I've not bought coffee from a supermarket in easily a year. I've been getting it from a specialist supplier online called Coffee Real.
They do varieties from all over the world and very very good they are too.
A while back, I started having problems with my machine. Well, I have a lot of problems with the damned thing. It's a very high maintenance piece of kit, not actually going wrong, but just throwing wobblers every so often and making the simple practice of making a cup of coffee a rather longwinded and frustrating process.
The milk frothing unit for example. Had to buy a new one of those before Christmas at £ 20 (thirty if you buy it from DeLonghi). I've had to buy new baskets, I think I'm on my third.
Then even with a new basket, I had problems getting the machine to pour at all. That's when me and Coffee Real got into a long discussion about fineness of coffee ground.
They sent me four samples with different grades 5, 6, 7 8. I used them and they all poured beautifully. I decided to buy a burr coffee grinder and have discovered that even on the finest grade, it is too course and I get coffee with little to bugger all in flavour.
I also discovered that grades 1 to 12, grade 1 is the finest.
All I want is my cappuccinos in the morning with some oomph in the cup. I've not been getting it.
I was always of the opinion that dripping a bit of hot water through ground coffee and a paper filter was a waste of good coffee, as the stuff just isn't giving up its flavour.
Now I discover it only yields the kind of wow I seek, if it is ground to a particular fineness and has water of a particular temperature forced through it at 15 bar.
Why does everything these days have to be so complicated ?
I remember back in my teenhood, all that was on offer was mellow Bird's.