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Coffee Tips
We love seeing your coffee moments captured in pictures across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it brightens our day!

We know that getting your picture just right takes a bit of know-how and a lot of practice. With that in mind we thought we’d put together a few tips and tricks for you, with help from some of our talented blogger friends.

Natural light.

Pamela (you may know her better as SpamellaB) says: ‘The main and perhaps most obvious tip for getting a good photo is to use natural light, so try and find a space in your house or flat that allows for some daylight to come in while snapping photos of food. If you need extra help, you can buy large sheets of white card from art shops which are great for positioning around the subject of the photo and helps to bounce/create light. Autumn and winter make it more of a challenge to shoot – especially if you work full time and only have mornings and evenings to take photos! So why not wait until the weekend and make use of the light then?’

Seek the simplicity.

We also chatted to Amie who says less is more. ‘Don’t overcrowd your photo with props. By all means use props to make a photo look well-dressed but generally less is better when it comes to taking photos, especially of recipes and food! You want the product you’re taking a photo of to stand out and be the centre of attention.’

Rearrange.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again! One of our flat lay favourites, Hannah, says the key to the perfect pic is to rearrange and edit. ‘The first time you lay things out it might not look quite right so don’t expect your first shot to be the final one. Take a few pictures, check how they look, then rearrange and try again before you find the best layout. This might mean adding a few items in or taking some out, playing around with the angles of your items and even the height you take it from. Once you’ve got a photo you’re happy with then edit it! Editing can make a huge difference and, like shooting, it’ll take a few goes to make it perfect.’

Background.

To get a consistent look and feel across your pictures, experiment with backgrounds and colours to figure out your style. Maria opts for natural stone tiles with slightly varying shades so that all of her images have a similar vibe. She also tends to go for foods and props that are cooler in colour (think blues and purples) and when the shot is too warm or red, she’ll adjust in the editing stage to get the right look.

Ready to put these helpful hints to good use?

Enter our Mugshot Competition! We’re asking you to share your beautiful Autumnal coffee pictures with us for a chance to win an awesome hamper of coffee and other goodies. So far, we’ve been super impressed with all the entries. Keep them coming! Our Autumn winner will be announced on the 30th of November.

instagram pictures of coffee

To see more from these lovely ladies, check out their pages: Pamela, Amie, Hannah and Maria.
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Coffee Tips, Recipes
We’ve joined forces with Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diaries and a2 Milk™ to create a few easy-to-master and delicious recipes.

If you’re not already familiar with Elizabeth, she’s a Canadian born food blogger who now lives in the very, very northern part of the UK. The archipelago of Shetland actually lies closer to the Arctic Circle than it does to London!

This panna cotta is a take on a classic wobbly favourite, yet lighter and with a twist. The coffee flavour is subtle and carefully balanced by the sweetness of the caramel. Using a2 Milk™ and goat’s cream make this treat ideal for those of us with tummies sensitive to the A1 protein found in regular milk. This is a must try for your next dinner party and certainly sure to impress!

Ingredients

Vanilla panna cotta:
250 ml whole a2 Milk™
12 gram gelatine sachet
250 ml goats cream
125 grams vanilla sugar (or sugar with a few drops of vanilla)

Coffee caramel sauce:
2 tsp Percol Smooth Colombia instant coffee 
1 tbsp hot water
125 grams caster sugar
100 ml goats cream
45 grams goat’s butter

Method

For the panna cotta:
  1. Pour 125 ml of a2 Milk™ into a small saucepan and top with gelatine. Gently stir and set aside for 5 minutes before heating until the gelatine has completely dissolved.
  2. Place the remaining a2 Milk™, goat’s cream and vanilla sugar into a blender and blend on low until mixed thoroughly.
  3. While still blending, slowly tip in milk and gelatine mixture.
  4. Divide the mixture up into four individual serving glasses and chill for two hours in the fridge.


For the coffee caramel sauce:
  1. Pound the Percol instant coffee granules in a mortar and pestle to a fine powder then dissolve in a tablespoon of hot water and add to the goat’s cream.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the caster sugar into a non-stick pan and heat over a medium-high temperature. Using a wooden spoon, carefully stir in a circular motion to keep the sugar moving as it melts.
  3. Keep stirring for about 10 minutes, until the sugar is a golden caramel colour.
  4. Once caramelized, add the butter until it has melted completely then pour in the coffee cream. Give the sauce a good stir until combined, then take off the heat and set aside to cool.
Serve!

