Dinner Party Skills Part III: After Dinner Coffee

A Brew-tiful End to Your Meal

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We don’t know about you, but we are complete coffee addicts. Once you hit the age of twenty, this affliction seems to hit you like a train and the thought of a day without an espresso at the very least is utterly horrifying. We would happily take death before decaf too. However, not only is it a necessity, it’s something we enjoy as we’re in constant pursuit for the perfect cup. We know what you’re thinking; ‘Yeah, you and the other millennial hipsters out there’, and yes, you would be right. Coffee is very en vogue right now, along with rose gold, pugs and Corbyn.

To be frank, there isn’t a time of the day that isn’t suited to coffee, but it is somewhat traditional, or simply just pleasant to serve a cup to your guests after a large or heavy meal. Why? Not quite sure, but a wild guess would be to give you that little added boost of energy to awaken you from your food coma so you can make the journey home. Or perhaps, a little shot of clarity after one too many glasses of wine. Either way, in your apotheosis to becoming a domestic deity, coffee is an art which must be mastered.

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An espresso is made by quickly pressing very hot water through finely ground coffee under a great pressure. This forms a small volume of thick, concentrated liquid with great intensity. It is well textured with a fluffy almost creamy band of froth on the top. If you are lucky enough to have a coffee machine, use it. When it comes to espresso it is all about the pressure, and that is difficult, if not impossible to do by hand.

We both own Nespresso machines, some might say they’re the best on the market for the instant coffee lover. However, the brand is so much more than coffee. When it comes to this George Clooney affiliated brand you can delve into new realms of cute cups and accessories by visiting their shop in the Trafford Centre or online. We’ve featured their espresso cups and saucers (set of two for £13) as well as their Touch Lungo cups (set of two for £16), the sumptuous black cups are really appealing to the eye and look good on any dinner table.

Stovetop (Moka pot)

Moka pots also make delicious coffee, and are well worth getting as they are much cheaper and economical than a coffee machine. They are compact, simple to use and made up of two parts that screw together. One half is filled with water and there’s a little pot which sits on top with the coffee in it. The upper section is screwed on and the whole thing is put on a gentle heat. When the water in the bottom compartment heats, it rises to the top compartment, infusing with the ground coffee in the process. Moka coffee tastes like an espresso as it its highly concentrated, rich and thick. Top it up with water and make a long black if you’re serving several people.

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French Press (Cafetiére)

The French Press is the simplest and best choice for serving a gaggle of dinner guests. You make a high volume of coffee depending on the size of the cafitiere. They also hold the value of being self-contained and compact, the only equipment you need is the cafitere itself. Simply place the ground coffee at the bottom (approx. 9g per person or 55-60g per eight cup model), pour in the water from a boiled kettle, slightly cooled. Rest for 4-5 minutes to allow to brew, press down the plunger and serve.

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We both take it black as midnight on a moonless night so when it comes to milk, you’re asking the wrong girls. However, we did find this nifty chart to help us decipher the jargon.

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Provide cold milk (or cream) as a standard, or if you want to get fancy and make a Macchiato like in our photograph above, go ahead and get yourself a Aeroccino like this one from Nespresso for £50.

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Serve your coffee with a little morsel of something sweet like a chocolate truffle, brandy snap or shortbread. T would always serve the Scottish delicacy ‘Tablet’ with hers, but due to the top secret nature of the family recipe, we will not be sharing it on pain of death. You’ve all seen Braveheart, you all know how gruesome those Celts can be…

Go practice your latte art and we’ll see you next Thursday.



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Hello! We are Ginseng & Thyme, two friends and work colleagues from Manchester with a passionate affinity for food, drink and lifestyle. Here’s our food story, what’s yours? Twitter: @ginsengandthyme Instagram: @ginsengandthyme

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