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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

1. What are the different ways of making coffee?

There are quite possibly over 100 different ways of making coffee, here are some of the most popular conventional ways:

Espresso Machine
Moka Pot / Stovetop
Percolator
Aeropress
Cafetiere / French Press
Coffee Bags
SoftBrew
Vacuum Pot
Filtration / Drip Coffee
Chemex
Vietnamese Phin
Cold brew
Iced Coffee
Cowboy Coffee
Turkish Coffee
Coffee Pod/Capsule Machine

2. How is coffee roasted?

Roasting coffee is the process of taking the raw, green coffee seed, and making it into the coffee beans we buy. There are generally two methods of roasting coffee: slow and fast roasting.

Slow roasting is where a low heat is used to remove moisture from the raw bean and the temperature slowly rises until the first crack which is usually at around 210 degrees celsius. The bean is then finished by raising the temperature for the desired roast level.

Fast roasting is where high heat is applied first which sears the beans initially, then once the first crack happens, low heat is then applied as the beans are already very hot themselves.

 

3. How to make perfect espresso.

Whatever method of making espresso you have, there are ways to ensure you are making the most out of your preferred method:

-Use fresh whole beans
-Finely grind your beans
-Have your espresso maker as clean as possible
-Make sure your espresso maker is dry
-Use a tamper (to press the ground coffee)
-Measure the amount of coffee for your shot

 We have a more in-depth guide here.

 

4. Why are coffee beans blended?

Coffee blending has declined and risen in popularity over the years, cheaper coffee blends can be a sign of mixing leftover or old coffee, however with premium coffee, it’s usually a very considered decision.

Large coffee retailers have a customer base who have come to expect exactly the same taste all year around, it's much easier to achieve such consistency with blended beans. 

Blending beans also allows all the best qualities of single origin beans to come together to create a balanced taste.

You can read our full blog post here. Or even build your own blend here!

 

5. How to store coffee?

Storing coffee, beans or ground, is very simple as long as you remember the 3 things that quickly deteriorate coffee. Oxygen, light and moisture. So to keep these 3 things out, you will need an airtight container, stored in a cool and dry place.

If you are serious about your coffee ideally the container should have a one way CO2 outlet, as CO2 continues to be released as coffee rests after roasting.

See our recommended product here.

 

6. What type of coffee bean grinder should I use?

The type of grinder depends on the method you are using to make coffee, and of course, your budget.

The main problem that can occur with coffee grinders is a build up of heat which breaks down the aromatic compounds in coffee, so a good quality grinder should be chosen. 

If you are making filter coffee you don’t need anything that can grind coffee exceptionally finely and you probably won’t experience a heat issue, however if you are grinding coffee to make espresso, it’s worth investing more money as espresso requires an extremely fine and consistent grind, a coarse or less consistent grind can reduce the quality of the finished coffee. 

A burr grinder should always be chosen over a blade grinder, as the blade grinders are more prone to heat build up and less consistent.

You can read more about the different types of grinders here.

 

7. How is coffee decaffeinated? 

For a coffee to be called ‘Decaf’ it actually only needs to be 0.1% or less caffeine.

Extracting coffee from beans was first discovered in 1903 using a solvent which is known to be a carcinogen which for years gave decaf coffee a bad reputation for being full of chemicals but now the processes are regarded to be safe.

There are four different methods for removing caffeine, two use (safe) solvents and water soaking however some people still have concerns about the chemicals.

Non solvent methods are:

  • The Swiss Water process which is where the green beans are soaked in water to dissolve the caffeine, natural coffee components are then added to make up for the lost flavour
  • Sparkling CO2, this method soaks green beans in liquid CO2 to extract the caffeine, flavour comments are un-changed with this method

 We prefer the Sparkling CO2 method.

 

8. Is coffee bad for you?

Throughout the years coffee has received good and bad press, however the bad press is usually around caffeine.

As many people know, coffee has a very high antioxidant content. An antioxidant fights against a process in your cells called oxidation. Antioxidants can prevent many adverse health conditions and even can help to prevent cancer. 

Coffee, is in fact also full of nutrients including magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, B Vitamins and more, the amounts are relatively small however over a few cups a day it soon adds up. 

