We are a nation of tea drinkers. Maybe that’s why Britain’s coffee is so poor. While Italians sip espresso, Turks enjoy gritty kahve and Australians have mastered the flat white, we’re satisfied with £2.70 oversweet and oversized “lattes”, thanks to the ubiquitous high-street chains. Blame tradition.
While Europeans enjoyed the bittersweet taste of genuine coffee, we went mad for instant - invented by George Washington, an American of English extraction.
“The beverage that most people call coffee does not taste anything like it should,” says brewing consultant Dave Corbey. “There is a huge difference in coffee that’s correctly roasted and prepared, similar to that of a ‘stale Wonderloaf’ compared to fresh artisan baked bread. Once you have access to really good coffee, it’s difficult to drink anything else. I rarely have a coffee away from home any more.”
And things are changing; sales of fresh coffee, filter machines and cafetières have risen as sharply as the backlash against Starbucks has grown.
And the Rolls-Royce of home coffee production might well be this ECM Mechanika IV espresso machine.
Inside all the gleaming stainless-steel is a state-of-the art 2ltr capacity copper boiler with two independent water systems, allowing coffee and milk froth to be prepared simultaneously. Everything is professional standard, down to the steam and hot water valves. Brewing pressure is manually adjusted to suit each coffee type.
If beans knew this was their final destination, they’d grind themselves. (£1,400, bellabarista.co.uk)