Coffee corner

People in my home country have a hard time accepting that Britain really is the way it is when you live here, which isn’t the same as it is for tourists. It is not “just like the Netherlands except that the people in England (as the Dutch usually call Britain) speak English, drink tea, are reserved and prim and proper and walk around swinging walking sticks and bowler hats” or some version of that.

Most Dutch people blindly assume that everything in Britain works the exact same way as things work in the Netherlands. I can’t blame them. I too had no idea how vastly different Britain is relative to my home country, or the United States.

The people in my home country are also often convinced that the coffee here is bad, however. True, but that applies only to the cheap instant stuff.

Ground coffee – real coffee – is actually very good and maybe even much better in Britain.

I haven’t had an electric coffee maker in many years. After another one had broken down, I started making coffee with a separate filter and a large thermos. I ended up with much better-tasting coffee and it landed me absolutely perfect coffee once. The amount of coffee, the way I poured the water and its temperature must have been just right for my coffee to turn out so exceptional that morning.

Nowadays, I make my coffee in a French press, inspired by a remark made by a Spanish professor at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton in 2005. If I accidentally drop one and the glass breaks, I can order a replacement glass.

I have several favourites. Taylors of Harrogate makes great coffee, which sells at roughly £3.75 a bag these days, I think, but it is often on offer. I think that one bag contains 227 grams. It comes in many varieties, but not every supermarket has all varieties, and I have my favourites. The varieties occasionally change, too. Places like Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury sell Taylors.

Aldi – which is a much more luxurious supermarket in Britain than in the Netherlands – sells really great coffee too. People actually started going to Aldi for no other reason than its coffee. When coffee prices started to rise a few years back, Aldi tried to compromise on the quality of the coffee. I wrote to them about it. Others must have done too because Aldi later compromised again, but this time by making the bags smaller. They now contain 200 grams of great-tasting coffee instead of 227 grams.

Its “Rich Java” is so popular it often sold out. 100% arabica coffee. “Deep, rich, syrupy flavour with subtle notes of chocolate”. Rainforest alliance certified. Strength: 5.

I tried one of the other ones, but Rich Java was much better and kept selling out.

Aldi must have noticed, because it replaced one of the other varieties (I think it was “Ethiopian”, which I didn’t like) and introduced “Peruvian”. 100% arabica coffee. “Bold bodied with red fruit notes and a caramel finish”. Rainforest alliance certified (sustainable livelihoods, protecting the environment). Strength: 4.

I love them both! At times I prefer the Java and at other times the Peruvian. The Peruvian is a bit more refined, more subtle. The Java could be Brazilian. (It isn’t. Java is part of Indonesia and that is where this coffee comes from.) It plants its feet firmly on the ground and says “Here I am!”.

£1.99 for 200 grams for each of them.

Did you know that coffee has tremendous health benefits, too, for most people? It can do wonders for the liver, for example.