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Information and advice on Coffee & Tea

Information and advice on Coffee & Tea

The History of Coffee

Coffee origins are lost in legend, but one of the most popular stories attributes the discovery to a herd of tired hungry goats and their curious Ethiopian caretaker, Kaldi in the sixth century. Tired of searching for greener pastures and weary from hunger, Kaldi’s herd resorted to nibbling the sweet red berries off strange bushes. Extraordinary behaviour soon followed. Old billy goats began to kick up their heels in high spirits. When Kaldi tried the cherries for himself, he too was soon cavorting across the hillside, and he soon told a monk of the divine berries and this news was heralded at the nearby monastery. The evening prayers soon became more pleasant and the wonder of the heavenly berries spread.

Until the tenth century, coffee was considered a food. Ethiopian tribesman would mix the berries with animal fat rolled in to balls and they would eat these on their nomadic journeys. By the thirteenth century coffee’s healing powers were well documented within the Islamic world. It was considered a most powerful medicine as well as a religious potion that was used by the faithful to maintain alertness and to help keep them awake during lengthy prayers. Islamic pilgrims spread the virtue of coffee throughout the Middle East and by the end of the fifteenth century, coffeehouses sat along side neighbourhood mosques as favoured meeting places.

To retain tight control over their very profitable coffee trade, Arab traders sold only boiled or roasted beans. Coffee beans that could be cultivated and grown in to fruit-bearing plants were not allowed out of Arabia. It was not until the early seventeenth century that a Moslem pilgrim smuggled the first fertile beans into India. Baba Budan was reputedly the fellow who snatched seven seeds and tied them around his waist before continuing with his holy pilgrimage to Mecca. When he returned home, he planted his precious cargo and nurtured and cultivated his prolific bushes. The Dutch soon arrived at his doorstep and convinced him to part with some of his precious young trees, and within a few years dozens of countries were cultivating these supreme beans.

So in short, I put together a coffee time line:

c 850
First known discovery of coffee berries. Legend of goat herder Kaldi of Ethiopia who notices goats are friskier after eating red berries of a local shrub. Experiments with the berries himself and begins to feel happier.

c 1100
The first coffee trees are cultivated on the Arabian Peninsula. Coffee is first roasted and boiled by Arabs making “qahwa” — a beverage made from plants.

1475
The worlds first coffee shop opens in Constantinople. It is followed by the establishment of two coffee houses in 1554.

c 1600
Coffee enters Europe through the port of Venice. The first coffeehouse opens in Italy in 1654.

1607
Coffee is introduced to the New World by Captain John Smith, founder of Virginia at Jamestown… Some Canadian historians claim it arrived in previously settled Canada.

1652
The first coffeehouse opens in England. Coffeehouses are called “penny universities” (a penny is charged for admission and a cup of coffee). It is believed that this is where the term ‘a penny for your thoughts’ came from. Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse opens in 1688. It eventually becomes Lloyd’s of London, the world’s best known insurance company. The word “TIPS” is coined in an English coffee house: A sign reading “To Insure Prompt Service” (TIPS) was placed by a cup. Those desiring prompt service and better seating threw a coin into a tin.

1672
The opening of the first Parisian cafe dedicated to serving coffee. In 1713, King Louis XIV is presented with a coffee tree. It is believed that sugar was first used as an additive in his court.

1683
The first coffeehouse opens in Vienna. The Turks, defeated in battle, leave sacks of coffee behind.

1690
The Dutch become the first to transport and cultivate coffee commercially. Coffee is smuggled out of the Arab port of Mocha and transported to Ceylon and East Indies for cultivation.

1721
The first coffeehouse opens in Berlin.

1723
Coffee Plants are introduced in the Americas for cultivation. Gabriel de Clieu, a French naval officer, transports a seedling to Martinique. By 1777, 1920 million coffee plants are cultivated on the island.

