SomethingToDo2

You hate instant coffee. You may not be aware of it yet, but you do. It’s the caffeinated equivalent of powdered milk. It’s hot water with coffee flavour.

You drink it at home because it’s easy, quick and cheap, doesn’t require an expensive and hard-to-operate coffee machine, and you can’t stand the hipsters that seem to fill up every coffee den in town. But really, you hate instant. You just haven’t realised it yet.

So how do you make a cheap, easy and great-tasting cup of coffee at home?

You’re first going to need an espresso pot; these can be bought for about $15 from any home furnishings shop. Espresso pots are an Italian invention, and are used by millions of Italians every day for their morning cup of joe (although I imagine they don’t call it that over there). The pot works in a similar fashion to a coffee machine — it forces hot water through ground coffee at high pressure, bringing out more of the flavour. Coffee machines work at about nine bars, while your espresso pot will typically generate about 1.3 bars of pressure — producing a sweeter, more caramely coffee.

Speaking of ground coffee, you’ll need some of that too. A true connoisseur would tell you to purchase your own grinder and beans, as the coffee is at it’s most flavoursome after it’s just been ground — but even a cheap grinder can cost $60, so it’s best to buy preground when starting out. Plenty of specialty shops will grind coffee for you (ask for espresso grind).

Put your grinds into the pot, and then heat on your stove. Experiment with different heats — each will produce a subtly different flavour. While the coffee’s heating, nuke half a cup of milk in your microwave for 30 seconds. Once the coffee boils (steam will shoot out of the spout) combine it and the milk and ingest. And marvel at how you ever managed to drink instant.

As you drink more, you’ll improve your technique; make sure you also head over to the Coffee Snobs forum, which is full of useful tips and people to help you improve your brew.

Peter Fray

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