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Food glossary

Coffee beans

Coffee

This popular beverage has been enjoyed as a drink for hundreds of years. Coffee beans are obtained from an evergreen shrub which grows in subtropical and tropical regions all around the world. There are two main types of bean - arabica and robusta.

Arabica is considered to be the superior bean, but the two beans are often blended together to produce coffee with a good flavour. All coffee beans are roasted before they can be made into the popular drink, a mild or medium roast is generally best for coffee to be drunk at breakfast or throughout the day - this type of coffee is usually served with milk. Full roasted coffee is a good choice for drinking in small quantities and is often served either black or with cream.

The strongest type of coffee is obtained from high, dark or Continental roasts and it has a bitter, almost burnt flavour, it is most commonly used for after dinner or espresso coffee.

As well as being a popular drink, coffee can be used to add flavour to a variety of mousses, ice creams, pies and puddings. The flavour of coffee combines particularly well with chocolate, nuts and spirits such as rum, brandy and whisky.

Coffee can be bought at three different stages of the production process: as roasted beans, ground coffee or instant coffee. Waitrose stock a wide selection of coffees. These include:

Coffee beans

These are roasted beans that need to be ground at home before they can be made into coffee.

Varieties include:

Rich Italian Continental Style Blend (dark roast), this rich full-bodied coffee has a chocolatey flavour and is a blend of arabica coffee beans from Africa, Indonesia and South America. It is particularly suitable as an after dinner coffee.

Decaffeinated Colombian Blend (medium roast), a rich aromatic and well-rounded coffee with a full-bodied flavour. Produced from a blend of arabica coffee from Colombia the beans are carefully treated to remove most of the caffeine, it is suitable for drinking at any time of the day.

Uses: For the very best flavour choose coffee beans and grind just enough for each brewing.

To store: The flavour and aroma of coffee is affected by contact with air. Waitrose coffee beans are sold with a one-way valve to allow the coffee to be packed directly after roasting to protect the coffee and maintain its freshness. Keep for up to 1 year in a cool dark place. Once opened, seal the pack and place in an airtight container and store in a cool place, fridge or freezer to prolong the freshness of the beans for up to 1 month.

To prepare: Only grind the required amount of coffee beans for immediate use. There are a wide variety of grinders available from simple manual models to more sophisticated electric coffee mills. Grind the coffee beans to suit the coffee-making equipment being used. The finer the grain the larger the surface area of coffee is exposed to the water, and so it takes longer for the water to pass through it, so the finer the grain the stronger the coffee. Prepare medium ground coffee for cafetières, percolators and jugs. If you're using a filter machine or cone you'll need finely ground coffee. Very fine ground coffee is suitable for use in an espresso machine. When making coffee use 1 rounded dessertspoonful of ground coffee per cup for normal strength coffee, this can be adjusted according to taste.

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Espresso coffee

Espresso coffee is made by forcing hot water under pressure, through very finely ground, dark roasted coffee. The coffee needs to be finely ground because this ensures a large surface area of coffee is exposed to the water. This means it takes longer for the water to pass through the coffee, so the end result is strong coffee.

A wide variety of espresso makers are available, from simple manual pots to expensive top of the range electric machines. A range of coffees specifically for use in an espresso machine are available in Waitrose, these include Waitrose espresso coffee Milano, Fairtrade Organic Espresso Full Roast Coffee, Illy decaffeinated ground coffee espresso and Luigi Lavazza arabica caffè espresso.

To store: The flavour and aroma of coffee is affected by contact with air, Waitrose ground coffee is packaged with a special one-way valve to allow the coffee to be packed directly after roasting and grinding to protect coffee and maintain its freshness. Unopened coffee should be stored in a cool dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, reseal and store in a cool place, fridge or freezer to prolong its freshness. Use within two weeks.

To prepare: For normal strength coffee, use 1 rounded dessertspoonful of coffee per cup, this can be adjusted according to taste. Prepare the coffee using an espresso maker, and to enjoy its full flavour do not leave it to stand, but serve it soon after preparation.

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Ground coffee

There is a wide choice of ground coffees - choose according to the strength and flavour and the type of equipment you are going to use to make the coffee.

Varieties include:

Cafetière and percolator coffee:

Costa Rica Blend (medium roast) with a fruity arabica flavour and a smooth finish this coffee can be served at any time of the day.