1727
The Brazilian coffee industry gets its start from seedlings smuggled out of Paris.

1750
One of Europe’s first coffeehouses, Cafe Greco, opens in Rome. By 1763, Venice has over 2,000 coffee shops.

1822
The prototype of the first espresso machine is created in France.

1885
A process of using natural gas and hot air becomes the most popular method of roasting coffee.

c 1900
Kaffeeklatsch, afternoon coffee, becomes popular in Germany.

1905
The first commercial espresso machine is manufactured in Italy.

1908
The invention of the worlds first drip coffeemaker. Melitta Bentz makes a filter using blotting paper.

1933
Dr. Ernest Illy develops the first automatic espresso machine.

1938
Nescafé instant coffee is invented by the Nestlé company as it assists the Brazilian government in solving its coffee surplus problem.

1945
Achilles Gaggia perfects the espresso machine with a piston that creates a high pressure extraction to produce a thick layer of crema.

1991
Caffè Carissimi Canada, a network of espresso service providers is formed in Canada, modelled after a visit to Franco Carissimi (roaster and equipment manufacturer) in Bergamo Italy. It becomes the fastest growing network of private and independent super automatic machines providers in Canada.

1995
Coffee is the worlds most popular beverage. More than 400 billion cups are consumed each year. It is a world commodity that is second only to oil.

1999
Mochaccinos Coffee shop opens and starts selling freshly roasted coffee to the public.

2000
Mochaccinos opens its coffee bar selling a wide range of drinks

2009

Following a relocation, Mochaccinos changed its high street name to More Than Coffee.

 

The Principles of Coffee Making

The beverage called coffee is the result of mixing dry coffee with water. The combination can be done by one of many methods – ranging from the very simple, with the minimum of equipment – to the use of complex machines that can cost thousands of pounds. Understanding a few facts about coffee brewing can answer some of the questions that can arise when wondering which brewing method to use.

For the perfect taste we suggest the following…… between 50-75g/2-3oz per 1 litre/33fl oz of water, although many people would consider normal strength coffee to be 55g/10tbsp per litre of water.

The most beautiful and expensive coffee machines do not always produce the most satisfying cup of coffee.

Water Condition

You may have bought coffee after drinking a fantastic cup of coffee, all ready to take it home and make it at home, you will brew it correctly and perhaps wonder why it doesn’t taste the same. As a cup of coffee is 98 per cent water, the condition and taste of the water are at least as important as the coffee used and only water from the same source will recreate an exact taste. Coffee experts tend to agree that the best water for brewing coffee is slightly hard; a few minerals will enhance the coffee flavour, hence the old fashioned custom of adding a pinch of salt to “bring out the flavour”

Water Temperature

Water of any temperature will extract coffee, but hot water extracts faster than cold. Never pour boiling water on coffee, even on instant, as it brings out the harsh flavour – to boil is to spoil. The perfect temperature range for coffee preparation is between 92-96°C/197-205°F.

The Importance of Having the Right Grind

The finer the grind the greater the surface area exposed to the water and the faster the extraction of soluble solids. Finely ground particles of coffee are thus required where the contact time between the coffee and the water is shorter i.e.: Espresso. Conversely, a coarser grind will help to delay the extraction when grounds are left in the container from which they will be served i.e.: Cafetiere.

Storage of your Coffee

Our coffee is sent out in a heat sealed bag to preserve its freshness (as oxygen makes coffee go stale and hence destroys the flavour) and so, once you have opened your coffee it should be stored in the freezer in an airtight container. As fresh coffee is a dry product, you can use it straight from the freezer and return it afterwards. It should be noted that keeping coffee in the fridge may spoil it as the moisture from the fridge will enter the coffee and it will be contaminated by any strong scents such as that from cheese, fish etc…

The Art of Brewing and Drinking Your Perfect Cup

Turkish Ibrik

The traditional brewing vessel, the ibrik (or Greek briki) is a small, long-handled copper or brass plated pan with a narrow neck.

