Coffee Beans and Coffee Machines  Coffee Beans and Coffee Machines


Thursday, 26 March 2015 10:42

Supermarket Ground Coffee - Taste Test

Britain loves coffee, and we are becoming increasingly choosy about what we drink. The home coffee market, worth £1bn a year, is still dominated by instant coffee, but sales of ground (for filter or cafetiere use) have soared in recent years, not least the supermarket own-brands.

Historically, ground coffees were often random blends of arabica beans (which give coffee its lighter, delicate flavours), sometimes bulked out with cheaper robusta beans (which impart body and earthy bitterness, more suitable for milky espresso drinks). Now, 100% arabica coffees are common, as are coffees sourced from specific countries, drum rather than industrially roasted, and even single-origin coffees. As a definition grown on anything from one farm to in a specific region single-origin sounds vague, but, in practical terms it ensures single-variety beans grown in similar soil, which therefore share key flavour characteristics so is a broadly reliable guarantee of quality. So it is easier to find better ground coffee. But which of the supermarkets are offering the best?


Aldi, Specially Selected Ethiopian, 200g, £1.99

A mercurial brew. It smells flat, like old, worn leather, but take a sip and it is full of engaging milk chocolate and dark fruit-cake flavours. A no 4 medium/strong roast of Ethiopian sidamo arabica beans, it asserts its full-bodied flavour without relying on acerbic bitterness and, as it cools, the citrusy notes characteristic of Ethiopian coffees are discernible. Plenty of character.

Score: 7/10


Marks & Spencer, Single Origin Peruvian, 227g (Fairtrade), £3.50

Grown on plantations high in the Peruvian Andes, this cashmere smooth, fulsome coffee bears out the superiority of single-origin coffee. Relatively dark roasted (no 5), it is overtly smoky but with no ugly, aggressive bitterness. Instead, it is both rich and sweet, with discernible nutty, chocolatey notes. The best small-batch, whole-bean coffees are more complex, but this is a good cup of coffee.

Score: 8/10


Sainsbury’s, Taste The Difference Colombian, 227g (Fairtrade), £3.30

Can you smell that aroma? Me neither. This 100% arabica delivers elements of the flavours you expect: a low-lying smokiness and tobacco, broadly winey notes (warm grape juice, a hint of lemon too), but in a rather flabby, unbalanced way. Its supposed caramel sweetness is fleeting.

Score: 4/10


Waitrose, Colombian Supremo, 227g, £3.29

Lightly roasted arabica coffees are fashionable in Britain’s brewlabs (formerly, coffee shops). Served brewed or filtered, the idea is to draw out the subtle characteristics an espresso machine tramples on. This example uses larger Supremo beans and has a roasted hazelnut twang. After a few sips, though, it tastes domineeringly winey quickly fading to dark chocolate, that lacks intrigue.

Score: 6/10


Lidl, Bellarom Gold, 500g, £3.49

“A distinctive blend of highland arabica” reads the blurb, without (you will note) going into detail. Its main flavour is reminiscent of old, souring red wine, allied to the kind of spiky, bitter compounds that turn people into dedicated tea drinkers. It tastes somehow stewed, even when freshly brewed. It would slap you awake at 7am but in a joyless way.

Score: 3/10


Morrisons, Italian Style, 227g (Fairtrade), £2.28

Ultimately, that promise of “Italian style” coffee is an empty one. You cannot replicate true espresso coffee at home using a cafetière, percolator or pour-over filter kit. Despite only being a no 4 medium/strong roast, this does mimic the intensity of an espresso. It is a tight cluster of brassy, roasted flavours, giving way to smoked embers and steeped dark berries.

Score: Espresso fans, 7/10 otherwise 6/10


Asda, Extra Special Mocha Limu, 227g (Fairtrade), £2.98 A no 4 medium/strong, drum-roasted 100% Ethiopian arabica, this is open and perky, with a palate-sharpening acidity. Its roasted flavours are restrained rather than bullying. Gooey dark chocolate cake comes through immediately and, later, honeyed sweetness and hints of lemon and wild flowers. A smooth, rounded coffee of refreshing complexity.

