Tag Archive | "Coffee"

Nescafé Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine

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Nescafé Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine

Posted on 19 June 2012 by Chris Ford

like alot of people  I cant live without my morning Coffee , I favour a Latte in the morning which I usually pick up from Starbucks on the way to the office, but you know what they aren’t cheap!   in fact at £3.20 a pop in a week I will have spent £16 and in a month a wallet busting £64.00!  that equates to over £700 a year and Im sure we could all think of something we would love to buy with that.


So with that in mind for a while now I have been looking at various home brewed alternatives to my daily fix.

The main problem I found was in the morning I don’t have a hell of a lot of time to hang around and make the coffee and to make my Latte I would need to boil up some milk, and brew some coffee which when you are a reluctant riser like me eats into lots of my valuable duvet time!


Introducing the Dolce Gusto system……

Dolce Gusto by Nescafe is a coffee pod system with a difference.  Not only can you brew your favourite espresso but you can also make a wide variety of coffees and even hot chocolates! but most importantly I can easily and quickly make my morning Latte!

For the past few weeks I have been trailing  the DeLonghi Genio machine and I must say I am very impressed.

The great thing about Dolce Gusto is you have a pod for both the Coffee and the milk part of the drink and with the Genio in perfectly measures the amount of water needed when the capsule is inserted so it really is idiot proof.

Infact due to what they call a thermoblock heating system from the moment i switch the machine on in the morning its almost instantly ready to make my latte which itself only take just over a minute.

The DeLonghi Genio machine is £129.00 from John Lewis but really it pays for itself in no time, infact thats just over two months of my morning Starbucks money and its paid for itself.  Yes you have to  buy the capsules but they really are super cheap,  for example a box of 16 of  my favourite the Latte Macchiato is only £5.99 from Amazon but you can also pick them up in most supermarkets too with your regular shop.


I love my new Genio,  it takes up hardly any space in my kitchen and I can wake up everyday to a lovely latte to start my day.  I highly recommend you check them out.


here’s a  great video I found on You Tube showing how a Latte is made with the Genio




For a chance to win your very own Dolce Gusto Genio and for more information head over to







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Jonathan Ward for Douwe Egberts

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Jonathan Ward for Douwe Egberts

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Chris Ford


I love my coffee and have recently become a bit obsessed with different brewing methods and bean types, to be honest I love the smell of a good coffee as much as the taste which is why I was quite excited to find out that Douwe Egberts has partnered with luxury candle maker Jonathan Ward London, to develop a limited edition coffee inspired candle.  This comes as part of the £1m relaunch of the Douwe Egberts ground coffee range and major category re-vamp.

The re-launch has seen Douwe Egberts embrace its heritage, dating back to 1753, when Egbert Douwes and his wife Akke Thijsses opened their first coffee shop in Joure, Netherlands.  It is this distinctive heritage that has formed the unifying concept  – ‘the story behind each and every scent’ – bringing together the candle maker’s interest in rich flavours and the blending process for each Douwe Egberts ground coffee.

I was recently  given the opportunity to visit Jonathan Wards warehouse and see how the Douwe Egberts candles are made for myself.


What struck me was the care and attention to detail that went into the process, there is certainly not a traditional production line , all the candles are hand made using quality materials and this really is noticeable when you have a look at the finished product, in fact the moment you open the box of the candle a waft of scent hits you, that’s without even lighting it up!

Jonathan Ward explored the humble beginnings of the Douwe Egberts coffee shop, looking to capture the nostalgic and seductive aroma of the shelves from the very first store.  Jonathan explains:  “When creating the evocative scent I imagined years of spilled coffee grains and tobacco notes infused into the hand crafted woods.

The Douwe Egberts inspired candle captures a fragrant rich coffee aroma of roasted coffee beans, infused with sweet scents of syrupy molasses, dried fruits and the woody fragrances of cinnamon, sandalwood and tobacco.

I think Jonathan Ward really nailed it too, the coffee smell isn’t the overpowering scent I thought it would be, its much more subtle than that.

