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How to make the perfect cup of coffee

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If you are serious about having really good coffee at home, you need to invest in the right machine and coffee blends to make them.

Tim Ridley from The Coffeesmiths Collective gives us the lowdown on the equipment guaranteed to make the perfect cup of coffee and expert barista Lynsey Harley from United Coffee tells us which beans to pair them with.

Preparation

The Grinder

If you want to grind your beans at home, the Hario Skerton Coffee Mill is the best mill for the job. It has ceramic, conical burrs for an even grind size. £45, coffeesmithscollective.co.uk

The Kettle

The Hario Buono V60 Stove Top Kettle has a narrow spout so water doesn’t spill and you can pour at the correct speed to let coffee brew. £45, coffeesmithscollective.co.uk

The Scales

Weighing your coffee and water is key to achieving a perfect consistency. £29.99, salterhousewares.com

The Machines

The budget espresso machine

AeroPress uses an espresso-like extraction so it’s good for those who like the hallmark flavours of an espresso without the effort (or price) of a more professional model. It works by adding pressure to the coffee with a plunger, whereas with a filter you’re relying on gravity. Central American beans work best with an Aeropress. Look for coffee from countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua – they have a balanced acidity with good chocolatey and caramel notes.

AeroPress, £19.99, aeropresscoffee. co.uk; Finca Malacara A coffee, £6.50, monmouth coffee.co.uk

For Purists

This is the machine all serious coffee geeks should own. It uses a drip decanter (where you pour hot water through a paper cone) which makes the best tasting coffee while still being easy to use – you can always get the coffee-to-water ratio right. Use a single estate bean so you can really taste the characteristics. Kenyan coffee is a great blend with sparkling acidity and notes of raspberry, blackcurrant and strawberry.

Hario V60 Pour Over (ceramic), £25, coffeesmithscollective.co.uk; Kenya Kayu Peaberry coffee, £9.50, hasbean.co.uk

New Generation Cafetiere

Plunger coffee has more body due to the coarse mesh sides but generally less flavour clarity. The Espro Press machine has finer mesh than most plungers and it double filters the coffee, so the flavour clarity is still good. For hot water coffees, African blends work well because when you immerse the grinds into the water, it releases the fruity notes. East African coffees from Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda all have nice sweet fruit and good acidity.

Espro Press, £50, coffeehit.co.uk; Musasa Rushashi coffee, £10, squaremilecoffee.com

For Show-Offs

The Hario Syphon looks like something out of a science lab and is a great way to finish a dinner party – bring it to the table and make coffee with a naked flame! A single origin coffee rather than a blend works best with the Hario Syphon, so that you can focus on the country’s unique characteristics. In South America, the Huila area in Colombia produces coffee that has a nice bright acidity, sweet citrusy notes and a good chocolate flavour.

Hario 3-Cup Syphon, £90, coffeesmiths collective.co.uk; Vista Hermosa coffee, £8.50, squaremilecoffee.com

The professional espresso

This Rocket Espresso Cellini machine is the domestic version of commercial technology used in cafes with good water temperature and pressure stability. The bad news (at just under £1,000) is that to make high-quality espresso at home you have to pay out – and this is just an entry level model. When choosing beans, you want more than just a one-dimensional taste, so use a blend as it gives you a broader flavour profile. It should be dark roasted but not so dark it’s oily. Monmouth Coffee has a really good espresso blend – chocolatey with hint of sweetness and caramel.

Rocket Espresso Cellini Classic Coffee Machine, £989, bella barista.co.uk; Monmouth Espresso coffee, £6.50, monmouth coffee.co.uk

The quick fix

Nespresso have revolutionised quick coffee making using disposable ‘pods’. The Ristretto (black pod) is perfect for dark, intense coffee while Capriccio (green pod) gives a milder kick. In between is the limited-edition Naora, made from Colombian Arabica beans.

Nespresso Pixie, £139,nespresso.com; Nespresso pods from £2.90 for 10

Main picture credits: Rex Features

What are your tips for the perfect cup of coffee? Let us know @StylistMagazine or in the comments below.

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