Mocha Blend (medium dark roast), a full coffee with deep, intense and fruity flavours. Made from a blend of arabica coffee from Ethiopia, this blend is a good choice for after dinner coffee.

Rich Italian Continental Style Blend (dark roast), this rich full-bodied coffee has a chocolatey flavour and is a blend of arabica coffee beans from Africa, Indonesia and South America. It is particularly suitable as an after dinner coffee.

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Filter coffee

Decaffeinated Colombian Blend (medium roast), a rich aromatic and well-rounded coffee with a full-bodied flavour. Produced from a blend of arabica coffee from Colombia, the coffee is carefully treated to remove most of the caffeine and is suitable for drinking at any time of the day.

Ground coffee for all types of coffee maker (Select Coffee and Reserve Label)

Indian Bababudangiri (dark roast, Select Coffee). Made from pure arabica beans this full bodied coffee has a rich, smooth chocolatey flavour and a slightly minty finish. It is produced in the southern Indian state of Mysore and is particularly suitable as an after dinner coffee.

Hawaiian Kauai Estate Coffee (medium roast, Reserve Label). An extremely rich full coffee which is produced on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It has a light aromatic character and flavour which has a hint of cardomom from the volcanic soil. It is suitable for drinking at any time of the day.

Uses: For the delicious flavour of fresh coffee without having to grind the beans, ground coffee is the ideal choice.

To store: The flavour and aroma of coffee is affected by contact with air, Waitrose ground coffee is packaged with a special one-way valve to allow the coffee to be packed directly after roasting and grinding to protect coffee and maintain its freshness. Unopened coffee should be stored in a cool dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, reseal and store in a cool place, fridge or freezer to prolong its freshness. Use within two weeks.

To prepare: For normal strength coffee, use 1 rounded dessertspoonful of coffee per cup, this can be adjusted according to taste. Prepare the coffee using your chosen method (cafetiere, percolator, filter, jug or espresso maker), and to enjoy the coffee's full flavour do not leave it to stand, but serve it soon after preparation.

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Instant coffee

The most convenient form of coffee, which can be used either as a drink or as a flavouring in cooking. Instant coffee has a flavour of its own and is made by brewing coffee beans into a concentrate. The concentrate is then either freeze-dried to produce crisp dry particles of coffee or spray dried to produce coffee granules that are more powdery.

Varieties include:

Continental Gold Freeze Dried Instant Coffee Made from finest quality coffee beans including arabicas from Central and South America, blended and roasted to give a rich, dark and smooth full bodied coffee.

Gold Freeze Dried Instant Coffee A blend of pure arabica beans from Colombia and Central America, blended and roasted to give a perfectly balanced, smooth, rich and full flavoured coffee.

Decaffeinated Gold Freeze Dried Instant Coffee A blend of pure arabica beans from Central America and Colombia, this instant coffee is decaffeinated and has a full flavour and a smooth, rich taste.

Rich Roast Coffee Granules Produced from specially selected coffee beans including arabicas from Central and South America that are blended and roasted to give a smooth, rich and full flavoured cup of coffee.

Medium Roast Coffee Granules Specially selected coffee beans from Central America and Africa are blended and roasted to give a well balanced, satisfying cup of coffee.

Uses: Instant coffee is a very popular form of coffee for making a quick drink. It can also be used to add flavour to ice cream, mousses, pies and puddings.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year. Once opened, replace the cap after use and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month.

To prepare: Simply spoon the required amount (1 tsp per serving) into a cup, mug or jug and pour boiled water over. For use in recipes, dissolve instant coffee in a little hot water or milk and then use as required.

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Coffee essence

A liquid form of coffee that is used mainly in cooking for flavouring. Coffee essence is sold in small bottles with the baking goods. Make sure you buy pure coffee essence for use in baking and not chicory and coffee essence which only contains 4% coffee.

Uses: To add to cake, pudding and ice cream recipes.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

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Coffee and chicory essence

This pre-sweetened dark brown liquid made up of chicory and 4% coffee was especially popular during both world wars when coffee was rationed. It is sold in tall square bottles and was first sold at the beginning of the 20th century.

Uses: Coffee and chicory essence is used mainly as a drink and it needs to be diluted before use. It cannot be used in place of coffee essence in baking as it has quite a different flavour.

To store: Store in a cool, dark place.

To use: To make a hot drink with coffee and chicory essence, dilute with hot milk the amount of essence used depends on personal preference.

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