Translated from Spanish by Melissa Lyras.
Travelling far from home you assume, amongst other things, that you must for some time give up the little comforts of home: your own car, your favourite foods and, if you ask a coffee aficionado, a freshly brewed coffee as they’d find in their favourite neighbourhood cafes. To avoid panic situations caused by the absence of caffeine in the blood stream, at Spotahome we have, inspired by International Coffee Day, put together a coffee aficionado’s guide so expats and students can prepare a coffee in the new home in a dignified manner and survive the move to any part of the world without having to step foot into Starbucks.
Online Coffee Stores
Above all else it is essential to start with the best raw materials. To find a solution to this first challenge, you can turn to coffee roasters who ship internationally such as Square Mile in London. Their catalogue, divided between coffees ground for espresso machines or filter coffees (AeroPress, Chemex, V60) start at £10.50 (excluding shipping costs). If you’d like to receive regular shipments of coffee, your best bet is one of their subscriptions on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis starting from £15.50 (including shipping). Each bag contains 350 grams of coffee.
Has Bean, another British roaster, lets you order fresh beans directly, or will grind them for use in espresso machines, filter, French press or drip filter. If you select the fortnightly subscription, you’ll receive a 250-gram bag of single origin coffee for €12.50 including shipping (minimum subscription is 12 deliveries). In the event you need an urgent coffee-fix, try the Swedish Koppi: for €11.50 (excluding shipping) you’ll have a bag of coffee in less than 3 days.
Which coffee maker should I choose?
When selecting a coffee maker to join you on your international travels the key is to consider how transportable it is if you plan to drag it back and forth with you. And since you’re being fussy about the quality of your coffee, you should at least choose a coffee maker that requires a little more effort than turning on the power button…
A French press coffee maker is the most popular and economical option (you can find them for less than €15 on Amazon). It’s extremely simple to use: you add ground coffee, you mix it with boiling water and you slowly press the plunger down until the grounds are all at the bottom and you’re left with your perfectly filtered coffee on top, ready to drink.
Chemex and V60 are the best two options if you’d rather opt for a manual filter coffee maker. Both coffee makers are stunning to look at: the V60 has it’s own characteristic drip cone for infusion; whilst the Chemex combines glass and wood in a design that even made its way into the MoMa in New York. But ok, back to what we’re discussing: both coffee makers use paper filters to prepare the coffee with the drip infusion method that filters the water from the coffee grinds at a speed controlled by the user for maximum coffee personalisation.
An AeroPress coffee maker is a recent addition to the world of coffee (invented in 2005). It consists of two plastic cylinders that introduce air above the mix of ground coffee and boiling water when pressure is applied in a way similar to a French press. The revolutionary design of the AeroPress allows for a faster infusion time, granting the coffee a sweeter taste, and since it also features a paper filter it reduces the amount of sediment in the final cup to a minimum.
Onwards to the perfect cup of coffee
Various factors play to the final result of your coffee and the grind is one of the biggest determiners. The general rule is that the more time the ground coffee stays in contact with the boiling water, the coarser the grind needs to be: use a coarse grind for a French press, a medium-coarse grind for a Chemex, a medium grind for a V60 and a fine-medium grind if you have an AeroPress. For all this, do yourself a favour and buy yourself a small grinder such as this one. Coffee beans prefer a burr grinder, as blades will leave your coffee ground to an inconsistent size.
Finally, if you want to follow the basic principles of preparing a good coffee, throw these two useful items into your suitcase along with the rest of your coffee paraphernalia (if there’s still a little bit of space!): a scale to scientifically measure the proportion of coffee to water and a timer to measure the time that you let your coffee infuse in the water. If space doesn’t permit, download this super-useful app instead.
With this complete coffee-aficionado’s kit, you’ll be able to achieve the perfect cup that even your local barista would be proud of.
Check out Spotahome to find the perfect new home abroad in which to set up your coffee corner.