Once cooled to room temperature, spoon the coffee caramel sauce equally over the four panna cottas and refrigerate until set.
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Coffee Tips
Cosy weather calls for cosy cuppas. Why to go to a cafe to make this seasonal favourite when you can make it in your very own home? Our Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe combines real pumpkin, our favourite spices, coffee and milk to make one mighty fine afternoon delight.

First thing’s first. Make the Pumpkin Spice Mix by combining the spices in a little jar. This will make enough for a few rounds of lattes, so make sure the lid is on tight and store with your other spices.

Pumpkin Spice Mix (we used BART’s spices)

3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
1½ teaspoons of ground cloves

Next up, make your pumpkin puree.

Peel, chop and steam a small pumpkin until soft. Set aside a portion and mash it through a sieve until you have two tablespoons of finely pureed pumpkin. Any leftovers can be added in to your dinner or lunch prep – waste not, want not.

Make your latte and serve!

Combine two cups of milk, two tablespoons of pumpkin puree and two teaspoons of sugar in a saucepan and stir until hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat, add a teaspoon of the pre-made pumpkin spice mix, a few drops of vanilla extract and two shots of Ethiopia Espresso. Give the saucepan a good stir.

Pour through a strainer in to two large mugs and top with whipped cream, a sprinkle of pumpkin spice and garnish with a cinnamon stick. It tastes as good as it smells, trust us. Enjoy!

Tips:
If you don’t have a Nespresso machine, you can also substitute the espresso shots with half a cup of freshly brewed ground or instant coffee.
Milk can be replaced with nut milk or oat milk, which add another layer of flavour too.
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Coffee Tips
We all know that coffee tastes delicious and gives you a much needed perk-up in the morning, but did you know that it also makes an excellent pre-workout alternative? Say goodbye to sugary energy drinks and swap over to a trusty cup of coffee instead. 

Caffeine affects our central nervous systems in a number of ways which are beneficial to us, particularly in relation to exercising. Double shots all round!

5 reasons to drink a cuppa before you work out


1. Weight-loss. Caffeine helps the body use fat cells as an energy source as opposed to glycogen, leading to a better fat loss rate and a faster metabolism.

2. Motivation. The chemicals in caffeine are said to enhance dopamine production, which produce feelings of motivation, well-being and pleasure. The ideal frame of mind to be in before hitting the gym!

3. Focus. Coffee is a stimulant. The caffeine in your cuppa helps improve mental focus and energy levels, both of which lead to better and more effective performance when working out.

4. Decreases pain. Drinking coffee before exercise can help reduce muscle fatigue and pain. This means you can push a little harder and last a little longer.

5. Antioxidants. Coffee is a good source of antioxidants, which fight free radicals in our bodies protecting us from disease and keeping us healthy.

Next time you’re about to hit the gym, try having a cuppa first. Generally speaking, results are best when you drink your coffee half an hour to an hour before you exercise, but experiment with timings to find your sweet spot.

Remember, caffeine stays in your system for up to 6 hours – something to bear in mind if you work out in the evenings or have trouble getting to sleep!
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Coffee Tips, Recipes
A decadent blend of coffee and alcohol, the Espresso Martini is a cocktail that doubles as a delicious treat and a very efficient pick-me-up when the food coma strikes, particularly during the festive season! While they’re sophisticated and taste amazing, the fabulous news is that they’re not too difficult to make.

Say good-bye to the Jaeger Bomb, the real party pleaser is only a few shakes away.

