November 16, 2012 by Beans Ahoy
Christmas is quickly approaching and here at Beans Ahoy we thought we would do a Christmas Coffee round-up. Whether it’s a coffee for post turkey and spuds lunch, to get you going on boxing day, or to give as a gift, we have suggestions primed.
Coffee for Christmas cooking day
For a marathon day of cooking you really have to start with a good, robust cappuccino. If you don’t have a cappuccino machine, milk frothers work well and can be obtained relatively cheaply at Bodum or Nespresso, the Nespresso Aeroccino+ gets the best results. Start with a good base espresso. Has Bean have a decent base from Brazil (http://www.hasbean.co.uk/products/brazil-espresso-perfetio).
Milk is important. You want to use full fat milk ultimately, I know! Murder on the diet, but it foams better into that silky, velvety, heavy foam. Cravendale is pretty decent (and the cats have thumbs!), or Boroughfields Dairy Gold Top (which is available at bigger branch Supermarkets like Waitrose). If you have a Aeroccino+ try giving the milk a hot spin, followed by the cold spin, it thickens the milk nicely.
This should make a really nice cappuccino, but please please please, a cappuccino is traditionally 1/3 Espresso, 1/3 Milk, 1/3 Foam. Please don’t make a Latte and put a dollop of foam on the top like most coffee chains do.
Coffee to keep you going when the kids are running around playing with their new toys.
You definitely don’t want something that it going to make you jittery. Mellow, but with full flavour that comforts your mouth like a Christmas jumper comforts your torso. Definitely stay clear of Robusta beans (should probably stay clear of them full stop). Try some of the Central American beans, they are defined by the light, often citrus taste. Some good countries are El Salvador, Panama, and Guatemala. Costa Rica is ok, but I find it can tend to have a two dimensional taste, with a lack of structure and substance.
Post Christmas pudding
Best time for a strong, full coffee. I would even suggest trying something new, maybe a little different. Coffee does not have to always be the same cup of French press, or espresso. Give something like Turkish coffee a try. It is a very different coffee experience, but no less enjoyable. I have actually found Semalique from Harrods (www.harrods.com) to be very enjoyable. A word of warning however, don’t get drawn in by their impressive brass and copper coffee dispensers, they look good, but a number of coffees I have tried from there don’t live up to their grand surroundings.
Don’t be afraid to try different things, you may just find something you really like. Turkish coffee is a very different experience, but it’s interesting and has been served for hundreds of years. Happy drinking, and do try to avoid the grit!
As a gift
Good coffee always makes a nice gift for Christmas. Of course coffee appliances make great gifts, but a good coffee is just as good. If you do buy coffee though, it’s always better to buy whole beans. Whole beans hold flavour, last longer, and allow the chemical reaction in the bean to continue if it has been recently roasted. There are some good coffees available from Fortnum and Mason if you really want to spend a lot of money on a fancy tin, but don’t pay mad money for some famous names. Have a shop around and you will usually find a better deal for the same, sometimes better coffee.
If I have to stick my neck out El Salvador Finca Santa would make a coffee lover very happy. (http://www.hasbean.co.uk/collections/8-10/products/el-salvador-finca-santa-petronas-washed-pacamara-2012), quite tart, but rather nice.
If you really like the person you could always buy them a Nespresso machine. They are a great and easy way to enjoy decent coffee without needing to understand a lot about coffee.