Score: 7/10


Co-Op, Truly Irresistible Guatemalan, 227g, £3.29 (Fairtrade) This smells great: richer and darker than its no 4 medium/strong roast suggests, but goes downhill from there. It is smooth enough but, initially, any “subtle winey notes” are indistinguishable. Upfront, it is all smoky, roasted flavours with a hint of aniseed. It grows in flavour (chocolate, that winey-ness) but irresistible? At best, it is a serviceable everyday cup.

Score: 5/10


Tesco, Tesco Finest Guatemalan, 227g (Faitrade), £2.99 A no 4 medium/ strong roast, this Guatemalan arabica lacks presence and charisma. Familiar winey (or as a passing guinea pig had it, weak Vimto) flavours were present, but were neither bold nor clearly delineated. Its advertised “hints of blackberry” are a whispered aside. It neither delivers a bracing first burst of roasted coffee flavour nor its vaunted spiciness. A shrug in a mug.

Score: 4/10

 Source - Tony Naylor, the Guardian Newspaper.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 12:11

How much coffee will kill you?

If you can't start your morning without a cup of joe, you aren't alone, but if you find yourself drinking more than six cups of java a day, you could be putting your health in danger. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, "caffeine intoxication" does exist. Caffeine blocks neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain while triggering stimulating chemicals that give coffee drinkers that jolt.


Some people can get edgy from one cup of coffee while others need a few to feel the symptoms of too much caffeine, which include insomnia, nervousness and increases in energy.Matthew Johnson, associate psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins University, said people could die from too much caffeine."That would mean about 14,000 milligrams or around 140 8-ounce cups of coffee in one day," he says. "One cup makes you feel good and alert, but five cups may make you feel like your stomach is cramping. You feel wired and you wouldn't typically be able to go overboard."While one study suggests health benefits at up to six cups per day, other studies have found health risk in people under the age of 55 who drink more than four cups daily.

A new video from YouTube channel YouTube Nation explores all we need to know about coffee. Is it good for us and will it kill us?To test public knowledge about coffee, Alex from YouTube Nation asked people questions about the beverage. For every wrong answer, Alex had to drink a shot of espresso.



 The answers may shock you.

How much money does coffee make a year? About $20 billion, not the guesstimated millions one coffee drinker replied. And so, Alex took his first shot.


What is coffee trade? "Farmers who make the coffee get an equal cut of what's coming from it," Alex responded, taking two shots for two wrong answers.


What about the one answer we all want to know? It would take about 50 shots of espresso to kill you, depending the size of your body. "I'm going to die today," Alex joked.


While coffee in its original form is not a bean but rather a circular red and sometimes green berry, there are two different kinds of coffee beans. Thankfully, Alex did not die after his seven shots of espresso, but he did note that all that caffeine doesn't make you feel better. It makes you feel different.

Friday, 17 October 2014 11:49

New Coffee Health Findings

In college, when I worked part-time as a barista at a local coffee shop, I would often serve the same customers day in and day out. To the point that, before they even say anything, I would know what certain people wanted to order: large skim mocha, medium iced latte (light on the milk), black coffee to go, "with room". Though they took it in different forms, the customers were all ultimately after caffeine.


A study released last Tuesday by an international consortium of caffeine scholars may help explain why some of these customers visited more often than others. Spearheaded by Marilyn Cornelis, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, the team investigated the link between genetics and coffee consumption. By analyzing DNA as well as data on 120,000 adults of European and African-American heritage, the researchers identified eight genetic variants that predispose individuals to seek out and drink caffeine.


Our results show that people are naturally consuming the amount of coffee that allows them to maintain their optimal level of caffeine to get that good caffeine feeling without becoming jittery, Cornelis told me. "If we need more, were reaching for it. "


The key thing that people find difficult to understand is that coffee is more than just caffeine. "Six of the genetic variants examined in the study were newly discovered by the researchers. According to Cornelis, individuals whose DNA expressed all the variants tended to drink around half a cup of coffee more than those without them. Additionally, the new genes can explain about 1.3 percent of all coffee-drinking behavior, or about the same amount that genes can explain other habits, like smoking and alcohol consumption. While those effects may seem small, Cornelis said the study sheds light on why individual bodies and brains react differently to caffeine and how some people feel anxious after a single cup of coffee, whereas others can down a Starbucks Venti and feel just fine.


