Coffee culture and coffee drinking in UK

Making the perfect cup of coffee at home - it's easy when you know how

Years ago in the UK, gourmet coffee meant any brew not made from instant, even if the result was bitter and foul-tasting. In fact, back then, the more bitter and more foul-tasting the beverage was, the more authentic it was considered to be. Today, coffee-drinkers in the UK have discovered not only the gustatory pleasure of a good cup of coffee, but also the variety of flavours based on the source of the original coffee bean that are rapidly becoming more available throughout the country.

Here at Cafetieres, we love to promote coffee drinking and enjoyment of all kinds, but of course, especially good coffee made from a quality cafetiere. Below we have include our top pick of some of the best cafetieres around. If you are new to using a coffee cafetiere, then check out our full instructions on making great cafetiere coffee here.

Our Pick of the Best Cafetieres

The UK's Modern Love Affair with Coffee

Ten years ago, there were only a thousand or so name-branded coffee chains in the UK - by the end of next year, there'll be almost 15,000! This expansion of the coffee business is occurring despite a quadrupling in the price of coffee over the same period.

Parallel trends in wine and food further indicate an increase in preference among UK residents for a sophisticated gourmet lifestyle, where what you eat and drink says much about who you are. Instant coffee is thought to be of use only in the most dire straits, and, even then, not to be considered anything approaching "real" coffee. Foreign travel and examples seen on the big and little screen reinforce that attitude of coffee being something special and not just something you drink to stay awake.

Places in the UK where you never would have imagined anything other than a cup of instant to go are now presenting espresso as a normal service for their customers: outdoor sports shops, menswear stores and bicycle repair stops, to name three unexpected examples. Such instances are Phase 2 of the Great Coffee Awakening in the UK.

Phase 1, of course, was the availability of excellent coffee made directly from ground beans, both at home and in restaurants - this phase began in the UK in the 1970s. Phase 2 is the transfer of that expectation for fine coffee to establishments not directly involved in food and beverage service - this phase did not really begin in the UK until the turn of the millennium - after all, the first of the American Starbucks did not show up in the UK until 1998. Phase 3 is starting now - it's the idea that coffee is not simply a general commodity, but can vary according to the source of the coffee bean, and can be brewed, for example with a cafetiere, easily at home. The best coffee farms growing the Arabica bean, a coffee bean superior to the much cheaper Robusta bean, all exist in a "coffee belt" defined as that girdle around the earth just above and below the equator, edged by the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, and sited at altitudes from 1000-2000 metres above sea level. Portions of Latin America, Asia and Africa all fit these criteria. The nature of the coffee bean can vary among the countries in all three of these regions; within the countries, the quality of a coffee bean can also vary because of cultivation and harvesting practices, even moving down to individual farms.

Fair Trade Coffee

Better quality coffee is a result of beans grown slowly and in small lots, but such practices cost the farmer more. So, a coffee farmer who wanted to make money would grow beans that, though of lower-quality, would cost less to produce -- in other words, the farmer was not paid as well to grow high-quality coffee beans.

FairTrade and single-origin policies for coffee beans have changed all that. Cafédirect, the first UK company to implement FairTrade policies for coffee wholesaling, work with small-scale growers all across the globe whose agricultural methods not only grow excellent beans, but also preserve the environment. One side-effect of this effort is the introduction of many more flavours at the retail level for the typical coffee drinker, who long ago moved away from instant to frothy brewed and who are now ready for a coffee tasting adventure.

Coffee

Stockists - Where to buy a cafetiere in UK

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