The classic Hario Mini Mill hamd coffee grinder.

Hario Mini Mill hand coffee grinder available at artistrycoffee.co.uk

Great for lovers of coffee – the #Hario Mini Mill Slim Grinder is a compact hand coffee grinder.

It has adjustable burrs to enable you to control the grind size that you need – very fine grind for Espresso coffee makers, to coarse grind for Cafetiere or French Press coffee makers.

It’s easy to use – simply pop your choice of coffee beans in the top mini-hopper affix the lid and grind handle and turn the handle. The ground coffee gathers in the plastic chamber below – the Mini Mill has capacity for two cups worth of ground coffee.

Hario have their origins in Japan – they design and making top quality handbrew coffee equipment. Find out more on artistrycoffee.co.uk.

It also has a bigger cousin: the Hario Skerton which is a coffee maker with more capacity in both the top hopper and the chamber below (this time made of glass): Find out more on our main website.

The AeroPress :: One of our favourites for great coffee!!

AeroPress Series 5

One of our favourite products is the AeroPress that helped start our journey into handbrew coffee equipment and techniques.

It’s a straightforward easy to use product that creates great tasting coffee.

The AeroPress is possibly the simplest, most consistent, easy, and cost-effective way to make espresso-based drinks at home… without crazily expensive equipment!

The AeroPress is an amazing coffee maker – if you’re used to instant coffee the AeroPress will be an eye opener, as it barely takes more time than making instant coffee, yet tastes many, many, many times better!

The AeroPress is essentially two plastic tubes that fit together – one that you put the coffee and water into, and one that you use to push the water under pressure through the coffee. So the AeroPress creates the ability to get close to an espresso coffee with a simple, easy to use, portable, coffee-maker which is almost self-cleaning too.

(Of course espresso is used as the base for most coffee-shop coffees – so the AeroPress can also be a gateway to americanos – by adding more hot water, lattes or cappuccinos -by adding frothed milk (see our Cappuccino Kit including an AeroPress and a milk frother), and more…. )

The AeroPress is a great coffee maker and can fit with a very outdoors based life, as it’s so portable. It can be used on holiday, at the beach, on picnics, at work, as well as in the kitchen or at home.

There are increasingly opportunities to have your coffee shop coffee made with an AeroPress too. Many baristas do take this product really seriously – and World AeroPress Championships take place every year!

If you’d like to find out more about how the AeroPress was invented (by the guy who created the Frisbee!) then see here

The journey gets more serious? ….starting to discover pour-over coffee!

Hario Buono, and V60 Ceramic Dripper from Artistry Coffee

So for many of us coffee is a part of our life whether we think about it or not!

The question do you want a coffee has probably already been said to you or by you today, even if only in your mind to yourself!

However, to start to pay more attention to what your cup of coffee contains can be the beginnings of a journey that gradually increases in intensity.

There was a point when – rather than using drip-filter by accident (i.e. without realising) or french press because it sat there (thinking it was just a cafetiere: which of course it is!) – the idea of hand-brewing coffee became more than a means to an end, it became an enjoyment in itself!

This started with a V60 Ceramic pour-over: a cup-like thing with a conical shape and a hole in the bottom. You place a filter paper within it then add ground coffee and pour hot water over the coffee which then drips through to a mug sitting below.

This is a slow coffee making process to savour: not perhaps the best method to use if you’re in a rush!

But this is where a real enjoyment in coffee making started for me and my wife. The process of thinking about the coffee and what it was doing as you were making it became interesting, and the time taken in the pour-over coffee making started to be a relaxing routine.

Starting with the same ground coffee we were using from the supermarket, we enjoyed “blooming” the coffee by pouring a small amount of hot water for about 15 seconds to let the Coffee grounds swell; then pouring hot water gradually over the coffee for another 2 to 3 minutes whilst seeing gasses from the coffee bubble up a little.

Hario V60 Pour-Over Coffee Maker available from Artistry Coffee
A V60 Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Pour-Over Coffee Making Equipment available from Artistry Coffee
Making Pour-Over Coffee

The aroma from the coffee when making it, as the coffee interacts with the hot water and then drips though, adds to the pleasure – and this is heightened because of the slow process of the pour-over coffee making. We found that the coffee was much more pleasurable as black coffee than we had ever experienced before: which then took us to a new place in coffee appreciation.

Discovering pour-over coffee making was a great find, and we recommend it to all – when you have time to savour the process!

One scoop or two…..

A scoop to measure coffee

Of course soon enough in time on the coffee journey you come across a cafetiere to make coffee with (or French Press as some like to call it). This is a simple yet clever device, with the mesh disc to push the ground coffee down in the coffee maker and keep them (mainly) separate from the coffee that will be drunk.

