No doubt, Tea is King in the UK. They drink it early and often–not just at four o’clock. The stores are full of several varieties of teas. I don’t mind a good cup of tea every now and again. But I like my coffee and coffee doesn’t hold the same esteem in Britain.
Coffee shops are pervasive here. They have several Starbucks shops, mom and pop shops, cool old buildings with a coffee bar–they even advertise a coffee bar at the home improvement store. However, those are specialty coffees. Even when you go to the donut shop you have to order something like a latte, cappuccino, americano, or the like. I do enjoy those every now and again.
So what about at home? You can’t buy an English coffee pot to filter brew coffee like in the US. Well, not economically really. So, we made a plan to get that hot cup of coffee from the kitchen in the mornings. You know, that one that helps the day start just right. Can’t exactly head out for a macchiato while still in my pajamas. They do sell coffee in Britain, but not the kind I prefer. If you were to visit with someone they would offer you “coffee” while they drank tea. However, that “coffee” comes from those individual packets of instant coffee. Sorry, but when it comes to coffee, Nescafe es no cafe. The grocery store section of instant coffee far overshadows all other coffee selections.
Add to the mix, my darling wife who loves her tea. She’s taught me a great deal about tea. But, with my studies and research ahead of me, I want to keep the coffee flowing.
This required me to bring some things from home to make it work. Here’s how we are adjusting.
My coffee making supplies: kettle, French Press, favorite coffee, and a good mug.
1. A French Press–my children got me this for Father’s Day, knowing that we’d be coming to the UK. I’d never used one before, but I found a short video on YouTube on how to use it. Three minutes and I was ready to go.
2. The measuring spoon for the press–measuring out the coffee for the press is key. Find your preferred amount and stay with it.
3. A good ceramic mug–they just taste better in a good mug.
4. A favorite coffee variety–I managed to ration myself and save some coffee that I bought on my last trip to Costa Rica.
5. The Kettle–That’s the big silver thing towards the back. I will say that I am going to miss this when we go back to the US (they use 240V power over here so it will have to stay). They are abundant and cheap. They heat up 1.7 litres of water in less than a minute. The kettle will make a great cup of coffee for me, tea for Beth, and leave a little hot water with which we can wash up the breakfast dishes. (More on appliances in the UK later).
When I head out for long library days, I pour the coffee in a thermos and head out the door. Maybe I’ll have a cup of tea when I get home.
So what about you? What are your favorite coffee staples?