In the early nineties (1985 in Ireland years) my uncle shipped a percolating coffee pot over from America, which sat in the middle of the kitchen as we tried to figure out what this Cray supercomputer of a kitchen implement was for. It looked like a giant kettle with piping that led up to a mesh basin, which is where the coffee went. Up until then coffee came in a jar, tasted like willow bark, and was only every drunk under protest. Even Anthony Head’s on-and-off romance over a jar of Gold Blend couldn’t make it any more palatable. Gold Blend? We weren’t made of money.
Once we’d found some ground coffee (what do you mean Arabica – I want coffee) the pot was watered, loaded, and put on the gas. Within ten minutes of hissing, pffting, and all manner of steampunk noises this Dr. Snuggles-like machine produced what I can only describe as stimulant heaven. No more Mellow Birds for me… until the mesh corroded.
Ever since, like a heroin addicted J.R. Hartley jonesing for one last fix, I’ve tried to find a replacement. Times have changed and all you can find are french presses, cafetieres, and coffee makers. Until now!
Thanks to the Argos of the middle classes I’ve found a replacement.
The office where I work, like most modern offices, has a posh coffee machine with several options. Is this wealth of choice really actually worth it? Let’s try all of the options and see.
Café Crème: Not a great start. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is coffee with cream as I did. Imagine my disappointment to find it was just a cup of black, quite bitter, Americano style coffee which tastes no better than instant. Milk might help, but for the purposes of this taste test the only addition I’m making is my usual two sugars.
Americano: This actually does what it says on the tin. Unfortunately it tastes like warm dirty water. We’ll not be having it again.
Espresso: No, it’s not expresso and in this case it’s barely espresso. I won’t be sleeping much tonight.
Café au Lait: From the French for Coffee with Milk, one would expect it to be simple coffee with a dash of cow juice. In reality it seem more like a latte, with a dash of Americano style coffee topped up with heated milk. This seems to be the best, so far.
Hot Water: You are kidding? No, I won’t drink a cup of hot water with two sugars in it.
So, apart from only keeping me up for the next week I’ve discovered that machine made coffee is pretty much all the same. I just want a pot of filter coffee – is that asking too much?