Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world – perhaps because it’s so versatile. From simple coffees like espresso and filter coffee, to more complex recipes like cappuccino, coffee can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, as anyone who has placed an order in a coffee shop recently can attest.
People’s motives for drinking coffee vary widely. Some just want the caffeine to keep them going, and are happy with espresso ‘coffee shots’ – nasty tasting, but they give you a burst of energy. More and more people, though, are drinking coffee not for the energy rush, but for the taste.
So how do you make the best-tasting coffee? A very large part of the answer is freshness. In general, the fresher the coffee, the nicer it will be. Instant coffee is the least fresh of all, as it is coffee that was made a long time ago and then had the water drained from it. This is the reason why so many people go to coffee shops: freshly-ground coffee is simply so much nicer.
Grinding coffee at home by hand is very difficult, which is why it is much better to get a coffee machine. There is generally little difference between the mechanisms in home coffee machines and the ones used in coffee shops, meaning that you can achieve the same freshly-ground taste. All you need to do is buy your favourite variety of beans, put them in, and press the button. You wouldn’t expect it, but even the cheapest fresh beans will taste miles better than the most luxurious instant coffee. Just try it and see.
For the real coffee connoisseur, though, the beans you use in the machine will matter. Good coffee beans are surprisingly hard to come by in a supermarket – you will probably have more luck buying them from coffee shops that sell their own beans, or from small independent specialist shops and street markets. Be careful, though, as this can get expensive very fast – make sure you try making coffee from a small sample of any beans before you buy a larger supply.