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One of life's little luxuries, a visit to the coffee shop is a real treat for some. But if you get into the habit, it can be a costly experience. With the help of a coffee machine, you can enjoy a decent cup of coffee in your own home, whenever you like… and what a lot you'll save in the long run!
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Not sure of the difference between a cappuccino and a latte? Don’t know your macchiato from your mocha? Read on – coffee shop menus will be a mystery no longer!
Short, strong, intense and black – plain and simple.
A double shot of espresso.
Espresso topped with whipped cream.
Literally 'restricted'. A shorter extraction makes a smaller, thicker, intense espresso.
Equal parts espresso, steamed, frothed milk, sprinkled with chocolate.
Microfoam - steamed milk with small, fine bubbles and a glossy or velvety consistency - over a single or double shot of espresso.
Similar to a latte, but made with strong coffee rather than espresso for a less intense flavour. About half coffee, half milk.
Espresso diluted with extra hot water after brewing.
Espresso with hot chocolate and steamed, frothed milk.
Like a coffee milkshake – coffee, sugar and a little water are mixed, poured over ice and topped up with milk.
A longer extraction – the same amount of ground coffee as espresso with twice as much water.
A third espresso with two thirds steamed, hot milk.
Espresso with just a dash of steamed milk.
Gone are the complicated, ‘need a degree to work it’ machines of old – many of the models nowadays require you to just add water and press a button to create the perfect crema-topped coffee. Here we guide you through the various types on the market.
Not really a machine, but if you're new to proper coffee, or only make it occasionally, this is a great place to start. Also known as a French press, mix hot water and ground coffee, leave to brew, and as you push down the plunger, a wire filter separates the ground coffee from the water.
For black coffee and espresso. If complete convenience and optimum freshness is your goal, these are the machines for you. A premium option for those in pursuit of the ultimate home coffee experience, they grind whole beans on demand, then brew your drink while the fragrant oils are at their finest, automatically dispensing and tamping the correct amount of grinds.
For espresso, cappuccino, macchiato and latte. Rich, intense espresso is the starting point for cappuccino and latte, and these larger machines have an option to make longer drinks, usually with a built-in milk steamer/frother, or an additional machine to warm and froth the milk.
For espresso and lungo. Quick, clean and easy to use, coffee is sealed into a capsule or pod for longer-lasting freshness – just drop it into the machine and press go – high bar pressure pierces the capsule to extract the coffee. A time-saving, convenient option, there are no messy grounds to clean up – Nespresso machines, for example, are absolutely foolproof.
For espresso. Working with a Thermoblock system, water is heated to around 85-92°C, the correct temperature for brewing coffee without scalding, and a high-pressure bar pump forces water through the coffee to draw out the full character and rich aroma one cup at a time.
For black coffee. Water drips through a filter filled with ground coffee, into a pot or carafe below. Some models have hotplates to keep your coffee or cups warm, and filters that are permanent and just need to be rinsed, or paper, which you simply throw away after use. Some newer models take filter pods – a bit like a teabag – these are clean in use as the ground coffee is neatly contained. Good for large quantities of coffee.
For espresso, cappuccino and latte. Water is boiled in a chamber, and when pressure and steam are built up, it forces the water through the coffee. The steam is also used for frothing milk.
For black coffee and espresso. Available in traditional stove-top models or convenient electric versions, ground coffee is held in one part, with the required amount of water in the other. As water is heated, it is repeatedly forced up through the ground coffee, and then filtered coffee drips into the base. This brewing process is slower than with a coffee machine, but the rich aromas make it worth the wait.
We understand that buying a coffee machine is a real investment. The good news is you can buy from Lakeland with the full reassurance that you are covered by our 3 year guarantee. So if you buy something from us and you're not 100% satisfied, you can return it for up to 3 years – just bring along your receipt or emailed order confirmation as proof of purchase.
You can always trust Lakeland
There's nothing quite like the evocative aroma of freshly ground coffee, and the taste of pre-ground, shop-bought simply cannot compare. It's a good idea to only grind as much coffee as you need at the time as, once the oils from ground beans come into contact with air, oxidation causes them to quickly lose freshness and flavour. There's some debate about how best to store coffee – some swear by the fridge or freezer – but most people agree upon an airtight container kept in a cool, dry, dark place.
Pump or steam espresso machines.
Drip machines with cone-shaped filters, stove-top coffee makers.
Drip machines with flat-bottomed filters.
Burr: Connoisseurs say that a burr grinder is by far and away the best method – rather than chopping, burr systems crush the beans (a bit like a pestle and mortar) into thousands of uniformly sized grains suited to espresso. Burr machines have either a conical or disc grinder, and most have adjustable and pre-programmed grind settings to suit different tastes and coffee machines.
Blade/Mill: A less expensive option, manual and electrical versions are available, and a rotating blade chops the beans, but without the precision and uniformity of a burr grinder. Fine for filter coffee and cafetières, but take care not to over grind as heat generated by the blade may cause the coffee to taste slightly burnt.
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The two most common coffee species are mild and aromatic Arabica, which roughly accounts for ¾ of the world's coffee production, and Robusta, a stronger, more bitter-tasting bean with much higher caffeine content. Each season, the average coffee tree bears enough fruit to make about half a kilo of roasted coffee, and the fruits ripen at different times, so it's usually picked by hand.
The golden rules for frothing are that milk must be fresh as the proteins that help it froth start to diminish after about four days, and you should always use it cold, straight from the fridge.
Stainless steel jugs are the best for conducting heat – use a large one so there’s plenty of room for froth. To begin, use a thermometer when steaming and frothing milk – it should only be warmed to around 65°C, if it gets too hot it will scald, resulting in a bad taste.
If your coffee machine doesn't have a built-in milk frother there's a host of alternatives available to suit all budgets, from hand-held, battery-operated whisks, to compact machines that warm and froth milk at the push of a button.
Full Fat: Gives a rich taste but is not as easy to froth.
Semi Skimmed: Froths quite easily and has some fat for a tasty drink.
Skimmed: The easiest to froth and the choice for ‘skinny’ coffees.
Cold brewing works by steeping coarse coffee grounds in cold water for up to 24 hours before filtering. There's no heating or electricity required, just time... and a little patience.
Cold water extracts much less acid from the bean than brewing wih hot water, producing a delicious, low acidity drink which is naturally slightly sweet - perfect if you find the taste of 'normal' coffee just too bitter. But what gets coffee-lovers really excited about cold brewing is the way it brings subtle flavours to the fore.
Probably the best way to think of the resulting coffee is as a prepared concentrate or base, a little like cold espresso. Store in the fridge, it will keep fresh for up to to a fortnight - just add hot water or milk to make Americano, lungo, cappuccino or latte, or serve cold over ice. And, if you're a baker as well as a barista, it also makes great coffee essence for cakes and icing.
See this recipe
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