mrs washingmachinepost periodically purchases boxes of those instant cappuccino sachets that, in my humble opinion resemble a decent cup of cappuccino not at all. but prior to offering such succour to the desolate, nestle brought little sachets of espresso to the minds of those, like me, who really had no idea what an espresso actually was. as far as i know, such an instant beverage is no longer a part of the company's portfolio, and i can scarcely recollect whether it tasted anything like a proper espresso such as that i enjoyed on friday afternoon.
i tend to think it didn't.
and there was a time on islay when only one establishment profferred such designer coffee (the late, lamented croft kitchen formerly of port charlotte), leading to some of the very early episodes of thewashingmachinepost detailing the traversing of the aptly named espresso run. those delicately small cups of crema varied enormously in quality week by week, pretty much ensuring that a single visit to debbie's when it opened, resulted in the velo club staying put for ever.
now of course there are purveyors of froth to be found all across the island, underlined by a stunning frequency of similar establishments on every inner city corner all across the country and beyond. you'd figure there would be nowhere left safe from the pressurised coffee bean and it seems you (and i) may well be right. in the last week or so, it has come to light that even the international space station is now in possesion of an isspresso machine, confounding the absence of gravity.
italian coffee suppliers lavazza teamed up with argotec engineering to produce a cream coloured box for italian astronaut, samantha cristoforetti. proper italian espresso relies on water heated to 94 degrees celsius and passed through ground coffee under high pressure. on earth, gravity aids this process, needing nine bars of pressure to qualify as a certified italian espresso. the 20kg machine has had its piping designed to withstand pressures of 400 bar; an error in space maybe a tad more onerous than splashes on the kitchen wall.
but when my individual gaggia coffee machine ultimately failed a few years back due to a perforated pressure seal, i opted not to replace it. debbie's is but a mere 15km round the corner, the attraction of a bike ride followed by froth seriously outweighing the faff and cost of searching for the gaggia's replacement.
however, in order not to become a caffeine free zone, i acquired one of those iconic bialetti mokka pots capable of sitting on my cooker ring and providing perhaps not espresso, but a more than adequate cup of java. it straddles the fine line between the lesser forms of espresso and the drink obtained from a cafetiere; the accidental achievement of a minor level of cool, is surely simply an added bonus. the avid cyclist should always ensure that some form of coffee is readily available should withdrawal symptoms ever rear their ugly head.
the presumption is, of course, that a supply of decently appropriate ground coffee (truthfully, who can be bothered with the grinding process at home?) is readily to hand, something currently fulfilled by three 250g packets of chapeau ground blends: fixed, watts and crank. the latter is described as 'a rich, sweet and balanced blend of brazil monte cristo and colombia las acacia coffee beans.', the watts blend as 'a strong, chocolatey and full caffeine blend of colombia huila and uganda robusta coffee beans.' and the fixed variety 'a bright, light and fruity blend of brazil santa colomba, ethiopia yirgacheffe, and colombia las acacias beans.
i'm happy to take their word for all that; to my mind each offered not only a great deal of olfactory satisfaction on opening each pack, but three pretty darned decent cups of coffee. i bear the conflict of wishing to remain impartial in the face of having a distinct favourite amongst the three (the crank edition), so there's every chance that's the resealable pack that'll find itself emptied before its compatriots. but i'll save the tears for when all three are empty.
the above three variations of chapeau coffee blends are available as either ground or beans in 250g resealable packs at a cost of £5.50 each. they can be ordered direct from the chapeau website
saturday 29 november 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................