How to Choose the Best Coffee Maker for You

Research has shown that just over half of all Americans drink coffee on a regular basis. This equates to coffee being consumed by over 100 million people everyday. It’s important to consider though that America’s population is made of people from all over the world. So, opinions on what constitutes a good cup of coffee vary greatly across the country. Fortunately for consumers there are a number of different styles of coffee maker on the market today.

Coffee drinkers are able to choose a brewing machine according to their own individual preferences. Popular styles of coffee maker include Automatic Espresso, Percolator, Automatic Drip, Stovetop Espresso, French Press and Vacuum type. Each type has advantages and disadvantages and the user’s control over the end product will vary from machine to machine.

Automatic Espresso

These types come in three versions, being, semi-automatic, fully automatic and super automatic. The semi automatic types will tamp the coffee grounds, brew the coffee and then fill the cup. Fully automatic models will also be able to grind the coffee. The super types come with extra features such as built in water filters.

Percolator

These come in the electric variety and the stove top style. The latest models are electric and are programmable. Some of these models can produce up to twelve cups of coffee in one time. Many companies use large coffee urns which will operate on the percolation principle and can brew upwards of 100 cups of coffee in one go.

Percolator coffee machines are not as popular as they used to be. These makers will often run the boiled water over the grounds and coffee connoisseurs say this has a detrimental effect on the taste of the coffee.

Sometimes coffee made using this method can be too strong and quite bitter tasting when compared to other brewing methods.

Automatic Drip

These are probably the most popular choice amongst American consumers. They are reasonably priced and are not complicated to use. The different brand types will work based on the same principal. A filter basket will contain a paper filter and this holds the coffee grounds. Cold water enters into the reservoir where it is heated up and then poured over the grounds. The coffee that is produced travels into a carafe and it is kept warm by the hot surface below the carafe.

Some people do not like this type of machine and the type of coffee it produces. You can get a tastier cup keeping the coffee maker and the carafe clean, using throw-away paper filters and good quality coffee.

Stovetop Espresso

These can be used anywhere where heats exists, be it a stove top or over a camp fire. Water is put into the bottom boiler and the funnel filter is put inside the boiler and filled with coffee. The top of the device is screwed on lightly and then it is placed over the source of the heat.

When the top of the boiler has filled up with coffee the device is taken away from the heat source and the coffee can be served.

French Press

These are also known as plunger or press pots. The pot is a porcelain or glass cylinder and this contains a mesh plunger that operates as a filter.

The user of the machine will measure out coffee grounds into the pot and then nearly boiling water will be added.

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Coffee for Health Benefits

Talking about coffee, a lot of people who still think that coffee is bad for health. Actually it’s not entirely true. Coffee, provided that consumed wisely, it is actually beneficial to health. Whatever, not just coffee, if consumed in excess is definitely not good.

Benefits of Coffee
consumption of several cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the formation of kidney stones, colon cancer, Parkinson’s disease, liver damage (cirrhosis), heart disease and prevent cognitive decline in brain power. Continue reading

Growing Coffee – Explaining All About The Rearing Of Coffee

Growing Coffee- Explaining All About the Rearing Of Coffee Coffee is a favorite drink of millions of people around the globe. Many of us wake up to the invigorating taste of espresso at morning. Indeed, this is a great way to start the day. The ardent coffee lovers simply can’t miss their coffee drink at various times of the day- during breaks in between work. A cup of piping hot coffee not only awakens us but also helps keep us energetic throughout the day.

Coffee drinks of all types, be it plain coffee or espresso or latte or cappuccino or some other specialty coffee beverage, are prepared from the beans of the coffee plant. The coffee plants, the seeds (beans) of which yield coffee, are grown on a large scale in various parts of the world. Over seventy countries from Indonesia to Brazil cultivate coffee. Usually, the regions of the world that lie between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer are the suitable coffee growing areas. The coffee growing belt includes the region around the Equator- Central America, Northern South America, Africa, India, Indonesia, the Middle East and the Hawaii.

Cultivation of varieties of the coffee plant The coffee plant is a small and evergreen tree. Cultivation of coffee takes place in plantations. This involves a labor intensive process that depends more on farming. That is why the cultivation of coffee is more suited for the developing nations lying in and around the equatorial regions.

Important commercially grown varieties of coffee are the Arabica and the Robusta. The Arabica coffee beans approximately make up seventy percent of the total coffee produced while the Robusta coffee beans make up the rest. The Arabica is usually looked upon as the best coffee. However, there can be a range (from excellent to poor) with regards to the quality of the Arabica coffees. That is the reason why Robusta beans may be preferred over Arabica beans in some cases. Finally, of course, it is expert opinion that is needed to decide what would be the right beans that would go into your coffee makers and espresso machines to produce the perfect espresso, latte and cappuccino coffee beverages.

