08PM
4678 Posts
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7th Apr '03
I've recently purchased a filter coffee machine (this one - very good value), and have been getting a huge amount of pleasure from it. I thought it would be useful to have a thread to trade recipes, tips and advice.

I've found that the filter coffee maker gets much more use than the other two parts, although it seems that to get a latte or a cappucino just right it does need to be made with espresso rather than filter coffee. Speaking of Lattes / Cappucinos, my guidebook suggests that a cappucino is half milk whereas a latte is only one third milk - is this correct? I always thought lattes were meant to be the milkiest type of coffee.

For those with a milk frother - is there any way to use this without having to make a new batch of milk for each mug of coffee? I've found if I leave the milk in the machine for more than a minute or two it starts to stick to the jug, fortunately it's a non-stick surface so easily cleaned, but it would be nice to make a pot of milk per pot of coffee. I generally end up ignoring the milk frother entirely for this reason.

Has anyone found a good substitute for the chocolate powder on top of a cappucino? I've been experimenting with various brands of hot chocolate but they're not really right, as they're in too concentrated a form.

What are your favourite brands? Personally I love Carte Noir but it's very strong, so I've been either blending it with Taylors of Harrogate's 'Lazy Sunday' or just using it on a lighter setting than normal. And has anyone found a fair trade option which tastes anywhere near as good as the other stuff? I've tried several of the Perco variety and various supermarket own-brand fair trade coffees but I've not found one even remotely approaching the richness and subtlety of Taylors or Carte Noire.

Is it possible to get decaffienated filter coffee anywhere? I'd love to be able to drink coffee in the evenings as well but it would keep me up at night unless I were to find a brand with no caffeine.

For the perfect Mocha: Brew filter coffee as usual (the fuller-bodied the better) and half fill a mug. Add instant Drinking Chocolate to taste, i.e. the stuff that can be made with just water rather than milk (2-3 heaped teaspoons of Cadbury's Instant Hot Chocolate works very well). Stir until dissolved. Top up with milk, the fattier the tastier but obviously make your own judgement here - I compromise with semi-skimmed. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until close to boiling. Sheer indulgence in a mug, and surprisingly few calories given the taste!

And a final tip - when they say on the packet that it should be kept refrigerated after opening, this is for a good reason - they will lose their flavour rapidy if allowed to dry out / kept too warm. I'd highly recommend buying an airtight metal coffee jar which fits in your fridge, in fact one for each brand if necessary - it really does make a difference if you store it properly. If you dion't have a jar, close the bag in an airtight manner with a peg or buldog clip and store in the fridge anyway.
  

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Sun 13th Jul '08 12:05PM
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3rd Jun '03


Demian was bold enough to comment:
I've recently purchased a filter coffee machine



Ah, a subject close to my heart.



I've found that the filter coffee maker gets much more use than the other two parts, although it seems that to get a latte or a cappucino just right it does need to be made with espresso rather than filter coffee.



Yes, I definitely think the espresso makes a difference. It's brewed in a fundamentally different way - the infusion is achieved by forcing water through at high pressure rather than just letting it mix. Similarly, I'd say an Americano (espresso topped up with hot water, to make standard black/white coffee) is a great improvement over a standard filter cup.



Speaking of Lattes / Cappucinos, my guidebook suggests that a cappucino is half milk whereas a latte is only one third milk - is this correct? I always thought lattes were meant to be the milkiest type of coffee.


I agree with you - I'm pretty sure that's wrong. The way I've always heard it, a cappuccino is one third espresso, one third steamed milk and one third foam, whereas a latte is a measure of espresso topped up with a load of steamed milk. So a proper cappuccino would actually be pretty small, pretty strong and a large part of it would be air, but it's good because the froth insulates the drink so it stays really hot as well as being a fairly strong coffee kick.



For those with a milk frother - is there any way to use this without having to make a new batch of milk for each mug of coffee? I've found if I leave the milk in the machine for more than a minute or two it starts to stick to the jug, fortunately it's a non-stick surface so easily cleaned, but it would be nice to make a pot of milk per pot of coffee. I generally end up ignoring the milk frother entirely for this reason.



Not really found a way of doing this - all I can suggest is to get one of the stainless steel milk jugs that you see them using in cafés. They are incredibly smooth and so incredibly non-stick - just a moment's rinse is usually fine. So you could take the jug out from under the steamer and leave it, then reheat the milk a bit for each cup.



Has anyone found a good substitute for the chocolate powder on top of a cappucino? I've been experimenting with various brands of hot chocolate but they're not really right, as they're in too concentrated a form.



I never found anything particularly good other than actual "cappuccino sprinkle" that's identified as such. It has an anti-caking agent in it so it always sprinkles nicely, and granulated sugar for the nice crunchiness. You can get it in Whittard's - sometimes in a variety of flavours.



