Repub­lic of cof­fee

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Food - Roz Crow­ley

WE are never far from good cof­fee in and around Cork. Many savvy cafés sell beans and ground cof­fee, and hav­ing a cup in-house first is a good way to test be­fore buy­ing.

Ara­bica cof­fee beans are usu­ally bet­ter qual­ity, with a rounder, softer, more lay­ered range of flavours, com­pared to ro­busta which are eas­ier to grow, cheaper and have a harsher, nar­rower range of flavours and higher caf­feine con­tent.

Un­like wine, which is sim­ply poured to serve, how we make cof­fee is cru­cial. Bring­ing wa­ter to boil­ing point will scorch cof­fee grounds, so let it come off the boil and down to 90-96C, with a dessert­spoon or scoop of cof­fee per per­son. Al­low to in­fuse for four to six min­utes.

All beans in our sur­vey ar­rive in Ire­land green and are roasted here. Gen­er­ally, the lighter the colour, the shorter time it was roasted and softer the flavour.

Darker, to­wards black, may have a more burnt flavour, like over­done bar­be­cued food.

We had a look at what is avail­able in su­per­mar­kets. Cof­fee House Lane roasted in Water­ford im­pressed tasters most. Rea­son­ably priced at €4.95 for 227g from Su­per­Valu. We were also im­pressed by McCabes Wick­low Or­ganic blend €7.20 for 250g which had a great, Ital­ian-style kick. From Cof­fee Cen­tral, English Mar­ket Cork and on­line mc­cabecof­fee.com.

While dif­fi­cult to com­pare brands with dif­fer­ent blends, we looked for a sat­is­fy­ing, multi-lay­ered mouth­ful that begged a sec­ond cup and found it in all of these eight.

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