Some coffee growing facts

  • The equatorial climate best suits coffee cultivation. Temperature range of 15-24 degrees Celsius without severe fluctuations is ideal for coffee.
  • It is the well drained, well aerated and deep soils that are the right field soils for coffee growing. The coffee plants need a large supply of oxygen for their root systems. This is why aerated soils are especially suitable for coffee growing purpose.
  • Rainfall required is in the range of 1500mm to 2000 mm annually. If the annual rainfall of the coffee growing region lies below this then the deficit has to be taken care of by providing for irrigation means.
  • The superior coffee varieties are better cultivated at higher altitudes (over 3000 ft) where there is an abundance of mist and cloud. With oxygen content in the air at the higher altitudes being less the coffee plants take longer to mature thus helping in development of better flavor in the beans (seeds) lying within its fruits (cherries or berries). The diffuse light produced by mists and moderate winds blowing at the altitudes prove to be advantageous in promoting

Banana toffee cream tartlets

Banana toffee cream tartletsPreparation time:
20 mins plus 20 mins cooling
Cooking time:
2 hours

Ingredients

395g can sweetened condensed milk, unopened
3 bananas (1 very ripe,
2 ripe and firm)
8 small shortcut pastry cases (7-8cm in diameter)
120g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
300ml thickened cream
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 whole nutmeg
Juice of ½ lemon
Extra brown sugar, to serve

Method

1. Put unopened can of milk in a medium saucepan. Fill pan with water, cover and boil for 2 hours. Top up with water, if needed, to keep can submerged. Remove can from water and set aside for at least 20 minutes to cool (to prevent caramelised milk bursting out when can is opened).

2. Spoon caramelised milk into a blender. Add very ripe banana and process briefly to combine.

3. Put pastry cases on an oven tray and pour caramel mixture into cases. Set aside at room temperature or put in fridge to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, put chocolate in a food processor or spice grinder and pulse until finely chop. Transfer to a small bowl and toss through cocoa powder.

5. Put cream in a large bowl and whip until thick. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and 6 grates of nutmeg, then fold through to create a swirling pattern.

6. Finely slice remaining bananas on an angle and squeeze over lemon juice to prevent browning.

7. Top each tartlet with banana slices and a dollop of cream. Sprinkle over extra brown sugar and chocolate mixture to serve.

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Fun Cooking Accessories the Entire Family Can Enjoy

When it comes to cooking, the whole family can get involved. Sometimes, it is easy for one parent to get stuck doing all of the kitchen work because he or she is naturally the better home chef. With the right tools, though, everyone can get involved in this fun activity. The key is to find fun cooking accessories that the entire family can enjoy, so all of the adults and children can make meals together.

One of the best ways to get the family involved in mealtime is to find fun and creative ways to make the foods they love. Start with dessert, which is always a crowd-pleaser. An ice cream machine is a good investment. Along with the rest of the family, you can mix up a batch, and let it freeze as you are cleaning the dishes. Once the ice cream is ready, you can all take turns scooping it into cones, adding toppings in a bowl, or even baking other treats that can be topped with ice cream.

It is also easy to get the whole family involved with baking cookies. Sugar cookies work well, since even the smallest hands can decorate the cookies with sprinkles or cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Consider buying a cookie press, which can help streamline the process. They are fun for kids to use, and once you buy the machine, you do not have to spend much money to purchase different shapes for every occasion. Along with a cookie press, be sure that you purchase good cookie sheets, as well as a baker’s cooling rack so that the end product turns out as delicious as possible.

Another great way to get your family involved in the cooking process is with a juicer. Fruit and vegetable juice is perfect for helping your children (and picky adults for that matter) get enough nutrients into their diets. With a juicer, your family can choose exactly what they want to drink, and you do not have to worry about the hassle of chopping and peeling, like you would if you used a blender. You can also use your juicer to make more adult drinks, like a Bloody Mary, so it is great for adults as well as kids.

There are actually a number of kitchen gadgets that you can use to entice the other adults in your household to participate in the kitchen. For example, your spouse may not like to cook, but maybe he or she would like to mix the drinks using a glass tabletop beverage dispenser.

Perhaps they would be willing to choose and chill the wine using a rotating wine cooler. You can even purchase a Mr. Beer home brewing system, which comes with everything you need to make the perfect beer from the comfort of your kitchen. Even people who do not like to cook are usually willing to work a little if it means having fun entertaining guests later.

No kitchen would be complete without some fun tea and coffee gadgets. Your spouse may not like being in the kitchen, but learning how to brew the perfect pot is not that difficult, especially if you have the right tools. Many retailers sell percolators and stovetop teakettles. You can also invest in an espresso machine, a cream whipper for topping cups of hot chocolate,

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