Turkish Ibrik This is the only method which insists on breaking the “never boil the coffee” rule, but as the coffee actually boils with the sugar, the bitterness from boiling never affects the flavour.Turkish Coffee is served with a small glass of cold water and sometimes a piece of Turkish Delight and is always served black.
How to Use the Ibrik1) Remembering the proportions for this method is simple, one of everything per cup, so if you are making two cups you will need 2 very heaped teaspoons of Turkish coffee in the ibrik2) Next, add 2 very heaped teaspoons of sugar in to the ibrik, this will achieve the medium sweetness preferred by most westerners.3) Now using one of the tiny Turkish coffee cups from which you will drink the coffee, place 2 cups of water in to the ibrik. You can at this point add a cardamom pod, a stick of cinnamon or aniseed to vary the taste.4) Place the ibrik over a low heat and wait for it to boil. When the bubbling brew threatens to boil over the rim of the ibrik, quickly remove it from the heat, stir it and return the ibrik to the heat. It will soon start to boil over again when this happens remove it instantly from the heat, there is no need to stir it again.5) When the froth rises to the top for a third time, carefully remove the ibrik from the heat and pour the contents in to the two cup alternating between the two, being careful to give some all-important froth to each

SARAH’S TOP TIP – returning the ibrik to the boil for a third time ensures the roundness of the flavour and a thorough blending of the coffee and sugar.

Al FrescoThis is a very simple method of making coffee, when there is no proper equipment available to make your much needed cup of coffee. You can use this method when you are camping and it can be used on an open fire!! Any blend or roast of medium to coarse ground coffee can be used in this method and remember to use 55g/10 tablespoons per litre of water.SARAH’S TOP TIP – If you only have fine ground coffee on your camping trip, simply reduce the sitting time to 3 minutes.
Al Fresco Coffee Making Coffee Al Fresco1) Measure the amount of cold water needed into a saucepan, If you do not have a measuring jug to hand simply use a coffee cup multiplied by the number of cups needed plus a little extra for absorption. Now place the saucepan over the heat.2) Measure out the correct amount of dry coffee needed, when the water is just beginning to boil, quickly add all the coffee to the water.3) Immediately remove the pan from the heat, stirring well. Set aside for about 4 minutes, then strain into a cup, add milk and sugar if desired, sit back, drink and enjoy the campfire.
Jug (Carafe)As with the al fresco way of making coffee this infusion method is very simple and requires very little equipment. Any type of medium ground coffee can be used.
Jug or Carafe 1) Warm the jug by filling it with hot water. Meanwhile heat enough water to fill the jug again. Pour out the first quantity of water into a measuring jug so you know how much coffee to use. Dry the jug and place the coffee into the bottom. For normal strength coffee you should use 55g/10 tbsp per 1 litre/1 3/4pints/4 cups of water.2) When the water has been heated to just below boiling point (small bubbles quickly rising to the surface) pour the water carefully over the coffee. Stir well, preferably with a wooden spoon and leave to stand for about 4 minutes before straining into the coffee cups.SARAH’S TOP TIP – Do not try to keep jug coffee hot. If it is not going to be drunk soon, strain into a pre-warmed vacuum flask.
The Cafetiere (Press Pot or Plunger)Making coffee in a cafetiere is almost exactly like making coffee in a simple jug (carafe). In fact it is far easier as you do not have to use a separate strainer. It is also easier to judge the water to the correct level (it is not however easier to clean!).
Cafetiere The correct grind for this method would be a medium grind but if you only have finely ground coffee to hand the brewing time should be reduced to no more than 3 minutes. Take extra care when pressing down, this way, there is no danger of breaking the glass if you are using a fine grind though there will be more sediment (mud) in the bottom of the cup. Cafetieres vary vastly in size and price but it is worth remembering that the more expensive versions such as Bodum will have spare parts available; from the mesh layer to the glass itself.
General Care and MaintenanceThe cafetiere is not as easy to clean as the ordinary jug because the coffee grounds get trapped in the mesh layer and the metal discs either side of it. These should be separated and cleaned after every use as coffee grounds are oily and can go rancid thus ruining the flavour of your following brews.1) Preheat the glass jug by filling it with hot water (not boiling as this may crack the glass); and while more water is heating, pour the water from the glass jug into a measuring jug and calculate the amount of coffee needed working at 55g/10tbsp per 1 litre/33fl oz/4 cups of water.2) Dry the glass jug and place the dry coffee in it. When the coffee is almost at boiling point carefully pour on to the coffee.3) Stir the mixture very well with a large spoon. The more freshly ground the coffee, the more it has a tendency to float and will seem more resistant to saturation by the water so stir well to incorporate all the dry coffee4) Prop the mesh device with the lid above it, just inside the top of the glass jug, for about 4 minutes. When the brewing time is up hold the lid down with one hand to stabilise the plunger shaft and, with the other hand, slowly push down the plunger. Serve the coffee as soon as possible.

