Own Costa coffee at home

Costa Coffee at Home

Cappuccino'Concentrate on the descriptions. Lighter roasted coffees will have more aroma and flavour. The darker the roast, the more bitter it is. As you get more experienced, you'll learn to experiment with flavours.'

Raw coffee beans are odourless, tasteless and indigestible. The roasting process draws out the aroma and flavour. It takes 15 minutes to roast coffee beans in huge gas-fired roasters. The coffee must then rest for a day or two before it's ready to be ground.

KNOW YOUR BEANS

There are more than 25 strains of coffee, but most brews come from three bean varieties. Arabica is less harsh and has a third less caffeine than Robusta, which is used in instant coffee. Kona, from Hawaii, is expensive.

If you like a smoky, chocolatey taste, try beans from Indonesia. Kenyan beans are lighter with a blackcurrant undertone while Colombian beans produce a slightly fruity coffee. For a lighter coffee with a good level of caffeine that you can drink during the day, choose a blend that contains Brazilian beans.

As a guide, you need 1tbsp to 2tbsp of ground coffee for every six fl oz water.

THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT

To recreate the ultimate espresso experience at home, you'd have to shell out £6, 000 on the La Marzocco coffee machine, which is handmade in Florence.

However, there are much simpler and cheaper methods of producing a perfect cup of coffee. The only thing missing is the crema or pure coffee extract you find on the top of an espresso.

Cafetieres look great on the dining table and are easy to use. A glass container incorporates a wire filter attached to a plunger.

Filter coffee machines work by water dripping slowly through a basket of ground coffee to infuse in the jug beneath. Some makes use a pod system. Like a tea bag, these produce a cup of filter coffee without any mess.

Stovetops, such as the Italian Bialetti, have all the style and most of the taste of an espresso. Water in a chamber under the coffee is brought to the boil and forced through the ground coffee at a high temperature.

IT'S A GRIND

It's vital that you choose the right grind of coffee for your brewing method. This is because the best flavours are extracted early in the brewing process while poor flavours come out later.

Allowing the grounds to come into contact with too much water will lead to over-extraction and a nasty taste.

'Our baristas check their espresso machines at least three times a day with a small beaker and stop watch, ensuring that water is forced through at exactly one millilitre per second, ' says Gennaro.

Stovetops require coffee to be ground as fine as flour; a cafetiere needs coffee as coarse as breadcrumbs because the water has to steep in the grounds for up to four minutes. Halfway between is

ideal for filter coffee. Check the label for the grind size: steer clear of those that claim to be 'suitable for all coffee makers' - that's simply not possible.

Best of all, grind your own beans - that way, your coffee will be totally fresh. Krups Expert Coffee Grinder, £39; John Lewis own-brand coffee mill, £27.

KEEP IT FRESH

'Once ground, coffee beans deteriorate 50 times faster than in their natural state, ' says Gennaro. 'So, once you've opened a pack of coffee, you need to use it fast - at least within a week.'

Oxygen, heat and humidity hasten the process. Store coffee in an airtight container, keep away from direct sunlight and keep cool.

'I put my ground coffee in the fridge, ' says Gennaro. 'One of the worst mistakes is storing coffee in the spice cupboard.

'Coffee picks up flavours - peel an orange next to an open pack and your coffee will taste of oranges.'

CHOOSE THE RIGHT CUP

The ideal coffee cup is made of thick porcelain, which will retain the heat. It should be white so you can appreciate the colour of the coffee.

'Just as with wine, the cup should not be filled to the top, ' says Manuela Violoni, manager of Italy's Coffee Taster Study Centre.

'Leave a finger's width. You need room to set the aromas free from the liquid so they can gather around the nose and give an extra sensory pleasure.'

The inner circumference of an espresso cup should be the size of a halved boiled egg to ensure the crema rises to the top without breaking.

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Source: www.dailymail.co.uk
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