Find your perfect way of enjoying International Coffee Day at home with our handy equipment guide
If Italians hold one thing close to their heart, it is their love of coffee. Since introducing the beverage to the rest of Europe from Egypt, and with Venice opening its first café in around 1683, people all over the world confess that the only to start the day is with a fine cup of coffee.
We all have our own favourites, whether it is espresso, cappuccino, latte or any other variation. Some like more milk – others dabble with chocolate or caramel. There are so many ways to make and enjoy your coffee.
And that’s where we come in. To celebrate International Coffee Day, we decided to look at some of the best ways to make your coffee at home. What should you use? What’s best? Well, here are our favourites:
Method 1 – Moka Pot
- For the Moka Pot you’re going to need your coffee to be ground fine, almost like table salt. The size of your pot will naturally determine how many cups you can get out of it and you’ll need roughly 4 grams of grounds per cup.
- Boil some water and fill the bottom of the brewer. Then insert the filter basket into the bottom, fill with your coffee and level it off with your finger.
- Screw the top onto the base (be sure to take precautions when handling the bottom with all of that boiling water!) and place the pot onto a stove at medium heat – any hotter and the coffee is likely to burn.
- Slowly, as the water boils, steam from the bottom of the brewer will be forced up through the finely-ground coffee and into the reservoir above, where it is collected.
- Once the bottom section is almost empty you’ll start hearing gurgling noises and seeing that the liquid leaving the central spout has turned roughly the colour of honey. When this happens, remove the Moka Pot from the stove and keep the lid closed. After you’ve used your Moka Pot regularly, you’ll have your timing down so it almost seems automatic!
Now you’re ready to serve up your coffee, adding milk or hot water – whichever you prefer.
Rosemary Molloy of An Italian In My Kitchen prefers a Moka Pot for her morning coffee along with some Italian based treats:
“I use a Bialetti Moka Express coffee maker (in my opinion the best brand of Italian coffee makers you can find) which makes about three cups of coffee. The brand that I always use and I suggest is Lavazza Crema e Gusto (Gusto Dolce) because it has a non-bitter taste to it and it’s lighter than other Italian espresso brands.
For breakfast I usually make espresso and heat some milk in a pot. I then mix them together in a large mug and I make my husband and me two homemade lattes. We like to accompany our coffees with some Italian cookies called Pan di Stelle or some homemade biscotti and crostata (it’s a tart filled with Nutella or jam.) During the summer I get out my blender and make some iced coffee using the espresso coffee. It’s nice to sip some cold coffee while reading a book in the garden.”
Method 2 – Chemex
- If you’re using a Chemex, you should use regular/medium ground coffee, which is between coarse and fine, with about 7 grams per cup of coffee.
- Place the square filter into the top of the Chemex and bend it to form a cone. One of the sides should have three layers, which should be placed facing spout.
- Boil some water and then let it cool for about 20 seconds. Rinse the filter with a small amount of boiling water and then pour this away – not only does this help with the blend, it also serves to preheat the container.
- Place your coffee in the filter and then pour enough water to saturate the grounds, as this will let them ‘bloom’. After a short time, begin to add the water gradually.
- You’ll be able to see the coffee pooling at the bottom of the Chemex, so keep adding water gradually until you reach your desired amount. Once you’ve done this, remove the filter and you’re ready to serve!
When using a Chemex, you’ll have to keep in mind that it’ll gradually lose its heat. Transferring the brewed coffee to a thermal flask or only making the required amount might be the best solution to this problem, as you’ll avoid wasting your coffee by letting it go cold. While the paper filters are more common, you can also purchase reusable, stainless steel filters that ought to help avoid the disappointment of waking up for your morning brew and realising you’ve run out of paper filters!
Method 3 – French Press
- For a French Press (or Cafetière), you’ll need your coffee grounds to be coarser than if you were using a Moka Pot.
- Pre-heat your cafetière using boiling water and allow it to rest for a minute. This should be long enough to warm the cafetière to ease blending your coffee but also to take the intense heat of just-boiled water off – helping you avid burned and therefore bitter tasting coffee.
- Add your coffee (about 10g per intended cup) and then slowly pour in your hot water, stirring gently with a wooden spoon so that the coffee ‘blooms’ to the surface.
