I remember a young lady beginning her conversation at my counter in a most distressed and agitated way. She was newly married. “Mr Higgins, you have got to help me! My mother in law is coming for the weekend. She has gone over, and over again how John likes his breakfast coffee and I am sure I won’t get it right!” I listened, and then said, “Well, let’s go and make some coffee.” What she needed was a little help to become familiar how her coffee maker functioned. To understand the coffee experience it was designed to give her, and just as important the confidence that she would make a great cup of coffee that they would all enjoy.
I have often listened to people who lacked confidence that they could make a good cup of coffee. The key to success is understanding your coffee maker and the coffee experience it is trying to give you. We want you to enjoy the whole process of making coffee whether it is just for yourself, or for your family and friends.
To start with, we always recommend that if possible, you grind your beans just before you want to make your coffee. If you have guests, the smell, or I should say aroma, reaching your friends will set everything off on the right course right from the start. They are bound to love your coffee. My father would sometimes warm some coffee grounds to give a longer lasting waft of aroma.
There are lots of methods for making coffee on the market. They each give a very different experience in the cup. Here are just a few, together with coffees that I recommend work well in them.
The Espresso will give you the most intense and powerful coffee experience of any method. This is because of the intense pressure that builds up in the maker. Stove Top Espresso’s are very easy to use. They come in various sizes and replacement parts are available. There are some great stove top stainless steel makers as well as the traditional hexagonal Moka pots. Of course, they won’t give you cappuccino or latte. For that you will need a maker with a steam wand, or a Bean to Cup machine.
The Espresso is a great coffee maker and can give you a lovely powerful cup of coffee with lots of flavour. However, in my opinion it won’t cope so well with coffees that have light and very delicate favours. On the other hand, some bean to cup machines, don’t like very dark roasted coffees as the natural oils produced can clog the grinders. I recommend our 1942 Blend and our Caffe Roma Blend. For the full Higgins experience, you could try our Brazil Daterra Bruzi which we use for our Espressos at Duke Street. Espressos are very sensitive to the degree of grind. Too fine and they produce a sludge. Too coarse and they will give you a very weak coffee. You can order all our coffees pre-ground for espresso.
Known also as a plunger pot or French Press, the Cafetiere is probably the most “social” of makers. Gathering around the Cafetiere, is a sharing experience. I think it is at its best with medium to dark, and darker roast coffees. However, if you prefer light and medium roasted coffees, I suggest being just a little more generous with the quantity of coffee you use. This will avoid your coffee somewhat lacking in character. Use medium ground coffee. I recommend Higgins Coffee-House Blend, Brazil Santos Dark Roast or our Tanzania Kibo Chagga Dark Roast.
The Aeropress works with a plunger rather like the Cafetiere, but it operates with a filter paper. Because of this, we recommend using more finely ground coffee. It is very useful when you want to make a single cup or mug of coffee. I recommend Tanzania Kibo Medium, Colombia Supreme Medium, or our Vienna Blend.