How to Make Coffee
A cup of coffee is 98 per cent water. A true coffee perfectionist would use ﬁltered or bottled water, not tap. Always brew your coffee on demand - never leave it sitting in a jug on a hot-plate as the flavour will disappear.
Never add boiling water to coffee; ensure that it is several degrees under boiling point or the intense sudden heat will damage the coffee bean.
Pressure is the single most important thing in a home espresso machine. The higher it is, the better the coffee. Aside from an espresso machine, a cafetière provides some of the richest coffee at home. Use dark roast beans - two scoops of coarse ground coffee per person.
As a mainstay in most Italian homes, stove-top espresso makers could not come more highly recommended. Quick and easy - but not as good quality as an espresso machine - they require ﬁne-ground beans. See our coffee bean guide
Capsule or pod machines can make excellent coffee; they are clean, quick and convenient.
Coffee cups should be warm, but not hot, and only ﬁlled up to two-thirds capacity. The cup itself should be the shape of half an egg.
An espresso is not an espresso without an oily, golden (not be yellow or creamy) crema, the layer of foam that floats on top of espresso coffee. It should be able to support the weight of half a teaspoon of sugar for at least a few seconds.
Crema is, however, notoriously elusive to achieve at home. An off-white and thin crema indicates that the beans need to be more coarsely ground and packed more tightly into the machine. A dark, burnt-looking crema means that the beans are probably too coarsely ground and packed too tightly.