Biology may or may not be destiny, but whats clear is that recent research has suggested a myriad health benefits to the prosaic (and sometimes romanticized) pastime of drinking coffee. In 2012, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that showed coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of death. By using data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study, which involved more than 400,000 participants and 52,000 deaths, the researchers found that those who drank coffee were less likely to report having diabetes, or to perish from most major causes of death in both men and women, including heart disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections. Overall, people who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had a 12.5 percent lower chance of dying during the 14 years in which the study was conducted than those who didn't. Still, the same study found that coffee-drinkers were more likely to smoke, and that drinking coffee did not have a significant effect on cancer incidence. Likewise, a study published in 2013 by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health linked coffee consumption to a 50 percent reduction in suicide risk among both men and women.


"It's unclear how much cognitive decline is diminished by coffee consumption," said Alan Leviton, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. (Leviton consults for the National Coffee Association.) I can't tell you what these long-term mental effects are due to; it's probably much more complex than the current research suggests.


So what is it about coffee that may protect individuals from such major harms? And if coffee consumption is in part genetically determined, do certain people stand to benefit more from it?


“We need to understand why so many people like and drink coffee, and if we use that understanding to investigate coffee drinking in better detail, we might begin to understand the major illnesses that affect mankind,” said Peter Martin, director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Coffee Studies. “Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity, depression, coronary artery disease—you name it.”


Martin, who has studied caffeine for the past two decades and also serves as director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center, explains that coffee may even play an important role in combatting alcoholism. Chlorogenic acids—compounds that are naturally present in fruits, tea, and raw green coffee beans—he says, can bind to opioid receptors in the brain, and modify neurotransmitters used by the reward pathways responsible for cravings. Notably, as coffee beans are roasted, their concentration of chlorogenic acids increases; medium roasts tend to have the highest levels of these compounds.


“The key thing that people find difficult to understand is that coffee is more than just caffeine,” Martin told me. “When I started in this field, people were talking about coffee being a guilty pleasure, almost expressing a Puritan ethic of ‘anything that tastes this good can’t be good for you.’ Now people are starting to think coffee may have important biological health benefits.”


So perhaps people who are genetically geared to reach for that extra cup of coffee could be boosting their health, as well as their productivity.

Friday, 27 June 2014 14:17

Pod Wars - LIDL vs Nespresso

On Holidays recently, we brought our coffee machine as we usually do, to guarantee a decent coffee fix when needed. So we unpacked and when arrived and soon the panic set in. Where are the coffee beans? it slowly and painfully dawned on us that we left them behind. Here we were stranded in a remote area and not a coffee bean in sight.

We quickly ransacked the hoilday home, in search of a coffee solution. Soon we uncovered an old Nespresso machine and a few pods. So we were sorted for now, but what about later? We were at least a zillion miles from the nearest "Nespresso boutique"!

Next day we ventured into the local town. It was small village with not much scope for finding some fresh beans. We picked up some items in the local LIDL and "sure you never know", i took a look in the coffee section. There i saw them and smile came to my face. It wasnt as much a smile of great im looking forward to trying theses, it was more a smile of lol two brand names from completely opposite spectrums. LIDL compatible Nespresso Pods! and half the price lol.



What the heck, in the face of my impossible coffee dilema, im gona try these for the hell of it. So I picked up a pack of the Lungo and the Standard and set off home to try them. The packaging is nicely presented, the pod is individually wrapped and inside is a plastic pod with an aluminum seal. Not sure there is any need for individual wrapping as surely the plastic pod and seal are sufficient? So I popped them into the machine and made a lungo and a Nespresso to taste. The freshness is definitely comparable to the Nespresso pod. The flavor of the LIDL lungo being slightly stronger that the Nespresso equivalent is better in my opinion. Its also has a nice sweet finish which adds a little character. The standard LIDL Nespresso shot was not quite as good as the Nespresso arpeggio but if Nespresso was my standard in coffee its definitely a passable alternative on taste. On price, I think its hard to justify the trek to the Nespresso Boutique or the delivery charge for an online order.

