Apparently we’re in the midst of the third wave coffee movement. This was news to me. I didn’t even know there were waves where coffees were concerned but it turns out that things are moving pretty quickly and there’s whispers of a Fourth Wave. Sort of like feminism I suppose, but much less important (to some), the development of coffee culture throughout the western world has become a rather serious affair. I recently found out that it wasn’t my national pride swelling but an acknowledged fact that Australians are considered the frontier folk of good coffee. So I guess what I’m really trying to say is that ‘I should know’ when it comes to coffee (irony intended).
All jokes aside, while I’m not a fan of placing coffee too high on anyone’s list of life priorities, I do enjoy a good brew. But, I also drink Nescafe. And, when I’m desperate I’ll wince my way through a Starbucks. A girl’s gotta do. And so this post comes to you with a grain of salt and teaspoon of Demerara sugar (sorry, couldn’t help it) and I hope it comes as some welcome advice for anyone with a manual coffee machine in their home.
I dedicated a post, many years ago, to our Gaggia Classic – a trooper that is still going strong after seventeen years of daily use, and if you have a similar machine, then you can use this advice. There is not a lot of coffee sold retail in the UK, that is ground for espresso machines. For those who don’t live in London, this statement rings painfully true. Sure, you can order gourmet coffee, ground to spec online and through various outlets but it is a very expensive way to enjoy good coffee at home. Sadly, I’m not in a position to dedicate 10% of my weekly budget to gourmet blends and so it was with glee that I discovered another coffee to add to my list of larder favourites.
For our machine, our taste and our budget, we use the Waitrose brand pre-ground espresso coffee and Taylors brand espresso blend. Both are below the £4 mark, and both are perfectly suited to our coffee machine. But recently I bought a packet of James Gourmet. Peter James has been roasting coffee at Ross on Wye, Herefordshire since 1999 and continues to offer an excellent range of coffees at good prices. I found James’ coffee at Dorney Court Kitchen Garden Cafe and you can also buy it online.
We tried the Formula 6 blend and while the grind was slightly too fine for our machine, which means that it takes longer for the coffee to trickle out of the group, it won’t stop me from buying it again because the flavour of the coffee was truly special. I’ve never tasted anything like this blend – it was fruity but it had a cooler, berry-vibe as opposed to the big round fruit flavour that’s so popular these days. It’s always good to support a business that’s not too far away, that works hard to maintain excellence across all aspects, selling a product that was only slightly more expensive than the big supermarket blends, and might I add, well worth every extra penny.