SARAH’S TOP TIP – when pressing the plunger pot down, be sure to press straight down and not at an angle, thus minimising the risk of breaking the glass.

Filter Coffee MachineThis method differs from the previous options in that the coffee does not steep in water. Instead, the water is run through the coffee grounds to extract the flavour. The resulting coffee is clear and to some people, lacking in body, but the fineness of the grind ensures the extraction of the flavour – be sure not to grind the coffee too fine as this could result in the filter clogging and causing over-extraction.
Manual Filters1) Preheat the jug with hot water and while more water is heating pour the water from the glass jug in to a measuring jug and calculate the amount of coffee needed 55g/10tbsp per 1 litre/33fl oz/4 cups of water.2) Whilst heating water, place a filter cone or brewing basket on to the jug and measure the coffee into the filter cone.3) Give the filter a slight shake to level out the coffee.
Ceramic Filter 4) Just before the water comes to the boil, take it off the heat and pour a small amount of the hot water over the grounds and then pause momentarily to allow the coffee grounds to form a harder bed.5) Continue to pour the water in a circular motion over the grounds.6) When the water has all run through the coffee, remove the filter, stir the coffee and it is ready to serve or store in a flask.SARAH’S TOP TIP – If the water stops flowing through the grinds, stir the coffee grounds slightly in the filter cone.The manual filter system ranges from a one cup individual size to a large 10 cup jug.
Electric Filter MachineAn automatic filter machine needs to be descaled regularly to prevent build up of calcium, which can block the delicate internal tubes and restrict the flow of water. Undiluted household vinegar makes an excellent descaler providing the build up of scale is not excessive. Keeping an electric machine clean is very important as coffee is oily and can leave an invisible film which may turn rancid, so be sure to clean and rinse the jug after every use. Do not allow the spray head to become clogged with coffee grounds that may spoil future brews. Clean regularly with a soft cloth. Also, a hot plate will heat more efficiently if it is cleaned of liquid coffee residues.
Electric Filter Maintenance 1) Begin with loading the electric filter machine with cold water and a level bed of dry, fine ground coffee at a ratio of 55g/10tbsp per 1 litre/33fl oz/4 cups of water. It is not a good idea to try and hasten the brewing process by using hot water, as it has a thermostat to operate with cooler water, the time saved will be slight at any rate.2) If it is a good machine the brewing process will start with a burst of hot water wetting the grounds.3) When the brew is finished, stir the jug and serve. The hot plate should hold any remaining coffee at 80-85°C/176-185°F, do not leave the jug of coffee on the hotplate any longer than half an hour. If the coffee is not for immediate consumption, it is better to store it in a flask and again, more expensive Filter Machines will incorporate this rather than have a hot plate – Melitta make an excellent thermal machine.
SARAH’S TOP TIP – never try to re-use coffee grounds, after one brew cycle the flavour is completely extracted and the grounds will produce only a weak and bitter liquid.SARAH’S TOP TIP 2 – If the resulting coffee is too strong, the filter method allows you to dilute the coffee with hot water successfully.
PercolatorA percolator consists of a metal jug with a central tube running through the middle and at the top of this tube, is a metal brewing basket. Originally, this method of brewing would have been carried out on a stovetop but today’s percolators are electric. Either method works by breaking the rules! Its basis is boiling cold water at the bottom of the flask, which will make the water pass up the central tube overflowing into the basket. The water will then filter down through the coarsely ground coffee in the basket and drop back down into the jug in the form of coffee, where if you are not careful the process will continue, resulting in an over extracted bitter tasting brew. A better brand of percolator will automatically switch to a lower heat after one cycle.
