Drinking Coffee

Important information for all coffee lovers!

  1. The flavour of coffee starts to decay within days of roasting
  2. It happens because the fine aromatic oils break down
  3. This happens however the coffee is packed
  4. Thousands of people have found the answer
  5. The solution is to buy your coffee freshly roasted and store it in the fridge or freezer.


It is important to get the right grind for the method used. Courser grinds are used where the coffee stands longer in a pot or on electric filter machines where the water is slowly passed through the coffee.

Finer grinds are used where the coffee is extracted faster and there is paper or espresso filtration to retain the particles. Finer grinds tend to be more flavoursome, so that poorer quality supermarket coffee is often quite course to mask potential off-flavours.

Here the grinds specified refer to our standard grinds. These are a little finer than most other specialist suppliers. Supermarket `for all methods` grinds are generally medium-fine to medium.

Jug method

One of the oldest and most accessible methods, this produces coffee with lots of body. Use an earthenware jug or pot, preferably with a lid. (Even a teapot will do the trick, though not as well as a taller purpose made coffee pot.) Put in medium-fine, medium or coarse ground coffee, add water just off the boil and stir well. Allow to infuse for 3 to 4 minutes then pour through a strainer.
Cafetiere/plunger – a sophisticated version of the jug method. The coffee (medium-fine, medium or coarse ground) and boiled water should stand in the jug for 3 to 4 minutes before the plunger and mesh filter are pushed down slowly.

In our experience this is the most popular method. It has the benefits of filtered coffee with most of the particles removed, and the body of jug coffee due to the courser grind and longer infusion. It can be used with all roasts, although the milder roasts can be overwhelmed by the body that the method imparts.

Even with the gauze filter this coffee retains a fairly high particle content and over a period
can upset people with sensitive digestions.

Filter method

This is a very satisfying way of brewing as it produces a clear and flavoursome cup of coffee with no sediment. A paper filter is placed in a (usually) plastic cone-shaped holder. Fine or medium-fine ground coffee is put into the filter and the holder sat on top of a jug or pot. Boiled water is poured into the filter and allowed to seep through. Gourmets will first dampen the coffee grounds to avoid burning the coffee with boiling water. Electric filter machines apply the same principles, and as they let the water through slowly, medium-fine ground coffee can be used, often leading to a smoother cup. It is best to use filters made from unbleached paper.

Espresso method

‘Manual’ stove-top espresso pots work by steam and water being forced under pressure through the pot to the grounds. Unscrew the lid and base, and remove the filter funnel. The base is filled with water and the filter container with medium-fine or finely ground coffee. Screw the top and base together and place over the heat. A bubbling noise will indicate that the coffee is ready. To avoid burning the coffee, reduce the heat as soon as this begins. These machines are not suitasble for mild roast coffee as they burn up the delicate flavours and acidity. Electric espresso machines look like miniature versions of the real coffee bar machine, but in some cases this is a con.The better domestic machines (eg the Gaggia which we sell) have a pump to drive the water below boiling point through the coffee. Cheaper machines simply use steam pressure and are no different in principle from the stove top variety.

Professional and domestic electric espresso – the principle here is the same as the humble stove-top with the crucial refinement that the water is pumped through the coffee at below boiling point. This preserves flavour and avoids burning lighter roasted coffee, so that more delicate and acidic coffeees can be used.
Coffee bars normally use the stronger light-continental roasts as they go further. Such cusp roasts have full strength, low acidity and only a slightly burnt taste.
Turkish method – the Turks have always ritualised the drinking of coffee. Traditionally – is traditionally were very finely ground (pulverised) coffee is placed in an ‘ibrik’ with water and a spoonful of sugar and brought to the boil. The moment it boils it is taken off the heat then put back until it has just boiled again, then removed and the process repeated, usually three times. The coffee should be served very hot and frothy.

Some drinkers enjoy sipping from the thick grounds at the bottom of the cup. However, In some people this can irritate the digestive system.

Percolator method

This method uses the pumping action of steam to boil and recirculate the coffee liquid. This continuous boiling tends to cause bitterness and percolators are best used with milky coffee and with higher roast coffee where there is less acidity to stew into bitterness.

However the better modern percolator systems seem to avoid stewing the coffee so badly. Fill the percolator with water and the basket with medium or course ground coffee. Place it on the heat or switch on, allowing it to percolate gently for no more than 6 to 8 minutes.