The limited edition candle is contained in the finest Italian cut glass crystal and packaged in a rich espresso brown and gold embossed box, highlighting the luxury offering.  Adding a further touch of opulence and heritage, each box has been sealed with the original Douwe Egberts wax seal.  Dating back to 1925, when the seal was first incorporated into Douwe Egberts packaging design, the stamp has been brought out of the archives and now finds itself included in another piece of fundamental Douwe Egberts history. In fact watching Jonathan and his assistant create these wax seals summed up the care and detail that goes into the candles, with each seal made by hand its a tricky and delicate process requiring two people to achieve, I cant imagine many other companies going to this much effort on the packaging of their product and this is what sets Jonahan Ward candles apart, the quality.


Corrine Hopwood, UK Marketing Director at Douwe Egberts comments:  “We wanted to bring to life and celebrate the unique heritage of the Douwe Egberts brand but with a modern twist and the partnership with Jonathan Ward London is a natural fit.  Not only do we have a new product that represents the brand in a distinctive way, drawing on our heritage, but it allows us to operate in a new luxury consumer market.”

Jonathan Ward adds:  “It has been extremely exciting to work with a brand, which like mine, represents quality. I was completely inspired when looking at the history of Douwe Egberts and am excited to be launching a unique coffee aroma candle that is completely different to anything else currently on the market.”


The limited edition Jonathan Ward for Douwe Egberts candle will be available to purchase from the Jonathan Ward online store from April , rrp £25.00


Douwe Egberts:


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Scrabble Espresso Cups

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Scrabble Espresso Cups

Posted on 07 March 2011 by Chris Ford

I love this set  of four ceramic Scrabble Espresso cups with scrabble letters and values assigned to each letter, the set includes  a C, A , F and E cup  and is the perfect set to accompany my new coffee machine adding a touch of style and out there quirkiness to my kitchen.

Available from Graham and Green for £24.99


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A Good Cup of Joe Part 2

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A Good Cup of Joe Part 2

Posted on 20 July 2010 by Marc

I was sitting in the garden, minding my own business when the phone rang, it was Mr Black. “Hey Mr F, How long does it take you to go get a cup of coffee?” he asked.  Then the penny dropped, the last time I spoke to him I told him I was off to get a cup of coffee to complete my round up of places that served A good cup of Joe.  I swear the man has no patience, I mean did he expect me to just run up to Scotland and have 1 cup of coffee before heading over to Wales to see what I could find there?

I am happy to report that there are some great places in both Scotland and Wales serving up really good cups of java and whilst I’d love to tell you about them all I’ve had to whittle them down to my favourite 3 from each.

My first stop was Glasgow, now I know what some of you might be thinking but there are some seriously good places in Glasgow satisfying coffee addicts but by far my favourite was the Tapa Coffeehouse. The Tapa is not just a café oh no Sir, it also manages to squeeze in a roastery and a bakery! What’s more they are committed to doing things by hand.  So what you get are organic Arabica beans roasted and ground on the premises to make their own coffee blend (you can buy the beans to take home and grind yourself)  Then add home-baked bread into the mix and you have a delicious breakfast and brunch menu that lazy weekends with the newspapers were designed for.  I think this is why I spent so much time away from my desk!  Address: 721 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G41 2AA

Over in Edinburgh I found the Artisan Roast, I say found but I was directed there by a friend who knew what I was in town for.  It seems that the Artisan was originally a bean store that gave away free samples of it’s coffee to entice people to buy their beans, the good people of Edinburgh not only bought the beans, they demanded a café for those times when they didn’t want to make their own.  Interestingly there is no counter to block your view so the roaster sits beside the grinder which sits beside the espresso maker.  Well worth a visit. Address: 57 Broughton Street, Edinburgh EH1 3RJ

I was told about the Aberfeldy Watermill by someone in Edinburgh and just had to visit as it boasts an award winning independent bookshop, gallery and interiors shop with a café.  They use only Fairtrade espresso beans which are freshly ground no more than one hour before serving. It may be off the beaten track but you’ll be glad you made the effort when you get there.  It’s a great place to while away an hour or three.  Address: Mill Street, Aberfeldy, Perthshire PH15 2BG

Next week I’ll tell you about my 3 great finds in Wales.  As always, if you know of place serving up great coffee that’s worth a mention, do let us know in the comments.