Percolator 1) Pour cold water into the pot but not so high that it will make contact with the bottom of the brew basket when the water boils.2) Fill the brew basket with the coarse ground coffee on a ratio of 55g/10tbsp per 1 litre/33fl oz/4 cups of water. Slide the brew basket onto the tube and cover with the perforated lid.3) Once the brewing method starts you will hear a subtle churning noise – the coffee has started to be made! This cycle will take between six and seven minutes in total.As with the filter coffee, it is best to hold the coffee in a preheated flask if it is not for immediate drinking.
SARAH’S TOP TIP – Surfaces touched by coffee should be cleaned thoroughly. Any film of invisible coffee or subsequent detergent left behind will taint future brews! Obviously, do not completely submerge electric percolators, simply use a cloth to wipe the inside of the percolator.
Cona Vacuum PotThe Vacuum pot was invented before 1840 by the Scottish engineer Robert Napier and is known today as the Cona. This method of brewing is actually steeping coffee in water or infusing as the coffee grounds are flooded with water just before the natural law of cool air contraction takes over and separates the grounds from the liquid coffee.The Cona company not only provide you with machines and spare parts, very good instructions but also the option of apparatus for one of two heating methods: a spirit lamp or an electrical coil. Water heats in the lower section/jug and will gradually rise up the central tube to the upper bowl where it will mix with the coffee grinds. This process will be faster if you start of with hot water. Once the water has risen, remove the heating element and the coffee will return to the lower jug gradually leaving behind the grinds.
Cona Vacuum Pot General Care and MaintenanceThe Cona is not only beautiful to look at, it also provides a science lesson, by way of a fascinating visual experience, and just imagine the conversation at a dinner party if bought to the table, all this and it also makes fabulous coffee. The main disadvantage to this method of brewing are that it is not the fastest and the delicacy of the glass parts, in particular the glass funnel, mean that it must be handled with great care to avoid breakage during cleaning (though replacements parts are available from the Cona company).
1) As the glass jug must be filled with hot water, it is quicker to heat the water in a kettle and then add it to the jug. You could use cold water and let it heat in the jug but it will take much longer using the spirit lamp or electric coil as neither of these boil water quickly.2) Insert the funnel plug in to the funnel, place the glass bowl on top of the jug with the funnel in the water and very carefully twist to join the bowl and jug together3) Light the lamp or turn on the coil. Measure the dry coffee in to the upper bowl and place the entire structure in the frame that will suspend it above the heat.4) After the water boils, it will start to move up the funnel in to the upper bowl. When almost all the water has risen, extinguish the spirit lamp or turn off the coil. The water will continue to rise, if you wait before turning off the heat the brewing process will be slightly prolonged, as will the cooling of the air in the jug5) When enough water has risen to wet the coffee thoroughly, stir the mixture in the upper bowl using a wooden spoon, making sure that all the coffee is saturated. Some water will be left in the jug, as the funnel does not reach the bottom.6) When the temperature in the drug has dropped, a partial vacuum will be created that will suck the liquid coffee back in to the jug below, leaving the grounds in the bowl above.

7) Very carefully detach the bowl and funnel placing it in the hole provided above the drip tray

8) Serve the coffee as soon as possible or pour in to a preheated vacuum flask if it is not to be drunk within a few minutes of being made.

SARAH’S TOP TIP – This is without doubt a wonder to behold, so make the coffee at the dinner table and watch your guests delighted faces as you make the coffee.