There are lots of things that can be said about making coffee this way – and I’m sure we’ll come to them one day – but the biggest thing that puzzled me was how much coffee to use. And it’s not like I did the sensible thing and work it out then remember it: so every time I make coffee this way was like starting afresh.

It actually gets complicated by the fact that making coffee in different homes, with different coffees, and different size cafetieres means that even if you get the amount of coffee right one time, the next coffee you make with a different blend may need a different amount. And what about the 1 cup vs the 4 cup, 6 cup, 8 cup vessels?

How can anyone ever get it right?

And how do you judge the right amount of water each time?

In fact here we are at the heart of the brew recipe: a phrase which at first (for coffee) seems bizarre, yet is increasingly used by coffee fans to record how they made their latest coffee.

In simple terms something like – 2 scoops of ground coffee to one mug of water. [In reality a brew recipe will potentially record all sorts of things, but that’s for another time].

At its simplest remembering the proportion of water and ground coffee that you use is a first key step to getting a consistent approach to coffee making. And a first simple brew recipe.

A lot of it is about proportions – so you can then double the numbers for 2 mugs, quadruple for 4 etc. Maybe a bit more complex than that, but not far off.

If you use the same type of coffee all the time, you will no doubt hit on proportions of coffee and water that you prefer: and it is worth experimenting with this as it can affect the enjoyment you get from your mug. Also try with different lengths of time after the kettle has boiled, as the temperature of the water can be an important factor. And different timing before you push the plunger down.
Write down what makes the best cup for you, along with the blend of coffee that you made it with.

Once you start weighing the coffee for more precision you know you’re taking it seriously !

So learning the cafetiere is not quite as complex as learning a musical instrument, but maybe a bit similar – you can pick it up and get some coffee out of it: but if you play it well, the notes the coffee delivers will change and become more melodic perhaps. And just like music, I’ve hinted that timing is important too: but that’s also for another time!

How many types of coffee are there……?

coffee cup

As the coffee journey continued from that very naive early years experience of mainly instant coffee – when freeze dried Gold Blend was posh! – there came a realisation that coffee came in more than just 3 or 4 options.

I suppose that I ought to have known more – because my foreign relatives in my fathers homeland of Denmark used to have a very different kind of coffee than I’d ever experienced elsewhere. Looking back I now know that it was properly brewed filter coffee – but wayback then it was just strong and different.

Eventually progressing to ground coffee at weekends – maInly using a 1 cup cafetiere – there was now a bigger task of making sure we always had some available. And so comes the task of buying coffee more seriously (certainly trying a bit harder than just picking up the best value jar from whichever supermarket we happened to be in).

So where do you start when essentially youre considering a new product that you have very little experience of ? Start with the colours, or strength numbers, or the price, or the origin? [That’s an official coffee word now – just means what you think it should …. where does it come from?!]

I dont thinknthat there’s a right and a wrong on this. Even starting with the colours can be sensible – cause it’s more likely that you’ll remember what you had next time you’re buying! The important thing is maybe just that – remember what you try and remember what you like. Maybe take some notes about what you’ve tried and what you liked, and why.

If you do the remembering, you’ll journey on in coffee terms much more quickly and generate an appreciation for and knowledge of coffee perhaps far more speedily than being directed by someone else at what you should like and how you should like it.

Experiencing the journey of discovery of coffee is part of the joy. There’s no shame in being on a learning curve but plenty of interest and fun in  the exploration!

There are so many coffees out there, and so much to discover!

So the coffee discovery takes off…..

Learning to use ground coffee

At the start of what was the real coffee journey – somewhere between my brother moving from London to Seattle (10 years ago) and now – was the awareness of the difference in the taste and quality of filter coffee vs instant. It seems like such a basic discovery, but it’s a fairly key step!

Once you have some quite different reference points there will start to be comparisons in your head – an appreciation that some coffee is far better than others. It’s not just about a strong/weak scale depending on whether someone has put half a teaspoonful of granuals or a heaped one into a cup.

Having had the instant coffee starting point – I think there’s an even greater appreciation of the variation in coffee experiences that can be available.

For long enough my experience was to have the occasional treat of buying a packet of ground coffee at the supermarket to enjoy on Saturday or Sunday when there was more time to savour. I do wonder now though just how long the coffee takes to get to the supermarket shelves, how long it stays there, and just how old it is generally by the time it gets consumed.

However, making ‘real’ coffee from grounds is a good step to take in pushing along the rewarding journey of discovering coffee.