So you’ve got used to the new reality of working from home - you’ve set up your desk, learnt how to ignore zoom calls, and barricaded the doors against the inevitable zombie attack. Only then does the true horror dawn on you - this quarantine means your daily coffee run is a thing of the past! The horror…
The Coronavirus is upending everything, and we are all having to make changes in our lives - but some luxuries can still remain. Instead of going out for your daily coffee, I’m going to show you some tips for recreating it at home!
The first part is the coffee itself! If you are exploring coffee at home for the first time, you might want to check out our guide on different types of coffee brewing - it’s a good intro for the curious. Here we’re going to look specifically at pod coffee machines, simply because many of the high street coffee chains have made their signature coffee available as pods - so you get the same taste at home!
There are numerous different models of pod coffee machines on the market, but unfortunately it’s not just as simple as picking out the best one. Because companies will never make it easy, different pod coffee machines support different brands of pods. The 3 main brands are Nespresso, Tassimo and Dolce Gusto. Your choice may depend on which coffee shop you prefer, so I’ve highlighted all 3:
Starbucks - Dolce Gusto
Nescafe’s Dolce Gusto pods lay claim to the big guns: Starbucks. If you're a fan of Seattle’s second-best export then you’ll want a maker that supports Dolce Gusto pods. A good choice is the Krups Dolce Gusto Oblo.
You can buy the pods direct from Dolce Gusto’s website.
Cafe Nero - Nespresso
Nespresso is probably the most well known of the coffee pod brands, and they have partnered with Caffe Nero to bring Nero’s coffee straight to your home. Nespresso has a bunch of different coffee makers - we would suggest the Nespresso Essenza Mini.
You can get your Caffe Nero pods directly from their website.
Costa Coffee - Tassimo
If Costa Coffee is your jam, then Tassimo is the brand to choose. They had a wide selection of different coffee brands - including Kenco - as well as supplying you with Costa Caramel Lattes without you having to break quarantine! Take a look at the Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2.
Buy your pods from Tasimmo's website.
...and a treat!
Of course, coffee is nothing without a nice snack to go with it! So to help ease the quarantine blues, I present a little recipe for some damn tasty cinnamon buns! The recipe make about a dozen, and use standard store cupboard ingredients you should have knocking around. They need to rise for a total of 2 ½ hours, so make up the dough in the morning and they’ll be ready for afternoon coffee break!
Homemade Cinnamon Buns
For the dough
- 100g butter
- 200ml milk
- 1 tbsp salt
- 250g plain flour
- 250g strong white flour
- 1.5 tsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- Olive oil
For the filling
- 75g unsalted butter, softened
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
For the topping
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten
1. In a small saucepan heat the butter, milk and salt until the butter is fully melted. Allow to cool until slightly warm.
2. In a big bowl, mix together both flours, the yeast, the ground cardamom (if using), and the sugar. Stir well to combine, then make a hollow in the centre. Crack the eggs into the hollow, then pour in the melted butter mixture.
3. Take a spoon and stir firmly until the mixture comes together as a sticky dough. Towards the end you may find it easier to use your hands to mix the dough, since the mixture will become quite stiff.
4. Rub some of olive oil over a work surface, and tip the dough onto it. Knead hard for 5-8 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic and far less sticky.
5. Shape into a ball, put into a greased bowl (use a little bit of oil) and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
6. While the dough is rising, make the filling and topping. For the filling, make sure the butter is very soft (put it in the microwave for 5 seconds bursts if needed) then combine with the sugar and cinnamon. Use a fork to mix everything together until it’s smooth and fully combined. For the topping, simply mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Set both aside.
7. When the dough has risen properly, spread some flour over the work surface and tip the dough onto it. Take a rolling pin and gently roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 36cm X 24cm.
8. Using a palette knife or flat spatula, gently spread the cinnamon filling over the dough, making sure to get an even spread. Go as far to the left and right sides of the dough as you can.
9. With the longest end close to you, carefully roll the dough into a cylinder. Cut into 12 even slices.
10. Place each slice onto a lined baking tray, then cover with a tea towel and leave for 1 hour, or until they have doubled in size again.
11. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
12. Brush the tops of each slice with beaten egg, then generously sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top. Bake for 12 minutes until the buns are golden brown. Enjoy!