Brewing up excellent coffee in the kitchen

Brewing up excellent coffee in the kitchen

Let's face it, coffee is trendy, so it makes a kitchen look good if there's equipment on show that demonstrates the owner knows a thing or two about this, one of the world's most famous drinks!

That's quite aside from the fact that, though some of us find it an acquired taste, many people just love the flavour of the stuff – to say nothing of it's fatigue-beating qualities!

A coffee maker might not be number one on your list of most important kitchen appliances but it can certainly make a big difference. Here are just some of the ways of making coffee in the home. After all, knowing there's a treat to look forward to in the kitchen can be a great motivator to get moving after your alarm wakes you up! 

The Cafetiere

These are perhaps best thought of as teapots for coffee, and are one of the cheapest examples of coffee-making kitchen equipment out there.

You spoon in grounds, add hot water from your kettle and let the mixture brew until it's at a strength you like the look of. Pushing down a strainer using a plunger mechanism separates the black coffee from the gritty grounds. Add a dash of milk or drink it black.

The filter coffee machine

This is a way of making drip coffee. There's no need for a kettle, as the machine heats the water for you. If you want to nip back for a second cup a little later, you'll be pleased to know that these devices can also keep the freshly-brewed goodness hot once it's been made.

The bean-to-cup coffee machine

When you look at the coffee options in your supermarket – or your local trendy coffee shop, for that matter – you'll see that it's possible to buy ground beans or whole beans that have yet to be ground up.

Some people prefer to get their coffee in bean form. It may help you determine the exact fineness you get from you ground coffee, for example. Though remember that if you buy from somewhere like a coffee shop, they may be happy to grind your beans just as you'd like them there and then.

To use un-ground beans at home, you'll need a coffee grinder, which you can buy as a self-contained appliance.

Likewise, you could try a bean-to-cup coffee machine which is a one-stop-shop for both grinding and espresso production – similar to the type of machine we discuss next, but with extra features. The grinding and coffee making happens all in one go, making turning beans into your morning drink a doddle.

The pump machine

Create espresso from coffee you've either ground or bought pre-ground. These models will often, like bean to cup machines, come with a milk frother which shoots steam through cold milk to heat it and give it a thicker texture, courtesy of air bubbles. As in bean-to-cup, the water is warmed by the machine, then sent through the grounds quickly, resulting in a strong espresso coffee.

The Pod option

These use ready-made capsules of coffee, and may appeal as a simple to use option. Again, part of the machine's job is to heat the water for you. They sometimes come with facilities to heat and prepare your milk for you, too, depending on the model.

The percolator

These are available in plug-in designs, or ones that you simply heat by placing on the hob.

You spoon in your grounds in one compartment and put water in another. The boiling water travels through the coffee grounds when the percolator gets hot enough and strong coffee can then be poured from the device.

Top tip: If you have a favourite coffee shop with knowledgeable staff, why not talk to them about the drinks they make that you like, and get the low-down on what they think would be the best way to do something similar on your own?

[Image: Thinkstock

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