Ingredients

1 shot of Ethiopia Espresso 
1 shot of Kahlua
2 shots of Vanilla Vodka
Ice
Cocoa powder

Method

  1. Pop some ice cubes in your martini glasses and leave to chill.
  2. Pour the coffee, Kahlua and vodka into a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice.
  3. Shake hard, then shake again. The more you shake, the more of a lovely froth you’ll get.
  4. Tip the ice out of your glasses and strain the Espresso Martini into them.
  5. Top with a sprinkling of coffee beans and a fine dusting of cocoa powder.
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Coffee Tips, Recipes
Having a cold coffee is a delightful alternative on a hot summer’s day and while we’re yet to have many scorchers, we’ve made the switch to a refreshing cold brew in the mornings.
Let’s get one thing straight; cold brew is not the same as iced coffee. lced coffee is a regular coffee, cooled down and served with ice. Cold brew on the other hand is brewed for a much longer time using more coffee and cold water, resulting in a stronger coffee concentrate.
Using cold water means the extraction process is much slower, the coffee is generally less acidic and the bitter compounds are left behind, creating a coffee with a sweeter and smoother taste.
Experiment with different blends of coffee and the time you leave it brewing until you have found your own personal favourite.

Try it!

As a guide, we add about one cup of ground coffee to four cups of filtered, cold water, stir and leave covered in the fridge for 12 hours.
You can brew in a container and strain using a cheesecloth, but we think it’s easier to use a cafetiere. Don’t plunge until the 12 hours is up though!
To serve, dilute with cold water or milk. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, why not try pouring your cold brew over a scoop of ice cream?

Try our ground coffee range and see if you can taste the difference to when you regularly brew with a Chemex or a cafetiere.

So there you have it, cold brew for you. Give it a go, and let us know how you get on!
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Coffee Tips, Products

Cutting back on the caffeine but craving the comfort and taste of an afternoon cuppa? Try switching to one of our lovely decaf coffees.

We know some of you don’t have high hopes for decaf coffees, but believe us, you will not be disappointed. Our decaf coffees are made from hand-picked, high-quality, Arabica Colombian beans, which are 100% Fairtrade certified.

Instant

The beans used in our instant coffee are decaffeinated using a natural method where water and a naturally occurring chemical called ethyl acetate (which can be found in fermented fruits and molasses) are used to extract the caffeine from the green beans.

Ground

The beans in our award-winning ground coffee are decaffeinated using a different method, where green coffee beans are moistened, then pressurised liquid carbon dioxide is pushed through them, gently drawing out the caffeine.

Using these methods ensures that there won’t be any nasties left behind and you’ll never have to compromise on taste when opting for a cup of decaf. Both our instant and ground coffees are wonderfully rich and velvety with hints of toffee and gentle chocolate notes.

Care to try for yourself?  You can find our decaf coffees online on Ocado and Amazon, as well as in selected Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose stores.

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Coffee Tips

We have discovered the best way to use up our leftover coffee grinds… an exfoliating coffee scrub!

Caffeine has long been known to have positive effects on your skin when applied topically, including tightening and reducing puffiness. So it makes sense that ground coffee would be the perfect ingredient for a DIY exfoliating body scrub. 

 

Here’s how we make ours:

 

Once you’ve finished your morning cafetiere of ground coffee, scoop the grinds out and put them in a bowl.

 

Mix with two tablespoons of coconut oil – we use Lucy Bee as it’s Fairtrade and organic. Tip: we find it’s easiest to mix straight after you’ve finished your coffee, as the warm grinds help to melt the coconut oil.  Play around with ratios to get the consistency you find easiest to use, you can always add more coffee or oil.  Now, you’re ready to use your home-made coffee scrub.

 

Give it a try, your skin will thank you for it!

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Coffee Tips

Enjoying a freshly brewed cafetiere of ground coffee should be a relaxing affair, but there are a number of things to get right before you get to the sipping stage!  To make the most of your favourite Percol Coffee, we’ve put together a few helpful tips for preparing the perfect cafetiere. Whether you prefer our ready to use ground coffee, or freshly grinding our whole-beans,  follow the steps below to get the best flavour every time.

Steps:

  1. Swish some hot water around the cafetiere to warm it up.
  2. Use one or two heaped dessert spoons of coffee per cup, depending on how strong you like it.
  3. Once the kettle has boiled, leave the water for 10 – 15 seconds before filling the cafetiere. Using freshly boiled water can scald the coffee and affect the flavour.
  4. Put the plunger on top and leave for 2 minutes then press down about a third of the way before lifting back up. This will ensure that the saturated coffee particles sink to the bottom, and the rest of the coffee has a chance to be suitably drenched to release as much flavour as possible.
  5. Wait another minute before plunging completely.

Pour into your favourite mug and add milk, sugar or maybe a touch of cinnamon to taste!

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