 

9. Why is coffee bitter?

Your coffee may be bitter if its been brewed at too high a temperature or for too long as the bitter flavours from coffee are more likely to come through with heat and time. This is called extraction, extraction is the flavours coming out of the coffee, into the water, over extraction will lead to bitterness.

Of course, even with the perfect extraction a poor quality or stale coffee can still be bitter, and don’t forget if your coffee making equipment is not clean you may be extracting from stale coffee leftovers.

 

10. Are coffee beans edible?

Yes coffee beans are edible! Coffee beans have been eaten for hundreds and possibly thousands of years. 

Roasted coffee beans can be sprinkled on top of a cake or in a cocktail, coated in yogurt or chocolate and even eaten raw. However eating coffee beans needs to be in moderation as caffeine content per gram is much higher than in ground and brewed coffee. 

 

11. What to do with coffee waste?

Used coffee has far too many uses to go in the bin. One of the best uses is to compost it or even use it straight away as fertiliser for your garden or plants. You may have heard of NPK, which stands for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and is a very common fertiliser. Used coffee contains all 3 of these and even a handful of extra minerals too. All plants will benefit from used coffee in moderation but one plant that loves loads of it is tomatoes, used coffee will eventually up the acidity of soil which tomato plants prefer.

There are other uses such as using coffee waste as a cleaner, an odour neutraliser and even a skin exfoliant but the easiest and least messy use, is in the garden. 

 

12. Can coffee go off? 

Although coffee can’t spoil in a way which would make you ill, the taste and aroma is seriously deteriorated over time. Moisture, sunlight, heat and oxygen all affect coffee negatively and over time coffee can become stale and lose its taste.

 

13. What coffee should I get?

You should consider a few factors when it comes to choosing coffee. The most obvious one which is the taste profile is entirely down to personal preference but there are a few basic rules to follow for whichever type you choose:

  • Always buy fresh coffee, beans are better than ground but with ground or beans, the freshness will always affect the taste.
  • Buy responsibly, the coffee production industry is generally moving towards fair and honest pay for farmers, but buying coffee which exploits farmers only encourages these companies to continue doing it.
  • Smell the coffee. The best tasting coffee usually smells the best too. Even through the bag. Pick up a pack and give it a gentle squeeze to release some of the aroma. 

 

14. Different types of coffee?

There are many types of coffee, here are some of the most common

Espresso 
The strongest form of coffee, a small shot of coffee with a strong flavour.

Americano 
Simply hot water added to an espresso.

Long Black
Like an americano but the espresso is added to the water rather than the other way round. A long black is usually a double shot of espresso too.

Cappuccino 
Espresso with steamed milk and a layer of frothed milk on the top. It’s common to add chocolate on top too.

Flat White
Similar to a cappuccino but without the frothed milk. Espresso with steamed milk, ideally from the bottom of the jug which is creamy, but flat.

Latte
Espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk. The drink is mainly made up from the steamed milk and contains less frothed milk than a cappuccino, and no chocolate. 

Macchiato 
Espresso with a small amount of frothed milk.

Mocha
Espresso mixed with chocolate powder, steamed milk and frothed milk on top. Chocolate added to the top.

 

15. Which coffee machine?

Choosing a coffee machine depends on preference and budget, but to help you out, we have outlined the different types below. There are 4 main types of machine:

Espresso machine

The most versatile machine you can buy, if you get one with a milk frother attachment this allows you to make nearly all types of coffee. You will see larger versions of these in most coffee shops.

Bean-To-Cup

These machines have a built in grinder, so your coffee is always fresh. These are the most expensive machines however you can make your favourite coffee in the morning with a press of a button. They do of course need to be cleaned but you can make 10-15 cups before having to do any maintenance, unlike the espresso machine which requires cleaning for every cup.

Filter Coffee Machine 

A cheap and easy to use machine. Water is slowly dripped through coffee to make simple black coffee. They are good for offices or big families as they can make lots of coffee and usually have a heat pad to keep the coffee warm for longer.

Pod/Capsule Machine

The most convenient for making quick coffee. They only work with pre-packaged coffee inside a pod but they make very consistent coffee quickly and stay cleaner than other machines.

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