Thursday, 20 March 2014 16:32

Coffee: facts and fabels!

Coffee: facts and fables!


Fact: Decaf contains caffeine!

For Decaf, the caffeine is removed from the beans before roasting. Caffeine contains no flavor. The beans used are the same as for regular coffee. Coffee gets its flavor from roasting. Decaf still contains 3mg of caffeine per cup. Regular coffee contains 80 mg per cup.


Fable: Every coffee grind has the same effect!

For a gorgeous cup of coffee the flavours and aromas have to go into the water, the bittery substances have to stay behind. For that reason each coffee making method needs a different grind. In general: the shorter the contact between water and coffee the finer the grind. For a cafeteria you need a coarse grind because the coffee needs to stand in the hot water for at least 2 minutes. Filter coffee needs a medium grind. The coffee in coffee pads is slightly finer because the water passes through fast. Ground espresso coffee is superfine. The water is pressed through the coffee under high pressure, so coffee and water only meet for very short time.


Fact: Coffee becomes bitter after a while!

After a while coffee becomes bitter because the "bitter particles" dissolve and the aromas lose their power. This process goes faster at higher temperatures.


Fable: Drinking coffee increases the risk of heart and diseases of the artries

Unfiltered or cooked coffee - like Turkish, Greek or coffee from a cafeteria - can higher the cholesterol in the blood. This is because with these coffee making methods, the fats in the coffee are not filtered out. Regular use of filter coffee or espresso (3 - 5 cups a day) does not increase the risk of high blood pressure or cholesterol.


Thursday, 27 February 2014 16:34

The Best Filter Coffee Makers

 Taking a look at the big sellers after Christmas, the big rush on household products has died down. So lets see why people bought them and how satisfied they were with their purchase.Filter or Drip Coffee is still the worlds favorite method of making coffee. It's had to beat the simplicity of this method and it does deliver a great result with little fuss.

Taking the Amazon marketplace to get significant data and using the popularity and satisfaction statistics as detailed in the first artile of the series, The Top 5 Espresso Coffee Machines. Lets have a look at the Coffee Machines that rank the best in this large marketplace.


No.1 Morphy Richards Cafe Mattino 47070 Programmable Filter Coffee Maker, Stainless Steel - Rating 148

No.2 Prestige Deco Digital Coffee Maker, 1.5 Litre, Black - Rating 92

No.3 De'Longhi ICM2B 10-Cup Filter Coffee Maker - Rating 90

No.4 Russell Hobbs 15215 Coffee Maker in Black - Rating 52

No.5 Russell Hobbs 14899 Platinum Grind and Brew Coffeemaker - Rating 43


               Cafe_Mattino.jpg     Prestige_Deco.jpg     DeLonghi.jpg 

                          Cafe Mattino                     Prestige Deco                          De'Longhi


The Morphy Richards Caffee Mattino wins this catagory by a large margin. It looks stylish on the counter top with a digital display and programmable timer. Its well built and has good features like fast brew and 12 cup capacity. Its in the medium price range and great value at £35. Customers report in their feedback a very high level of satisfaction with this product.


The Prestige Deco Digital comes second. Its design is sleek and it has slightly better features than the Morphy Richards. A warming plate to keep your coffee hot after brewing, an anti drip system and a larger 12-15cup capacity. I get feeling its the higher price point of £45 that puts it in second place but it is worth it for the extra features. Customers are generally positive about this purchace.


The De'Longhi ICM2B Comes in third. The best thing about this Filter Coffee maker is the price, £14 is a great price for what you get. The design is a bit dated and it looks a bit "plasticy" but! it has a warming plate to keep your coffee warm. Its a budget Coffee Machine with good features and very positive customer feedback so you cant go far wrong with this purchace.



Friday, 14 February 2014 13:39

The Best Espresso Machines

Well its after Christmas now and the bug rush on household products has died down. So we can now take a look at the big sellers in the Espresso Machine market and see why people bought them and how satisfied they were with their purchase.

