Selecting Tips

Black, White & Green Coffee?!

Coffee has been a favourite drink the world over for centuries, and it’s not showing any sign of losing popularity. However, one of the best things about capitalism, supply meets demand, is also going to create an issue when it comes to plenty of things, including coffee. We’re steadily using up all of our natural resources, and coffee production is no different. The amount of refuse we produce as a species is only going to keep growing, and we need to look at ways to cut back on that, and the fact is change starts at home.

Whether it’s the way coffee is grown, the cups we drink it in, or the way we brew it, every step along the way has potential environmental pitfalls. However, don’t fret, with ethically produced coffee being increasingly important to everyone, it’s becoming increasing well catered for.

The Greenest Coffee Cup?

Thankfully, the polystyrene cup is an increasingly rare sight in the UK, especially from major coffee shops. However, paper and card cups have their own impact, especially when you consider the hundreds of thousands of them used and binned every day. Get yourself a decent reusable cup for while you’re out and about, and the majority of the major coffee shop franchises offer a discount on coffees bought with their reusable cups, so there’s that too!

Coffee Machines Have Issues Too!

With a lot of the most popular coffee machine options using pods or capsules to provide the actual coffee part of the drink, there’s some real environmental issues to consider. Each one of those pods is made of plastic, and with a one pod per cup of coffee, it’s not exactly waste conservative. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably drinking at least four cups of coffee per day, minimum. If the machines used by two or three people, that’s eight plus used bits of plastic every day, at a minimum.

Essentially, when it comes to drinking coffee at home, you should avoid the majority of capsule based machines, but ones that use pure beans are amazing. Especially if you can find quality, organic and Fairtrade coffee beans that you love the taste of.

Environmental Hazards of Coffee Farming

Lastly, there a lot of issues when it comes to farming coffee. The environmental impact of coffee farming is pretty upsetting, especially for non-organic coffee beans. In order to grow beans, you need to remove the trees from the area. This deforestation isn’t too devastating when done within reason. However, the exploding demand for coffee over the last few years has led to massive demand for the coffee beans, meaning far too much deforestation is going on. On top of that, for non-organic coffee beans farmers use pesticides and other damaging chemicals, which is always going to have an environmental impact. This is why you should always go for organically grown coffee.

Fairtrade standards help to assure coffee farmers worldwide that they get a fair wage for their beans, and massive corporations can’t dictate the price. It also allows for better worker’s rights, which is in everyone’s interest, morally.

Thankfully, an ethical cup of coffee has never easier or cheaper to buy. With a huge percentage of the modern coffee demand met by Fairtrade farmers nowadays, the worry about buying from corporate exploited cash croppers has dropped significantly. While that ethical cup of coffee isn’t too hard to acquire, it is always going to be at least slightly more expensive than the cheapest, least-ethical alternative. But you’re paying for peace of mind, so don’t skimp too much.


Just another coffee blog

Ok, so we’re playing it down a little, we aren’t JUST another coffee blog. We are an awesome coffee blog! We’re going to be bringing you all the trendiest and up and coming places to drink your Joe. We’ll be delving into some of the most innovative new brewing methods. Helping you get your perfect cup of Joe at home, right down to quick and easy home roasting methods. Shopping and testing on your behalf, some of the very best coffee machines on the market and whilst we are at it, we might even take a little look at some of the best ways for you to make sure we keep growing coffee sustainably, so there’s no harm no foul and no bitter notes with your favourite hot and steamy beverage.
It’s going to take us a little while to get up and running here at KC Coffee Girls as we want to make sure everything we put out on this site is interesting, up to date and most importantly…useful! We can’t wait to get started and hope you will come back to join us soon for loads of top tips, guides and reviews. In the meantime, take a look at this cool piece of American press that explores this great new bit of tech for brewing great coffee in the home.

Brewing Machines

How Much Should You Spend on a Coffee Machine?

When it comes to a marketplace as saturated and myriad as coffee machines, it can be really tricky to know what you should be spending. Everyone loves coffee so having a coffee machine in the kitchen at home as well as whilst you are out an about, or even upgrading your office coffee machine, means you can have delicious barista-style coffee at the push of a couple buttons. However, with so many different models at different prices, not to mention the varieties from filter to bean to cup coffee machines, you can’t just grab the first thing you see. If you’re looking for a commercial machine, or one for one for your office, Honest Coffees machines and coffee products are an exellent place to start, but for the hoome buyer, her are a few suggesstions.

You need to spend the minimum to get quality, great tasting coffee and a long functioning life, while keeping to a budget and not splashing out on unnecessary extras. And you can taste the difference, when it comes between a £30 machine, and a £500 machine. It’s all about finding the machine that meets your needs, and makes great tasting coffee.

Budget – NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Melody 3 Coffee Machine – £54.99

As a budget option, but still very much a top notch performer, the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Melody 3 is a great option. At well below £100, it’s very much in the budget range, but it definitely punches above its weight.

Minimal mess and effort, and just a simple case of popping in a pod, and enjoying a hot cup of coffee. The pods come in over different taste varieties of both hot and cold options. It’s a very simple case of placing your pod in, and turning the handle. As the coffee grinds stay in the pod, it’s none of the usual cleaning hassle people associate with coffee machines.

