Coffee — the uber-cool beverage

When I was a lad the really cool thing to drink was Irel coffee. This came in a bottle and was a sticky black treacle like substance which you mixed with sugar, hot water, and a lot of milk. Later came Nescafé powdered coffee in a tiny tin, not much bigger than a tin of shoe polish, and if you used more than a half teaspoon you were in mega trouble. As time marched on pubs started to serve food and we had Cona coffee machines, which were good if your cup was served directly after it was made, however it could be (and often was ) two, three, or four hours old. I have several memories (some quite recent ) of sending coffee back while complaining that it was burnt/old only to be served a new ‘fresh’ cup from the same disgusting brew. The ‘fresh cup’ was inevitably accompanied by a comment like, nobody else complained!

Times have changed and now every one is a connoisseur and if not certain about which type of bean they like then they certainly know what kind of brew. There are americanos, lattes, skinny lattes, frapuchinos, espresso, double shots, and lots more

If you want to visit one of the world’s best coffee shops then a trip to the fourth floor of Harrods is required. There you will find Andronica’s World of Coffee. There are at least 60 coffees to choose from ranging in price from €16 per kg to €195 per kg. Coffee from Yemen, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Columbia, Ethiopia, Hawaii, Indonesia, Peru, Jamaica, Nepal, and more, much more. If interested log on to www.andronicasworldofcoffee.com where the company offers a mail order service.

Closer to home, and with an eye to the bargain, I spotted a very neat home brew coffee machine which uses pods to make the coffee. Pods are like round tea bags that have been filled with seven grams of ground coffee and come individually packed in a sealed foil. This means that there is no mess, always the correct dosage, always fresh, and no need to buy a coffee bean grinder. This is quite an important point as any grinder below €500 will not stay sharp enough to grind your beans consistently. The machine is called a Petra and is available exclusively from Coma Coffee Shop in Briarhill Business Park. You just fill up with good water, put in a pod, and press go. It turns itself off when the cup is filled. I have a complicated machine at home and it has probably taken me six to 12 months to get my brew just right. For most people this little machine that Coma has is perfect. It’s on special offer at €99 to include six Lucaffee espresso cups and a box of 20 pods. After that the pods work out at 35 cents each and have a shelf life of two years. A simple solution to making top notch coffee at home, all for 35 cents a cup.

Finally, can I recommend some of the best nougat and fudge I have tasted? The nougat is called Premiata Torroneria Barbero and it is €8.40. It is covered in chocolate and will probably last you a week. It is so concentrated that one slice is enough to satisfy (most people ). The fudge is from the Burnt Sugar Company and is made in the traditional way in copper vats from sugar, milk, clotted cream, golden syrup, glucose, and chocolate. It is €9.95 for a 240 gram box selection. Both exclusively available from Woodberry’s Wine Shop, Middle Street, while there try a packet of the original Jelly Belly — jelly beans, all natural flavourings — delicious.

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