Instant Is In, Fancy Is Out. Nothing Stays the Same for Long in the World of Home-Brewed Coffee

The coffee industry has evolved over the past 50 years, with a shift from convenience-obsessed industries to single origin coffee and Italian espresso drinks. The modern coffee lover appreciates freshly roasted and ground coffee but doesn’t want their morning cup to be overly complicated. They want it to be delicious and sustainably sourced.

In the grab-and-go front, food & wine’s senior drinks editor Oset Babur-Winters is noticing interest in instant coffee. Coffee roasters like Partner’s Coffee and Blue Bottle are investing in instant coffee powder, offering craft espresso instants with notes of dark chocolate, molasses, and toasted malt. Their limited edition Ethiopian Samra Origin instant tastes of berry, toffee, and lemon.

Partners offers various instants and the option to use single-use biodegradable pouches, which can be popped into 24 ounces of water and put in the fridge for a week’s worth of coffee. Cold brew coffee is also hot as heck, though it takes some prep time to steep, making it more flavorful and less acidic. Cold brew’s popularity has skyrocketed in the past several years, according to the National Coffee Association’s fall 2023 trend report.

Another trend is coffee cocktails, with a basic recipe of adding Irish whiskey and brown sugar to hot brewed coffee and topping with lightly whipped cream. The modern coffee lover appreciates the difference between freshly roasted and ground coffee but doesn’t want their morning cup to be overly complicated.

Coffee machines have become increasingly smarter, with many connecting to apps and using scales to recommend the perfect grounds-to-water ratio. Popular models include Spinn and xBloom, Breville, Cuisinart, Wolf Gourmet, Black & Decker, and Braun. Forbes’ product testing staff rated the Oxo 9-Cup the best stainless steel home coffee maker in June.

For those who want to step up into pro brewing territory, sophisticated machines like Breville’s Barista Express espresso machine, Technovorm’s Moccamaster, Kaffe’s stylish glass and brushed stainless storage containers, and USB-rechargeable milk frother are available. Nespresso’s slim-line VertuoPlus is also popular for pod coffee fans.

Pod or capsule coffee’s early popularity took a hit over concerns about single-use plastic waste, but makers are addressing the issue by offering pods made of recyclable materials. Nespresso’s Re:Ground project is a collaboration with Zeta Shoes to make sneakers out of recycled Nespresso cups, while Keurig’s pods now are also made of recyclable plastic. Consumer Reports advises discarding the aluminum lid and paper filter, rinsing before recycling, and adding the used grounds to plants.

Nescafe has partnered with TerraCycle on a recycling program, and Nestle’s customer service can provide a recycling box for customers. Or, reusing capsules can be done by ordering foil or paper capsule lids from My-Cap.

Arabica beans, grown above 2,000 feet, are rich and aromatic, with less caffeine than those grown at lower levels. Blends from high elevations in East Africa and Indonesia have become bestsellers, while Carribrew offers coffees grown in Haiti above 4,000 feet. Underground sells beans or ground coffee infused with mushroom extract, with notes of chocolate, hazelnut, vanilla, and orange.

Food & Wine’s food editor Paige Grandjean suggests adding instant coffee to desserts to boost nutty, earthy, and fruity notes and balance sweetness. Bon Appetit offers coffee-forward recipes like coffee-glazed vegetables, coffee butter, meat rubs, salted coffee custard pie, black bean dip infused with coffee, and dark chocolate molds filled with coffee cream.

Coffeephiles can also bring home coffee masks, scrubs, and body creams using leftover grounds and essences. Bee Inspired offers a Wake-Up Call box that holds coffee-and-cream bar soap, coffee-flavored honey, and an espresso-scented soy candle, making it perfect for a sleepy Monday morning in the home office.

Read More @ AP

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