An Instant Guide to Being A Bit of Coffee Snob At Home

1) WHAT TO BUY

The first rule: if you don’t grind the beans yourself, it doesn’t count. “Once the bean is roasted, its health properties begin to diminish – as does its flavor,” says Nigel Green, master roaster at Dorset Coffee Co.

Robust

Ironically, coffee drinkers with mustaches will tell you that Arabica is superior. Science disagrees – Robusta beans are higher in cancer-fighting antioxidants, reports the University of Vienna.
Robusta Medium Roast £10 for 500g realcoffee.co.uk

Mixture

The downside? Robusta beans can be bitter. If you find them a bit robust, an Arabica blend is your middle ground. “Most high street chains use a mix of these beans,” says Green.
Italian espresso blend £5 for 250g dorsetcoffee.co.uk

Arabica

The purist’s choice. To get your fix of vitamin E, antioxidants and glutathione, go for darker roasts. German researchers found that three strong cups a day will strengthen your body’s defenses.
Vietnam G1 £3.50 for 200g yorkcoffeeemporium.co.uk

2) HOW TO STORE IT

Beans and air mix as well as coffee snobs and Starbucks: exposure to air produces free radicals, acc. Food chemistry, exhaustion of these antioxidants. A resealable bag with a one-way valve protects the beans – but once you open it, the air is inside. Store the beans in a vacuum container in a cool, dark and dry place. But not too cool: “The cold will add moisture,” warns Green. Make sure you only store one month’s supply at a time. “After that, they will start to deteriorate.”
De’Longhi Vacuum Canister £30 houseoffraser.co.uk


3) HOW TO GRIND IT

Find them, grind them, but don’t do much work. “Grind only what you need,” says Lynsey Harley of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe. “Ground beans have a larger surface area for air to interact with, causing more disease-causing free radicals to form.” When grinding, size is everything: “Choose a medium grind so the beans aren’t too fine or coarse, and they won’t lose antioxidants as they percolate,” says Harley. An adjustable burr gives you control and consistency.
Hario Ceramic Mini Mill £30 hario.co.uk

4) HOW TO BREW IT

OK, that’s a mite more labor-intensive than a Nespresso machine (or Nero trip). However, Italian researchers found classic Moka-like hobs (Bialetti Moka Express Hob £25 johnlewis.com) produce a brew higher in antioxidants than any other method. Plus, they look great. Not so smug now, eh Clooney? Here’s how to optimize your skills at every stage.

Tamp Out
“Don’t ‘tamp’ the coffee,” says Harley, “Pushing it into the filter, like baristas do with espresso, causes overextraction.” This is where the water passes through the coffee grounds too slowly, reducing the polyphenols and making it taste bitter.

Cool The Burn
Pour cold water (filtered if possible) up to the valve and put the pot on medium heat. Make sure your guarded pot never boils: bubbling means it risks losing nutrients. “There should be water left in the bottom chamber at the end,” adds Harley. Not burn marks.

Pot half full
Do not fill the upper chamber all the way to the top. “Remove the pot from the heat when the chamber is half full of coffee,” advises Harley. “This avoids burning the soil and damaging the antioxidants.” It will continue to fill, don’t worry.

Take it easy
Pouring it slowly will give your coffee a proper “crema”. “This is the distinctive light brown foam that forms on top of the darker coffee,” says Green. It helps retain the aromas, which have been shown to activate genes in the brain that relieve stress caused by sleep deprivation. In addition, it looks really professional.

5) WHAT YOU SHOULD PUT IN IT (& WHY)

i) Butter for brain fuel
The craze among paleofans and biohackers is mixing coffee with grass-fed butter, which is high in cognition-enhancing omega-3s and healthy CLA fats. Whip it up with an Aerolatte Grande milk frother (£17 aerolatte.com).

ii) Cinnamon for fat loss
Swap sugar for spice and not only will you save up to 80 kcal per cup, you’ll also improve blood sugar regulation to curb your cravings. Cinnamon increases antioxidant activity by as much as 13%, Penn State University found. Delightful.

iii) Milk for Immunity
Put that milk steamer back in the box – adding milk generally reduces coffee’s antioxidant capacity. Unless you’re drinking Robusta, that is, when a 5ml splash (about a teaspoon) actually boosts the disease fighters.

iv) MCT oil for energy
This concentrated coconut oil blend contains rare, fast-digesting fats that boost energy and burn calories, reports Journal of Obesity Research. Talk about above average Joe.

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