We designed a logo for Mexica Products, a new company who import organic coffee and drinking chocolate from Mexico. Laura Alvarez, who runs the business, tells me that Mexican coffee and chocolate is the best in the world and nothing else will do. This was persuasive enough to get me to buy a couple of packets of organic beans, grown in Chiapas by Mayan farmers.
At home, we have a rough and ready way with coffee, putting it into a jug, pouring water over it, then straining it through a tea strainer. At work our coffee is instant, but let’s not dwell on that.
My new Mexican coffee comes as beans and has to be ground. We have a very old grinder that we use for nuts. We tried that out with the coffee beans. It doesn’t get the coffee as fine as the stuff you get from the shops. Still tastes good mind you, certainly as good as any other coffee we’ve had, but not the “best coffee in the world”.
I did a bit of research. The Coffee Geek says you mustn’t skimp on the grinder, and that you must spend at least a third as much on it as you do on your coffee machine. Now as our jug was second hand, and the strainer was as well, this isn’t giving us a very big outlay (the Coffee Geek was recommending $1000 on the machine and $300 on the grinder). But what I did take away was that a “burr” grinder is the only way forward. Apparently our grinder, which has a blade, is no good. It chops the beans rather than grinding them. The result isn’t fine enough: the oils, and therefore the taste, aren’t ground in.
Brooding on the problem, I decided our only course was to buy a better coffee grinder.
Fortunately you can buy a hand burr grinder. It’s much, much cheaper than an electric one, although has disadvantages: you have to grind by hand, it takes time. Persuaded that it would be healthy exercise as well as better taste, I bought one, made by Hario. We went on with the jug, strainer etc. The resulting coffee was nice. Nicer. Definitely.
Now the other morning (stick with me on this) our neighbour invited us for coffee in the front garden. His coffee. It tasted absolutely vile. Beyond vile. Undrinkable. After some subtle questioning we found out that it wasn’t actually his coffee that was dreadful – it was a reputable, good supermarket brand. It’s just that our coffee is amazing, and we are used to drinking it now. The “best coffee in the world”. OK then.
The chocolate is fab as well. And you don’t need a grinder for that.
If you fancy trying the coffee, get in touch with Laura Alvarez of Mexica Products Ltd on 07895 309 256 or email her on [email protected]. She doesn’t have a website yet. It costs £5 for 250 grams or £10 for 500 grams plus postage and if you are near her in North London she will deliver it for free.