Sunday, 17 November 2013 10:32

Different Types of Coffee Machines

Some coffee machines are meant to be used in a large setting and make a great deal of coffee while others make single servings. There are even coffee makers available today that are great for travel including RVs that allow you to take them with you so that you can have your favourite coffee when you are away from home. The options are unlimited when it comes to coffee makers. Today, machines can be automatic, French press, expresso, stove top, or even drip pot. These different machines can be cold or hot brew machine can even have coffee grinding functions, making it easier to make your favourite warm beverage drink. These coffee machines all have a different look, style, color, finish, and capability with a different price range making it easy to find one that best meets your individual coffee needs.

Today, the different coffee providing companies produce a wide range of coffee makers. These include a wide range of brand names such as Delonghi, Juru, Sunbeam, Breville, Saeco, and more. These machines are often the best brand names and a great place to look when considering a coffee machine purchase. When purchasing one of these brands, you can count on having a reputable and reliable machine that will get the job done.

You have many options when purchasing your coffee maker. You can select from almost any color including red, black, white, tan, blue, pink, or practically any other color. This will coordinate with your kitchen or room and can create a great indoor decorative piece. In addition, you will find that coffee makers come in a variety of materials ranging from plastic to stainless steel.

Some coffee machines on the market today will produce large quantities of coffee, more than twenty cups! These types of machines are known as commercial coffee machine and are often times best suited for offices, businesses, and stores. Other nice features of coffee machines include frothing systems, electric timers, a programmable device, thermostat, warming plate, included filtration system, and more. The final cost of your machine will depend on the features you select, the brand name you choose, and the size of your machine.

You will find that you have many options when selecting the best coffee machine for your needs. When deciding, it is important to take your budget into consideration as well as the features you require. You may also want to take into consideration the type of coffee you enjoy drinking. This is because there are many machines that are designed to make espresso or cappuccino. When looking for the right kind of machine, you will notice a great deal of options. Be sure to browse through several different selections in order to find the machine that will create the optimal coffee for your pleasure.

Article by Richard Manchester
Research done by Nationwide Coffee - coffee machine providers in East Sussex. Visit them for a large range of bean to cup, traditional and instant coffee machines

Friday, 01 November 2013 14:59

Coffee Beans - How To Grind

Air is the enemy of all coffee drinkers. Once air comes in contact with your grinds, they begin to lose their flavor. Coffee manufacturers vacuum seal their grinds to keep them fresh while they sit on the shelves at the supermarket but once you break that seal, it's all downhill from there. Buying whole beans and grinding them yourself is a great way to ensure that your coffee remains as flavorful as possible. But do you know how to grind your beans properly?


Different types of coffee calls for different types of grinds. So you'll need to learn to use your grinder properly if you want to make the freshest best tasting coffee possible.


If you plan on brewing your coffee with a percolator or a French Press coffee maker then you'll need a coarser grind. Place the coffee beans in your coffee grinder and tap the grind button a few times as you would use the pulse feature on your food processor. The goal is to break the beans up so that they look like tiny pieces of coffee bean. If they look like a powder, then you need to slowly back away from the coffee grinder and start again. Remember to tap the button and not hold it down.


Automatic drip coffee makers work best with medium grinds. Picture the grinds that you'd find in a can from the supermarket. Those are medium grinds. They can be described as looking like brown sand. So remember the last time you went to the beach but instead of seeing the sand in between your toes, imagine seeing sand in your coffee maker. Once again, while holding the coffee grinder button, don't get carried away and over grind your coffee beans. You do not want a fine powder if you're going to use an automatic coffee maker.

Finally if your using an espresso maker, you want those fine powdery grinds that you've been trying to avoid when making coarse and medium grinds. So grind away until your heart is content.


Grinding your own coffee beans right before you brew your coffee is a great way to make sure that you're getting the freshest cup of coffee possible. But a fresh cup of coffee can still be bitter or weak. Learning how to grind your coffee beans is an important part of making great coffee.

Anthony is the webmaster of For more information about How To Grind Coffee Beans [], please visit [].

