I would say that coffee is probably one of the most widely and commonly drunk beverages in the world, alongside tea and water. A huge amount of people drink it every day, sometimes several times a day and it is used both to ward off winter chills and to cool oneself down (honestly, hot beverages quench your thirst better than cool), it is a stimulant, it’s a delicious drink and you can find it almost everywhere. But after all this, it is EXTROADINARY how many people make, drink or buy revolting coffee. It is amazing. I myself like to think I know a decent coffee from a bad one and am confident with making coffee, whether with a plunger or a Bialetti. I haven’t yet got the hang of the espresso machine but with a lot of practise, I think I’ll get it right. Anyway, the absolute worst one is instant coffee. It doesn’t taste anything like coffee, and is more of a watery brown soup. The smell is not nearly so aromatic and pungent as the real thing as well, particularly when it’s been freshly ground the same day. However, for people who are just used to instant coffee, I guess it’s fine. Another example of bad coffee is coffee from cafes where either the froth is overcooked, or even burnt, where it is too weak/watery or where it just tastes strange. I have experienced all these types of coffees at various cafes and restaurants so I get a bit nervous when I go somewhere different. You tend to become loyal to a select bunch where you know you’ll get a good one. One which is strong, rich and bold and which has the taste of luxury. It’s a shame that all cafes can’t be like that as it’s not actually that difficult. Many people do not notice any of these afflictions though, It’s quite strange really, maybe all of their tastebuds have died, or they drink so many a day they hardly notice what it tastes like. I don’t know, maybe they just don’t care. I however think that when you make/buy coffee you should do it well as it is very expensive. Below is my method for brewing coffee whether in a plunger or bialetti and I also have reccomendations for brands and types to buy if you are in the market for a new maker. Note – I make very strong coffee so if you prefer a weaker brew then use 1 tbsp per cup or even more than me. Feel free to experiment
Completely empty and refill your kettle with fresh cold water (this is to ensure you have no minerals or metallic taste which can affect the coffee) and boil. If using a coffee grinder, scoop two tbsps of coffee beans into your grinder now and grind till coarse and of the consistency you have seen with other people’s ground coffee. When the kettle’s boiled, pour the water into your desired cup and plunger and leave for a minute or so to warm them up. Empty the plunger, add 2 tbsp of fresh ground or pre-ground coffee, pour in 1¼ cups of the slightly cooled boiled water and briefly stir. Put the plunger just above the surface of the coffee and leave to brew for 3 mins. Empty warmed cup, add desired amount of coffee sugar to cup then very firmly press down on the plunger to add a crema affect, then pour in your coffee. Add milk. Enjoy.
Note – Photo credit from the wonderful book – Turkey: A Food Lover’s Journey by Leanne Kitchen