Friday, June 29, 2012

Coffee Guide From Coffee Lovers

They say there's an awful lot of coffee in Brazil - and there is! But the sheer variety of drinks it can be made into can cause confusion among those of us who just fancy a nice cup, and want something a bit different.

So, when you do venture into your local coffee shop or cafe, how do you know what to ask for? Should it be an americano, a filter, espresso or double skinny latte? ... unless you happen to be a real aficionado you could be forgiven for giving up, going home, and just unscrewing a jar of instant.

Well help is at hand; here is a quick guide to the most common choices, so you can order with confidence.

Espresso: these are those little cups with two mouthfuls in. Generally very strong they are made by forcing boiling water through ground coffee in a machine.

Filter: made using gravity, because the boiling water falls through the ground coffee, extracting the flavour.

Cafetiere: coffee is made by brewing the ground coffee and boiling water together, and a filter can be pushed down when the coffee is ready to be drunk, to separate the grains from the liquid.

Cappuccino: espresso coffee with frothed milk added to it, and cocoa powder shaken on top.

Latte: an espresso made with hot milk (skinny uses semi skimmed milk, double skinny uses skimmed, and a double latte just means double the amount of milk)

Americano: an espresso made with a lot of hot water, and so less strong than usual espresso.

But why stop there?

Apparently 70 per cent of us put sugar in our coffee. Many of us are also discovering there's an interesting alternative to sweetening our coffee - flavoured syrups. They're an easy and enjoyable way to customize a coffee and experiment with tastes.

The syrups come in a vast array of flavours to complement your coffee. Some sweet and others more subtle. It is even possible to get sugar-free versions. Most good coffee shops will offer a range of flavours to choose from.

The most popular coffee syrup is probably vanilla, and a small glug of this in your latte makes a really fantastic drink. Ginger was very popular over the winter and is likely to carry on being so. If you are very sweet-toothed you could try caramel coffee syrup, or even cinnamon coffee syrup. Nut fans might like hazelnut syrup and there is also coffee's perfect accompaniment, amaretto syrup.

If you lack the confidence to go and order one - or just prefer to stay in - then you can actually buy a wide range of coffee syrups over the internet which you can add to homemade coffee. Many are imported from Europe but if you search you can get excellent, top quality British-made coffee syrups. Don't forget they work in instant coffee too - a nice addition to your Nescafe!

And if you get bored with coffee, try adding them to pancakes or ice cream to brighten up a dull dessert.

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