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Sunday, 13 October 2013 15:18

Does Coffee Have Any Antioxidant Benefits?

Before we get all excited over the recent news about coffee being our new antioxidant, we need to take a look at the entire picture. Is there truly a coffee antioxidant? If there is, how exactly is coffee an antioxidant? Does it become the antioxidant when it's heated? Does the coffee antioxidant benefit everyone? Are there still dangers to drinking coffee? How much coffee is good for us and when does it become bad for us?


Brewed coffee contains many antioxidants and consumption of antioxidant-rich brewed coffee may inhibit diseases caused by oxidative damages. Antioxidants are said to be an inhibitor of certain types of diseases. However, coffee beans are not all a like. Not all coffee beans are of the same quality or even the same make up. Sort of like comparing tennis shoes to sandals. Both go on your feet, but they are not made up of the same components. You can actually break coffee down into several different water-soluble components. The dietary fiber derived from roasted coffee silverskin. This is one component of the coffee bean that has high antioxidant content. This is how the scientists find out about the antioxidant benfits of coffee in their studies. What they do in fact is the break down the coffee beans into different components. They filter out the components that the coffee antioxidant is found in, and then they test lab rats in a variety of experiments to determine how well they survive with or without the various additives in their diet. When they discover something really swell, like a coffee antioxidant, our culture of coffee drinking addicts suddenly becomes a feverorish mob.


For years and years we've heard bad things about coffee. For example: it's bad for your heart, increases blood pressure, may cause breast cancer, probably keeps you awake at night, and my personal favorite, has a poisonous gas when brewed.When the world of coffee addicts even gets a tiny hint that coffee could have something beneficial, believe me they don't just drink more coffee, they try to get everyone to join them. So, here we now have scientific studies proving to us that coffee has antioxidants.


Researchers have identified several compounds in coffee that create a coffee antioxidant. Why would this be of interest to us? Because scientific studies are showing that antioxidants may help prevent cancer. You see the connection here. However, until human studies are done, science cannot state exactly how much coffee must be consumed in order gain this protection against colon cancer or any other type of cancer. Before the coffee is roasted the antioxidant benefits are varied. However, once the coffee is roasted and served as a drink things get evened out. They all seem to have the same degrees of antioxidants.


Some studies suggest coffee having other benefits such as added fertility in men and some benefits for those suffering from diabetes. You'll have to read those studies on your own. The fact that a coffee antioxidant exists may be true, but the reality is that coffee can be just as harmful if your body doesn't like it, if you consume too much, if you have high blood pressure, and if it keeps you awake at night. Is there truly a coffee antioxidant?Yes, but the actual amount needed to be consumed in order to receive the anti-cancer benefits by humans is unknown. How exactly is coffee an antioxidant?


Coffee alone isn't the antioxidant, it's several different components that are part of the coffee bean. Roasting and heating the coffee changes the total antioxidant output. Does it become the antioxidant when it's heated? It seems that although some coffee beans like green coffee beans may be higher in antioxidants that other more common beans, once they are roasted and heated for consumption, the results are the same regarding the antioxidantal benefits. Does the coffee antioxidant benefit everyone? Honestly, this is NOT a question easily answered. In fact, the truth is it is still unknown just how beneficial coffee antioxidants are for humans. Are there still dangers to drinking coffee? Yes, of course there is. If you have high blood pressure and you have seen how coffee enhances this problem, you know it's bad for YOU personally. If you can't get proper sleep or you drive everyone around you nuts because you can't sit still or shut-up, you know coffee is bad for you.


Use common sense and listen to your body. Coffee is not good for everyone and unknown just how good for anyone. How much coffee is good for us and when does it become bad for us? Again drink coffee in moderation, pay attention to your own body. Exercise and good eating habits are a far better way to get healthy than drinking 10 cups of cappuccino a day. All things in moderation. After reading everything about this new thing called a coffee antioxidant I have decided that there are better ways of getting antioxidants into my blood.


Coffee may have many benefits, but so does water and it is possible to drown from drinking too much water. Yes, I know, you have to really drink a lot to accomplish this, but it's the principle of the matter. Too much of anything is not a good thing.

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