All About EspressoEspresso coffee is one much cherished aspect of Italian culture which has conquered the world, much like pizza, cafes all over the world are now fitted with espresso machines which make wonderful coffee. The espresso machine has truly taken the world by storm with its shiny machinery, techniques and drinking rituals, menu lists and jargon; they speak to us of espresso, ristretto, latte, and crema. Most of all it is the rediscovered appeal of the splendid aromatic, syrupy taste and creamy heaviness of espresso and delicate clouds of milk foam floating on top that have caused this love affair with the simple espresso.
Manual Espresso Pot 1) To make the coffee in an espresso pot, first you must fill the lower chamber of the pot with cold freshly drawn water to just below the safety valve.2) Fill the filter basket with finely ground dark-roasted coffee3) Using your finger, wipe around the outside of the basket to remove any loose coffee grounds and place the basket in to the lower chamber.
4) Very firmly screw on the top chamber, keep the pot in an upright position, this will avoid getting the coffee wet too soon.5) Place the espresso pot onto a low heat. After the water boils its steam will start to push the water up the funnel and through the coffee into the top chamber. If the heat is too high the water will flood through very quickly and the coffee will be very acidic and ‘thin’ tasting.6) Immediately reduce the heat once the water has started to boil7) When most of the water has left the lower chamber the bubbling sound will become more intermittent. You must remove the pot from the heat at this time and wait for the bubbling to ease before serving. You cannot keep espresso coffee hot.SARAH’S TOP TIP – When you place the coffee in the basket it should be slightly compressed and any space in the basket filled; this holds the water in the coffee grounds longer and prevents the coffee being too watery
Electric Espresso Machines1) To use an electric domestic espresso, follow the manufacturers instructions, which will incorporate most of the following points. Assuming that the correct roast and grind are being used, place a sufficient amount of water in the reservoir and turn on your espresso machine.2) Wait for a light to come on or go off indicating that steam is available, then decide whether to brew one or two cups, with the appropriate filter holder in place, use the ‘brew’ mechanism to run some water through the filter to warm it.3) Remove the filter holder, shaking out and water and then load it with espresso grind coffee using approximately 7g/1 tbsp per cup.
Electric Espresso 4) Tamp (press) the coffee down evenly and firmly using a tamper.5) Clear loose coffee grounds from around the rim of the filter holder (group). Position the filter holder under the water aperture by holding the filter holder level with the handle on the left hand side (usually). raise the filter holder to the brewing aperture until it feels securely in place.6) Lock the filter holder in to place by pulling the handle to the far right.7) Place the cup(s) under the group and press the brew button.8) Stop the brew when the cups contain about 40ml/1 1/2fl oz.
SARAH’S TOP TIP – Making slight adjustments to the grind, dosage and tamping pressure can result in the perfect cup that will take between 15-20 seconds to brew a maximum of 40ml/1 1/2fl oz of coffee. The appearance of the crema on the surface is an excellent diagnostic tool in determining what has gone wrong. If the crema is more white than brown, the coffee is under extracted will taste ‘thin’ and watery, to counteract this adjust the grind to a slightly finer one and/or firmer tamping. If the crema look burnt or very dark brown the coffee is over extracted and will taste very bitter, perhaps the coffee is too fine, the dose too large or too much water was allowed to run through the coffee.SARAH’S ULTIMATE ESPRESSO TIP – Remember that oxygen destroys caffeine so drink your espresso very quickly, as within 30 seconds flavour is starting to disappear and your espresso will start to turn bitter.Golden Rules of Tea MakingAlways follow the golden rules of tea making to obtain the maximum pleasure and refreshment from your cup of tea1. Use freshly drawn cold water.2. Warm the pot to ensure a better brewing temperature.