While it does rate the coffee as being barista quality, many reviews aren’t quite as complementary. However, the coffee pods are fairly good quality, a vast improvement on instant coffee options. It has limited functionality, but it does what it does, makes tasty coffee, conveniently. However, you are limited to the pod flavours and options.

Intermediate – Nespresso by Krups XN300540 Pixie Coffee Machine – £119

The Nespresso by Krups XN300540 Pixie machine is pretty big step up from the Dolce Gusto option, as you’d expect, with it being more than twice the price. This extra cost shows itself in the quality of the coffee, which is definitely barista quality in the home, as the label boasts, as well as promising a wide range of other options and features.

Features include variable sizing, all the way from espresso to large, functions with the full range of Nespresso coffee, automatically turning off after 9 minutes of non-use and its incredibly quick heating, meaning you get your caffeine fix as quickly as possible.

The Nespresso coffee capsules come in a vast range of different flavours and blends, however, once again you’re generating a lot of waste per cup of coffee, especially when compared to simple instant coffee. While the taste is great, you’re still limited to the Nespresso range, which, if you don’t like, you’re a little stuck.

Luxury – Coffee Machine De’Longhi ECAM 22.110 – £379

This is it, the big one. While £379 isn’t crazy money for a coffee machine, it is in the vicinity of where you expect a solid, long-term, reliable and quality machine. This is a machine that’s going to last you a long, long time. This particular example features an integrated milk frother, and with clear, easy to use controls, it’s not a hard machine to learn to use.

This machine is no instant coffee, grounds, coffee pod nonsense. This machine uses freshly ground beans. That is a real seal of quality. True, genuine barista quality coffee, in the home. Unlike many machines, this one features a milk frother, which really gives it an authenticity, and gives you a delicious cup of coffee.

The fact is, at £379, you can expect a quality machine. However, the quality of your coffee does still depend on the quality of coffee beans you’re buying, and if you’re buying terrible beans, you’ll taste it.

Here’ we’ve focused on coffee at home but for those of you looking for a machine for a professional environment there will be another article just for you, in the mean time here’s a demo of a great professional bean to cup machine…

Benefits Drinking

The Right Coffee for Your Moment

Coffee is great. It has a myriad of benefits and uses within the modern lifestyle, and can really help grease those slow-moving days, and get the creative juices flowing. It’s delicious, and there’s a perfect coffee out there for every moment of the day, regardless of what you’re up to and how you’re feeling. Beyond curing that sleepy, sluggish feeling, coffee can really help out, and even as a routine and ritual, it can help get you in the mind-space you want to be in.

Everyone knows coffee can wake you up, but when else is it great for?

Trying To Revise or Learn Something?

At the time of writing, we’re midway through exam season. If you’ve ever sat down and tried to jam information into your brain, you’ll know how awkward that can be if you’re not feeling particularly into it. A potent black coffee, or some other no-nonsense type cup of Joe (you don’t want to be wasting too much time making it!) can really get you back on track. Coffee (in moderation) has been shown to improve memory function, all while waking you up, and helping you focus.

If you’re one of those unlucky people who suffers from ADD or ADHD, or any other attention-based difficulty, coffee has been found to be very helpful when it comes to batting away those distractions, and finally settling into some work.

About to do a Work-Out?

Okay, so you’ve planned a bit of exercise, or a full-blown gym trip today, maybe even just a light yoga session, but you’re feeling pretty far from up to it. If you’re wanting to build up your pump, and really get in that exercising mood, coffee can be the way forward. Plain black coffee can be helpful, but if you want to go hard-core there’s bullet-proof coffee.

Touted online as being used by mountain guide Sherpas, and as a real energy miracle in the form of readily available kitchen ingredients, bullet-proof coffee is really just strong black coffee, with a teaspoon of unsalted organic butter, and some coconut oil thrown in there. You’ll be surprised at how helpful, if a little oily, it can be, when getting ready for that work-out you promised yourself. People have this idea of coffee as a modern drink, but it’s been around for absolutely centuries, and can be very helpful when it comes to physical activities.

Being Unproductive or Stuck in a Rut?

We all get that post-lunch, pre-commute lurch into inactivity. You know, that period where all we want to do is mindlessly mull over emails, or choose background music, or some other equally pointless task. A good, strong white coffee can push you up over the precipice, and get you moving again. Coffee has been shown to statistically help with and help avoid depression too!

Trying to Unwind in the Evening?

Maybe coffee doesn’t have the reputation as the most chilled out drink in the world. However, when it comes to winding down in the evening, few things compare to a quality, decaffeinated coffee or mocha, and a bit of chocolate in the evening on the sofa. Maybe wine’s more your thing, but drinking comes with its own issues, but if you’re not really a wine person, or just not wanting to drink, coffee is the way to go.

Brewing Tips

Making Great Coffee at Home

One thing about coffee is that it always seems to taste that little bit better when we’ve spent a few pounds on it  in our local coffee house. Well in the vid below you can get some great hints and tips from Mr Porter on how to get a perfect cup of coffee at home. Brewing temperatures, grinding beans and filtering all come together to get a cup of coffee that you can enjoy at any moment fresh and hot at home. There are numerous brewing methods and pieces of tech you can use in your home to achieve a great cup of coffee that’s individual to you so don’t just limit yourself to Mr Porters methods below. Do a bit of research, grab a few techniques and start experimenting!