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Nespresso = The Lazy Man’s Espresso!


Nespresso = The Lazy Man’s Espresso!

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Chris Ford

I love a good cup of coffee but to be honest with you a really good cup is a lot of work, especially if you want a proper espresso which traditionally has involved big bits of equipment that cost at least a few hundread pounds and some experts even argue that just the grinder should cost you that much!

So up until now I have made do with my cafetiere which dont get me wrong makes a lovely Americano but theres no chance of getting an espresso out of one!

So anyway I was invited to join some friends at a newly opened cigar lounge in Mayfair recently and was intrigued to discover the lounge had a Nespresso machine, even more shocked at the excellent espresso produced!

The way Nespresso works is so simple and makes the perfect espresso every time.  All you do is pop the coffee capsule in the top press a button and 30 seconds later a perfect cup is produced. Well I fell in love with this concept and am now the proud owner of my very own Nespresso machine and I urge you to go out and get one yourself! This truly is the lazy mans espresso!!!!

There is one issue with the Nespresso system however, you cant just go into the supermarket and throw a box of capsules into your trolley…. they have to be purchased online or from certain high end retailers such as Selfridges, John Lewis and Harrods.  But dont let that put you off, the system is no danger of going away, its been around for over five years and it would seem isnt going anywhere!

I opted for the De Longhi Nespresso EN 95 from Amazon but there are many great machines out there at various price points, please go forth and Nespresso!

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Where To Find A Good Cup of Joe

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Where To Find A Good Cup of Joe

Posted on 23 March 2010 by Marc

You’ll notice that Mr Black likes his coffee.  That’s all I ever hear him talk about, well that and cigars.  Opinion is divided on where the term Cup of Joe originates.  Most people attribute it to Josephus Daniels who banned alcohol in the Navy in 1914 but it’s been used as far back as 1840, the only problem is no one from then ever bothered to write down what it meant!

Personally, I’m more of a tea drinker but there is a distinct lack of establishments catering to the tea lover.  If you thought those ghastly coffee shop chains butchered coffee you should see what they do to tea! So with this in mind I thought I’d highlight a few places around the UK that serve superior coffees and not a chain in sight.


For one of the best espresso’s in town you really have to give The Espresso Room a try.  It’s a classic example of a true, independent coffee house.  Don’t be put off by the intimidating demeanour when you first encounter it, one sip of the magical dark elixir will soon put you at ease. Address: 31-35 Great Ormond Street, WC1N 3HZ

For a particularly fine filter coffee I would heartily recommend The Tea and Coffee Plant. They are an importer/bean roaster with a café on the side.  The coffee is organic and Fairtrade and with it’s chilled-out vibe in Notting Hill it’s perfect for a spot of people watching. Address: 180 Portobello Road, W11 2EB

Kaffeine is an Antipodean-style coffee house which boasts a Synesso espresso machine.  This, according to the experts, is the Rolls Royce of espresso machines.  I wouldn’t know about that being more of a Bentley man myself but the coffees are rather good! I’m told the Chocolate Brownies are very tasty but it would feel adulterous to try one when I see their amazing Lamingtons sitting there Address: 66 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7QJ

Now, London is my stomping ground so to speak but I also know it’s not the epicentre of the universe so I left a note for the milkman telling him to suspend deliveries for a week and traversed this great isle in search of more great coffee establishments.  Perfect if you find yourself out of town one fine weekend!

South England

If you ever find yourself in Cornwall and gasping for a cuppa head for Wadebridge for there you will find Relish, which has a deli and a café serving nice food as well as great coffee.  Address: Foundry Court, Wadebridge, Cornwall PL27 7QN

I knew there had to be a reason to visit Brighton and I found it in Ground (no website, just great coffee) It’s a compact and bijou café with very friendly staff who take pride in their work and feature guest single-estate coffees that are all very tasty.  I’ll be shocked if you only visit here once! Address: Ground, 36 George’s Road, Brighton, BN2 1ED   Tel: 01273 696 441

Oxford is famous for many things but I suspect Combibos is not listed on any tourist map, yet! It’s a family owned and run café and as well as splendid coffee they serve up scrumptious breakfasts.  Staff are so friendly and attentive I’d consider moving just to call this my local!  Address: 93 Gloucester Green, Oxford OX1 2BU