- Place the lid on and let it brew for about four minutes before gently depressing the plunger and serving. You may want to decant the coffee to prevent it from ‘over-brewing’ and becoming bitter.
Bethan Vincent, Managing Director of Vincent’s Coffee, stopped by to share the different kinds of coffee she’s fond of, as well as a couple of tips:
“When I started getting into coffee, I did a lot of experimenting with beans from well-known coffee producing countries such as Brazil and Columbia. As I expanded my knowledge, what really struck me was the quality of various beans coming from the often overlooked African coffee producing countries, such as Rwanda and Malawi. When I founded my coffee company, Vincent’s Coffee, I decided to start off by focusing on these African coffees and introducing them to a wider audience!”
“It’s better to buy whole beans and grind them at home if possible, as this ensures the freshest coffee. It’s worth investing in the highest quality coffee equipment you can, as it lasts longer and gives better results. If you buy a coffee out every day, over the long term you can even save quite a bit of money making it at home.”
Method 4 – Aeropress
- For an Aeropress you’ll be using about 15 grams of finely ground coffee (as fine as used in the Moka Pot). Be sure to have a timer ready!
- Fully extend the plunger and place the unit upside-down, it should reach the number ‘4’ marking on the side of the unit. Like the other devices covered, boil some water and let it cool slightly so you can pre-heat the whole assembly by running some hot water through it.
- Pour in your coffee and then set your timer for 1 minute. Start the timer and pour in your hot water until it reaches the ‘3’ mark. Stir the coffee before filling the Aeropress up to the ‘2’ mark and then place the filter and cap on the top, making sure it is screwed on tightly.
- Take extra care next as you’re about to invert the Aeropress over your cup, so make sure you do it slowly and that your cup is sturdy! After this, press the plunger down and there you have it!
One of the main strengths of the Aeropress is that it’s super portable meaning, as long as you have access to hot water, you don’t have to keep your coffee making skills at home! You can make coffee just how you like it practically anywhere. Charles Stewart of the 5 Senses Coffee team in Australia never travels without his Aeropress, saying:
“This clever little device creates a brew which displays the flavour qualities of filter coffee whilst being able to replicate the strength of espresso for people who are taken by milk. Besides this, it is relatively easy to use and clean. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a scientist, the Aeropress begs you to explore the different ways you can brew coffee.”
Be Sure To Check Out Suspended Coffees!
Before we finish exploring a few of the ways you can enjoy coffee at home, we can’t help but mention a great movement that’s making the world a better place, one cup of coffee at a time.
Suspended Coffees, founded by John Sweeney from Cork, Ireland, was set up as a way to “restore faith, offer hope, and to show anyone in need that no matter how bad their day may be, they’re not alone”.
Simply go into any of the participating cafés in the UK and you can buy your coffee as normal, as well as buying a ‘suspended coffee’ for someone else, meaning you’ve just paid for their drink! The next time someone comes in and needs a bit of cheering up, they can ask and receive the coffee completely free. Of course, it also works both ways, so if you’re ever down on your luck, you can ask if anyone’s left a suspended coffee for you to pick up!
The concept originates in Naples, with the belief that those who had found good fortune in their day would purchase two coffees, leaving one for someone less fortunate, thus giving rise to the concept of ‘Caffee Sopresso’ (suspended coffee to us).
“In each community that adopts the Suspended Coffees movement, one of the many things they soon come to realize is that it’s a wonderful, community based initiative. We’ve noticed an emerging trend of not just one supporting cafe showing up in a specific area, but rather several of them joining around the same time. Good news travels fast!
“We are currently becoming a fully-fledged non-profit, with just two of our many goals being the fight against poverty and education, or lack thereof. Suspended Coffees will be going directly to the communities that are struggling most with poverty, homelessness, and poor education.” – Shannon Delatore, COO of Suspended Coffees
We at Tuscany Now urge all of you to check out which cafés if your local area are participating in the scheme (maybe you could even suggest that your favourite spots join up if they haven’t already) but more importantly, we encourage you to buy two cups of coffee the next time you stop by, leaving one for those less fortunate. Happy International Coffee Day!