If I had to choose between giving up wine or coffee, you may think that the choice would be easy. Then you would be wrong. I would struggle for a moment and then some, but I think coffee would eventually win. Luckily, I am not in that terrible situation. I have noticed of late however that I seem to like no more than two standard measures of a decent red, usually from NZ or Australia, although I did just take delivery of a mixed case of Italian and Spanish Reds. California also beacons and I am sure my America friends are going to tell me on Facebook, which ones I should consider.
Now back to coffee. For the last five or so years I have been making my own coffee at home. I started with a reasonably cheap machine and it made tolerable Flat whites and cappuccinos. Now I know I have said this before so forgive me for repeating myself. Flat Whites are a NZ/Aussie invention and now they are sought after in London as Kiwi and Aussie baristas make their presence felt, both amongst the natives and expats. If Aussies are reading this they will throw their hands up in horror as they expect me to launch into yet another discussion on how NZ always claims that the Aussies stole everything from famous racing horses to actors and pop groups. I shall save that for a time when I am feeling particularly reflective on Aussie Kiwi spiritual connections.
I love my coffee hit and I eventually invested in an Italian coffee machine, one that has resisted design changes for a good many years and one that is easily fixed and serviced. That can’t be said for the models that sell for next to nothing, make good coffee for a year or two and are then thrown away, because no one will touch them. It is better to invest in a good machine that will last for many years. Mine has been going for at least five years and I expect it to keep on going.
Combine a good machine with a quality coffee grinder and you have beginnings of a café away from a café--- at home. There is something special about the process of grinding fresh beans (no more than a week old--- get the beans from a ‘reputable supplier). Don’t use one of those disgusting little cheap machines that cut the beans. You will lose so much flavour.
I make sure the machine is well primed and heated. It only takes a minute or too. If you are in a hurry, then use instant coffee! I warm the cups and then express the coffee. I love to watch the velvety mixture cascading from the nozzles, like mouse tails, filling the kitchen with an aroma that only a real coffee drinker can relate to.
Sometimes I get it wrong. There is only one thing to do--- chuck it out and start again. As I said before--- don’t hurry the process. If it means getting up a few minutes earlier in the morning, it is worth it.
Now for the milk; I use a lower fat variety. We are blessed with choice in NZ, so I will just say—make up your own mind. Everyone has their favourite. I hold the jug at an angle until the volume has increased to ‘perfect’, and then plunge deeper into the silky mix, heating it to a hot touch on the bottom of the stainless steel jug.
Pour the mixture into the waiting cup, holding the slightly thicker part for the top. It will make its own pattern. I have often been disappointed by pretty designs that cafes insist on swerving, not backed up with a quality taste. What can be better than relaxing at home with your own lovingly made coffee?