North England

There’s a certain feel in Leoni’s Coffee House (no website), it’s the exact opposite feeling I get in one of those chains whose name I dare not speak.  It’s cosily down to earth with no pretensions to be anything other than a  smashing coffee shop serving up fine coffee with good food.  Address: Leoni’s Coffee House, 16 Wheelgate, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 7HP Tel: 01653 691 321

Not content with one great coffee shop, Leeds has two, both of which are named the Opposite Café.  I only ventured to the one in the Victoria Quarter as I fear I’m a little old to be loitering near Universities where I often get mistaken for an archaeology professor, I think it’s the monocle?! Anyway, the Opposite serves up a proper cup of coffee and the staff really know their beans.  Address: Victoria Quarter, Queen Victoria Street, Leeds LS1 6AZ Leeds

My final destination was the Coolaboola which is situated in a station.  So yes, you can just grab a coffee and go but to do so would render you liable to missing out on the wealth of knowledge the staff have on both the farms where the beans come from as well as the flavour profile.  These chaps really do care about the black stuff and if you’re catching a train out of Dodge a pit-stop here will make any train journey glide by.  Address: Jesmond Metro Station, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4RH

So, that’s a few places in England to try out.  In the next month or two I shall be exploring North of Hadrian’s Wall as well as nipping over to the Valleys in a bid to find the local cafés that are refreshing taste-buds.  Do leave a comment if you know of a coffee shop that serves up a decent cup of Joe.

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How to: Make Great Coffee in a Cafetière

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How to: Make Great Coffee in a Cafetière

Posted on 05 March 2010 by Chris Ford

In the last year I have discovered a passion for fresh coffee, so much so I now cannot bear the frozen instant granules that are so popular here in the UK.  Anyway, after doing a bit of research for myself I thought I would share with you my tips on how to get the best from your cafetiere or french press as the Americans call them. This is the model I use the Bodum 1923 Chambord French Press Coffee Maker 0.35lt

Invest in a bean grinder, these can cost as little as £10.00 and will make such a difference to the pre-ground stuff as your cup of coffee will have an added flavour benefit.  I went for this Krups Twin Blade Coffee Mill

Choose a coffee blend that you really like. This may seem obvious, I know, but bad coffee beans really can’t make a good cup of coffee.

Select or grind your coffee beans coarse to medium this ensures you avoid sediment from entering your coffee.

Ensure that your cafetière is really clean. Again, an obvious one but often overlooked, don’t just rinse it under the tap; unscrew the filter end of your plunger regularly and wash each part separately.

Put coffee into the base of the glass jug part of the cafetière. Usually 1 generous dessert spoon per person is enough but you can vary this to your own taste. As a general rule, the coarser the blend the more coffee you will need.

Boil your kettle, then wait until the water has just come off the boil. Boiling water will scald your coffee.

Pour the water over your ground coffee and leave for around 3 minutes. Pour enough water for the number of cups you need.

Put the plunger on top of the jug and gently lower until the filter is down as far as it can go.

Serve and enjoy




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Lavazza’s Retro Mio Modo Coffee Maker


Lavazza’s Retro Mio Modo Coffee Maker

Posted on 24 February 2010 by Chris Ford

We certainly don’t think coffee is dull and it seems that the good people over at Lavazza are in agreement if their new range of fabulously funky coffee makers are anything to go by.

Take your pick from traditional black or  add some brightness to your kitchen with one of these six bold limited edition colours.   It should make a tasty coffee too as it’s made by Seaco (who acquired Gaggia in 1999), who know a thing or two about making coffee, and uses pressed coffee capsules and cutting edge extraction technology to produce a full-bodied and creamy espresso.  It also boasts a steam arm for cappuccinos and lattes and a hot water function for the tea drinkers.

I hope to have some money left over at pay day to treat myself to one of these beauties which are a comparative steal at only £119 from the Lavazza site and if you’re quick they will throw in an exclusive gift set to make your Modo Mio complete which includes espresso cups, cappuccino cups, spoons and a sneak preview of two new blends.


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