What are your favourite brands? Personally I love Carte Noir but it's very strong, so I've been either blending it with Taylors of Harrogate's 'Lazy Sunday' or just using it on a lighter setting than normal. And has anyone found a fair trade option which tastes anywhere near as good as the other stuff? I've tried several of the Perco variety and various supermarket own-brand fair trade coffees but I've not found one even remotely approaching the richness and subtlety of Taylors or Carte Noire.



I tend to get Whittard's own brand beans and grind them at home. (We've got a lovely little Delonghi grinder that was only £20, is really beautifully made and works a treat. I would thoroughly recommend it.) Whittard's have a few Fairtrade-certified beans and also a lot that carry their own "Fair to Farmers" logo. The thing about actual Fairtrade certification is that it has all sorts of rules attached to it that aren't about fairness, so all sorts of actually good and ethical projects are ruled out. So instead of necessarily looking for the logo, I tend now to look into the actual circumstances in which the coffee was produced.

Anyway, there's a huge range of beans in Whittard's; I can't imagine going back to getting coffee from anywhere else really. They can grind it to whatever setting you like (so it's always fresh) or, like I said, get a job lot of beans and keep most of them in the freezer until you grind them. Generally when I have coffee at home, it's been ground within the previous 30 seconds. It's brilliant.



Is it possible to get decaffienated filter coffee anywhere? I'd love to be able to drink coffee in the evenings as well but it would keep me up at night unless I were to find a brand with no caffeine.


Yes, I'm certain it is, as I've seen it, but I can't remember what kind! Actually, forgive me for getting annoying about this, but I'm fairly sure there's a Whittard decaffeinated bean available...

Here's another couple of tips. If you're making espresso (or cappucino etc), put a bit of a cinnamon stick on top of the coffee in the brewing head. Fantastic. Powdered works fine as well, but it's much finer and lighter than the ground coffee so tends to stick to things a bit.

And another tip, discovered as a result of the previous one. I once made some coffee with the cinnamon trick, using powdered cinnamon. Only it turned out not to have been cinnamon; it was chilli powder. And it was brilliant! Really, it works surprisingly well. Not too much, you understand. It just adds a nice bit of spice to it. Probably best with black coffee though. And, importantly, never do this with mild chilli powder; only use hot. The reason for that is that mild chilli powder is only a small proportion chilli; the rest is things like dried onion, garlic powder, salt, and all sorts of other things that make it a truly delicious ingredient but somewhat ruin your coffee.
   

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Sun 13th Jul '08 10:49PM
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7th Apr '03


Malcolm was bold enough to comment:

I'd say an Americano (espresso topped up with hot water, to make standard black/white coffee) is a great improvement over a standard filter cup.




An irritating number of coffee shops will give you an Americano when you ask for a filter coffee.
Which is fine if you like them, but I don't
    

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Mon 14th Jul '08 8:19PM
4597 Posts
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7th Apr '03
You should check out Sainsbury's Fair Trade filter coffee - they sell it according to the region the beans are grown in and there are some truly delicious ones in there. I prefer a flavourful yet smoothe coffee that won't blow my head off so I often go for the Costa Rican or Peruvian beans for my Cafetiere.
    

Allen Key
Stagnating, like a packet of crisps on the roof.
Tue 15th Jul '08 9:54AM
510 Posts
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10th Oct '04


Demian was bold enough to comment:
Is it possible to get decaffienated filter coffee anywhere? I'd love to be able to drink coffee in the evenings as well but it would keep me up at night unless I were to find a brand with no caffeine.




Had a look in Tescos last night and couldn't see a decaf as such - however, Taylors do a low-caffeine blend called 'Take It Easy' which might be worth a go.

Malcolm may well be right re. Whittards, I have vague notions of them doing decaf. I'm just finishing up some of their Guatemala Elephant, which is possibly my favourite coffee in the whole entire world.
 

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Tue 15th Jul '08 12:28PM
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3rd Jun '03
I've just had a quick peruse in Sainsbury's and have good news to report. As far as I can remember, there was a Sainsbury's Decaff (available both ground and as beans), a Lavazza Decaffienated and - and you'll like this - Taylors of Harrogate Décafiné, from the same range as Lazy Sunday, Take It Easy, etc.

Hurrah!

I suppose it's possible that the Taylor's one is harder to get further afield - here in York we are very close to the Bettys & Taylors (same company) nerve centre, just outside Harrogate. But surely the Sainsbury's and Lavazza will be available elsewhere - and if there's a Sainsbury's one there's bound to be a Tesco one too. And a quick look at the Café Direct website confirms that they do a decaff as well.
   

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Wed 16th Jul '08 11:08AM
4678 Posts
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7th Apr '03
Fantastic - much more choice than I'd thought. Thanks folks.

Yesterday I took Malcolm's adice and purchased a grinder, (this one), and I bought a large bag of decaf beans from Wittards. They are fairly pricey and I haven't tried them yet (finishing up other packets first) but will definitely try the others too.

Also got some rather nice caramel frappe mix which works just as well as a flavouring, and a quarter kilo of tiny marshmallows to go with a selection of their fancy hot chocolates, so I can make chili & cinammon decaf marshmallow mochas now
  

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