2. What methods do I use?

I mentioned in my earlier post that I own a few different machines for different kinds of coffees and occasions.  To demonstrate the wide variety of methods for getting coffee into your cup, I’ll list the ones I own.

Sage Barista Express – AKA The Breville Barista Express for you non-UK folks.  This is my mainstay machine, which makes a simply lovely espresso. It’s got a built in burr grinder, a steamer, can dispense hot water and has enough settings to play with that it’s enough to keep any budding barista happy for a long time. I’ve been honing my skills on this for a while, but I still can’t do latte art to save my life!

Hario Syphon Filter – This was the machine that turned me on to coffee.  I saw a demonstration of it at PullBrewMelt and fell in love with it. It looks like some sort of alchemy experiment, something to be found in a mad scientists lab.  My first ever coffee machine and still one I use from time to time. (The Hario is somewhat expensive, but there are plenty of other versions/brands available that cost a lot less and still make a lovely cup, so please don’t be put off by the price.)

Aeropress – This is the first of my go-to machines for when I’m out camping or staying away from home. Simple to use, easy to clean, cheap to buy and makes a lovely espresso-style coffee that’s lovely when topped up with either hot milk or water.  What’s not to like?

Handpresso – My latest upgrade from the Aeropress for when I go camping.  I’ve not had it long, so only used it out and about once before and it was a little fiddly at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s another machine that makes a really nice espresso shot.  Just stick your kettle on the stove to boil and there you go, some great fresh coffee in the mornings.  Another big plus with these is that unlike the Aeropress where you need to have a bag of ground coffee, the Handpresso is also compatible with ESE branded pods (Lavazza make these) and Senseo coffee pods.

V60 – I have to admit, the V60 and I just don’t see eye to eye. It’s a machine that I just can’t seem to get the knack for. I even went out and bought a proper goose-neck kettle to use with it and so far I’ve not had a great deal of success so I’m afraid there’s not going to be a great many reviews of this machine.

Oomph – This is a product I backed on Kickstarter which is, essentially, an Aeropress inside a travel mug.  The initial pitch sounded great, but the finished product is a bit underwhelming in my opinion.  The top isn’t watertight, so it spills coffee unless kept perfectly vertical and it’s not insulated enough to keep the coffee warm for much more than half an hour or so, which means I can’t take it into the office with me as the coffee would be cold by the time I finished my one hour drive.

Bialetti Mini Express – This was a present from a friend, I fell in love with the minimalist design of it. I don’t get on with a lot of the moka-style stovetop makers but this one works really well and, like the syphon, I love the theatre of it.

Stovetop percolator – This was another gift, from my father-in-law who’s had it for years.  It’s a lovely thing, makes a very lovely, sweet brew and is just fun to use, though doesn’t see a great deal of use these days with all the other options I now own.  The picture I’ve linked to isn’t my specific one, but it’s almost identical.

1. What are we doing here?

Well, in short, this is going to be where I review UK coffee roasters and their coffees.

Since I went to a tea/coffee/chocolate event called PullBrewMelt a couple of years ago, I have become a lot more picky about the things I drink.

In fact, you might even call me something of a coffee snob.

Though, as the name of the site would suggest, I still think of myself as something of a proto-coffee-snob.  My milk steaming skills are somewhat hit and miss, and I don’t have a super expensive machine, though I do own (at last count) six different machines for brewing different kinds of coffees.

Hopefully my relative newcomer level of skills won’t invalidate my thoughts on the quality of the coffees I’m talking about but then that’s the point of this blog.  There’s a hundred and one sites out there for people who are “in the know”, who know their honey-washed coffees from their dry-processed and their pour overs from their syphons, who will talk for hours on end about the specifics of coffees.

This blog is going to be pitched at the people just setting out and dipping their toes into this world, the folks who might need a bit of a helping hand in deciding what it is they like and where they should spend their money.  There’s a dizzying array of options out there, so I’m going to try and do my bit by working my way through as many UK (and occasionally overseas) roasters as I can.

I’m going to talk about the website design, the ordering process (and any issues I encounter), the packaging of the coffee, and finally I’ll talk about the actual coffee itself, what I think of it and what machines I think it will suit in the hope that this will help people to find something that will suit their budgets and their tastes.

I really do hope there’s some of you out there who find this blog useful and if you do then please drop me a comment and let me know!