3. Measure the tea carefully; over-measuring is uneconomical and produces a bitter, thick tea.

4. Add the water the moment it boils.

5. Brew for 3-5 minutes to allow the flavour to infuse.

6. Put the milk in the cup first so that it dissolves thoroughly.

7. Always store tea in a dry, airtight container.

Coffee Drinks & How to Make Them

Espresso coffee is one much cherished aspect of Italian culture which has conquered the world, much like pizza, cafes all over the world are now fitted with espresso machines which make wonderful coffee. The espresso machine has truly taken the world by storm with its shiny machinery, techniques and drinking rituals, menu lists and jargon, they speak to us of espresso, ristretto, latte, and crema. Most of all it is the rediscovered appeal of the splendid aromatic, syrupy taste and creamy heaviness of espresso and delicate clouds of milk foam floating on top that have caused this love affair with the simple espresso.

Types of Espresso
Espresso is a style of brewing, the product of the method and a component of many other styles of drink as you will see.

Espresso
Finely ground high roasted coffee (7grammes/1 shot), extracted under high pressure, heated water to a total volume never to exceed 2fl oz or a single shot glass. This is a strong black coffee served in a delicate porcelain/glass cup. For a larger drink, you could double up on the measures and water volume – Double Espresso!

Espresso Macchiato
This is a normal espresso with a dash of foamed milk on top.

Espresso Romano
This is a normal espresso served with a piece of lemon peel.

Espresso Ristretto
A shot of coffee with half the amount of water – 1fl oz. Obviously this is a very strong coffee as it is not as diluted with water.

Espresso Corretto
A cup of normal espresso laced with a liqueur. A favourite used in Northern Italy is grappa.

Espresso Con Panna
A normal espresso topped with whipped cream

Double Espresso
Double the coffee (2 shots/14g) and double the heated water.

Americano
A normal espresso lengthened with hot water. For a larger drink you can use a double espresso base and more hot water. Drink black or add milk to taste.

Frothing Milk for Espresso Based Beverages
There has been an ‘argument’ amongst us barista’s for an age now about which milk is best for frothing, in my findings in my own coffee bar I have found that any milk or milk substitute can be frothed, we have used all types of milk, including sheep and goats milk we also successfully froth Soya milk. My advice to you is to use what ever you already drink at home, however this said, occasionally, even if you do everything right, you may find that the milk simply refuses to froth; when this happens in our coffee bar we call it ‘unhappy cow’ syndrome, give up and open a new bottle.

1) First pour very cold milk in to a cold metal jug (pitcher) with straight sides or sides sloping inwards at the top, pour in enough to just fill it to just under half way.

2) To steam the milk, insert the steam nozzle to nearly the bottom of the jug, open the steam valve by twisting the knob and fully rotate the nozzle around in the milk for 5-10 seconds. The jug should start to feel warm to touch.

3) Lower the jug until the steam nozzle is just below the surface of the milk, as the milk begins to froth lower the jug keeping the nozzle just below the surface of the milk.

4) When smooth thick foam is just formed, quickly turn off the stem valve and put the jug aside, it is very important to stop the frothing before any large airy bubbles start to form

SARAH’S TOP FROTHING TIP – I always use a thermometer when frothing milk both in the shop and at home as this means I can never overheat the milk. The perfect serving temperature is around 140 degrees F.

Latte
Espresso with steamed milk and little or no foam.

Cappuccino
1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foam, topped with your choice of chocolate, cinnamon or whatever takes your fancy.

Other perfect additions to coffee;
Vanilla is a wonderful addition to coffee, in the form of syrup, powder or even vanilla sugar; it can turn an ordinary drink into an addictive passion. There are many who also consider cinnamon a good flavour to combine with their daily ‘fix’.

In our own coffee bar we have over 25 different flavours you can add to your steaming mug, ranging from almond to caramel, cherry to white chocolate. My personal favourite is the devilish combination of smooth rich butterscotch and nutty almond. Along with these fabulous flavours some may even like to add a dash of their favourite tipple to their coffee. For example, how about as well as the old favourite ‘Irish Coffee’ you could add some rich coffee liqueur or even southern comfort or vodka? Any alcohol in the right proportions with the coffee will make a sumptuous but sinful late night treat.